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Spirit of Hope (2017)
Ever since being mistaken for a cabbie outside Frieze art fair in 2010 Mark McGowan has assumed the role of socio-political chronicler and commentator from the front seat of his Nissan Primera. His daily, seemingly impromptu 2 minute, 20 second ‘rants’ to camera have gained a huge following for McGowan’s acerbic truth to power tirades on YouTube @chunkymark. For many years his art practice consisted of absurdist performances: Dancing outside New Scotland Yard wearing a tutu and pig mask; Sending grannies into space by means of a customized shopping trolley and rickety wooden ramp (having first, of course, carefully briefed potential candidates beforehand, ‘Are you sure you’re going to be able to cope with all the public interest that’s likely to follow your space mission?’); Dining on corgi and swan in protest at royal misdemeanors… Pointed Dadaist provocation has latterly evolved into popular but nonetheless critical engagement via interviews with politicians, academics and everyday folk as to the fall out caused by Brexit. And all the while, splenetic and splendid, funny and delighting watercolours were being conjured – the sale of which helps to support his unflagging campaign against Tory connivance with neoliberal cant.