MADe in America
Ben Turnbull’s MADe In America (2019) is the latest superb, arresting and timely addition to the flyingleaps collection. His signature approach to collage being particularly suited to street display: they catch our attention from afar and up close amply reward sustained viewing.
So Turnbull’s work engages in a number of ways. First the bold and eye-catching portraiture wrought from rich swirling slicks and slabs of colour and tone. On closer inspection of MADe In America we see form dissolve into a wriggling mass of flesh, ears and eyes that make up this 45th ‘Kebab-Face in Chief’. Jokers and clowns colonise his shirt collar. Dark deeds appear in the cut of his suit and, of course, there’s a screaming skull in his tie knot… All created from the artist’s painstakingly researched and cleverly employed source material, namely comics.
But this isn’t straightforward collage, the medium contributes to and propels the message. A recent show American History X Volume III – Manifest Decimation saw Turnbull produce a bold critique of the historical and contemporary mistreatment of Native American Indians, these were gripping images but the fact that they were collaged from Western – Cowboy & Indian – Comics introduces further degrees of critical wit and complexity.
Likewise for Turnbull’s flyingleaps outing. A portrait of Trump flicking the finger perfectly captures the president’s petulant contempt, his ugly, windy arrogance. Then realising the work deploys clippings from the pages of the classic US satirical Mad Magazine adds a droll, pithy rebuttal of pretty much everything the current POTUS likes to think he stands for. He’s a joke but a darkly calamitous and extremely dangerous one.
Look out for Turnbull’s MADe In America on the streets of London, Manchester, Bristol, Brighton, Glasgow. And don’t miss out on this latest opportunity to continue to collect some of the best of contemporary art around.
flyingleaps welcomes Derek Mawudoku to the pack
♥ ♦ ♠ ♣ Disunion Jack (2019)
Derek Mawudoku’s Disunion Jack (2019) quartet of posters for flyingleaps train a beady eye on Conflict, Money, Desire and Work in the 21st century. Clubs equals conflict, unrest; Diamonds wealth and power; Hearts is love, or a contemporary performance of it; Spades is work. Dynamic mark-making and pared down, adroit composition intensify his mode and theme: a bold, figurative critique of society’s ills.
Mawudoku’s imagery, in the words of renowned artist and educator Jon Thompson, ‘is always raw and uncompromising. Often heavy with psychological affect… fear… joy… pain… Sometimes it is childlike, giddy, funny, sometimes angry. Always it is intensely human.’ The four Disunion Jack (2019) works evince a powerful energy, directness and pin sharp, timely social critique.
Things aren’t easy. There are no glib answers. We’re all flawed. But we’re not dead in a ditch. Mawudoku’s drawings are witness, testament to troubled times, psychologically – fuck, Tory bias on the mainstream media is doing heads in – and visually, reflecting the ideas and emotions, idiocies and gut reactions that dog a nation coming apart at the seams. But there are progressive options. It’s time to change the dealer. We need some fresh cards.
Every age (has its own fascism) (2019)
Every age (has its own fascism) (2019) is Jeremy Deller’s second artists’ poster print for flyingleaps. It’s another excoriating critique of the self-serving, mealy-mouthed politics we’re currently being subjected to. The original Primo Levi quote continues… ‘There are many ways of reaching this point, and not just through the terror of police intimidation, but by denying and distorting information, by undermining systems of justice, by paralyzing the education system, and by spreading in a myriad subtle ways nostalgia for a world where order reigned.’
This is where we’re at right now. The UK mired in a chaos stoked by neoliberal myopia, right wing greed and xenophobia; a chaos massaged by mainstream media at the service of elites who couldn’t give a toss about creating a fairer society. Rather, wearing a velvet glove of deceitful, manipulative populism, an authoritarian and bigoted iron fist is being wielded at the centre of power and that, as we’ve seen, gives licence to narrowmindedness, boorish thuggery and worse across the country.
Deller’s works are always provocative, often witty, poetically entrancing and not afraid of offending, confronting the iniquities of power. But the Every age… poster chimes with another quality often present in his work. That is where a seemingly straightforward explication is also a heartrending fuck-have-we-really-come-to-this lament. Where profit beats people and livelihoods; where the country and the poorest are royally buggered to favour mainly the few; where systemic social neglect, political cruelty and individual hubris have moved from the wings to centre stage such that a warning against fascism needs to be plastered throughout the UK.
We are pleased to announce flyingleaps’ collaboration with Jill Laudet.
Public Treasure (2019)
Laudet is an artist and educator whose practice examines the material and social fabric that constitutes the ‘commons’: those ideas and resources that affect the whole of a community. Against a backdrop of rising right-wing populism, racism, xenophobia and post-crash poverty – phenomena propelling ever widening division – Laudet’s work highlights positive human qualities such as creativity, critical thinking, cooperation, collaboration and repair.
In various ways Laudet’s choice of media subtly amplify themes she’s exploring. Her Small Acts of Repair (2015) enact the inventiveness, perseverance and imagination attendant on principled resistance to consumerism. Silhouette drawings of council estate plans using salt suggest the precarity of social housing while those made using gold leaf remind us what a valuable asset ‘decent homes for all’ is to society.
Toxic People (2019) Magda Archer
Magda Archer’s ‘Toxic People’ (2019). Hot on the heels of her extremely popular Problems With Modern Life exhibition at Firstsite Gallery, Colchester another of the artist’s arch and appealing works gets the flyingleaps treatment.
The profound disquiet, wavering sense of purpose and erosion of constructive potential bought on by rampant consumerism, social media saturation and political toxicity is Archer’s stock-in-trade here.
Populism (2019) Mark Fishlock
Tim Fishlock (FKA Oddly Head) has delivered another deceptively economic grey grape block colour beauty in Populism (2019). The capitalised white text with its black shadow, in a way, couldn’t be more accurately prosaic. Populism is ‘all the rage’, i.e., ‘very popular at this time’! There’s no denying it. Simples.
Cyprus Realism (Grape 6) (2019)
Lastly (but never least) Mustafa Hulusi has released another of his sublime artworks. Cyprus Realism (Grape 6) (2019) began life as a stunningly luminous photograph of a pendulous bunch of ripe, sunlit grapes. Here its reproduction as a painting might at first strike viewers as an Edenic gesture, a diversion from the harsh realities of an occupied territory.
Apart from More That Unites Us (2017) and Agitate In Memoriam (2018) which are currently limited to a run of 100, each edition is limited to 300.
ALL POSTERS ARE 30X20 INCHES.
All are numbered and signed on the back by the artist.
Posters are mailed 1st class – to be signed for – every Monday.
Dr. D aka Subvertiser
While the debate goes on as to whether flyposted and other oppositional art or visual activism has any direct effect in bringing about sociopolitical change, what it can do at its best is feed into the publics’ disposition.
Through strong imagery, cogent or quizzical text, humour, relatively speedy production and distribution, via its capacity to occupy anomalous spaces in the urban environment and through an imaginative, enacted engagement with matters of concern it can generate social media interest and help inform, even propel, opinion.
Dr. D’s targets include surveillance culture; the social effects of neoliberalism; commodification; mealy-mouthed and uncaring politicians; abuses of power in the media… Much more than bald sloganeering Dr. D’s imagery and text pieces often emerge, on reflection, as enigmatic meditations on twenty-first century existential angst.
Transgressing boundaries can reveal hidden rules. One could cite the precedents of the carnivalesque ‘telling truth to power’, vaudevillian comedy, Dada gestures in art but all of these, in a – it’s only a bunch of pucks/entertainers/artists – sense, operated in ‘sanctioned’ arenas. Dr. D’s contributions to the urban environment are rarely sanctioned and it’s this that contributes significantly to their traction and incisiveness.
The urban spectacle would have us believe that its over-riding character is, yes aspirational, but emphatically neutral and apolitical: that generally we’re going to be just fine if we carry on pretty much as we are. Dr. D’s pithy interventions, highlighting so many germane issues and employing such a variety of modes of address, repeatedly suggest otherwise.