Saturday, March 1, 2014


Persistent Joy

We are a happy lot. Always able to have a good time, looking for laughs and larks. This idea spawned a swathe of industrialists, entrepreneurs, industrial & graphic designers to heighten the illusion. The result is a pantheon of ephemera and design objects that are tailored to reinforce a sense of occasion and have subsequently become iconic in them selves.

Streamers, balloons, confetti, party hats & cocktail umbrellas, all have been dyed, printed, tinted & meticulously detailed then decorated & branded to appeal to contemporary taste. This process is so effective that even when discarded, then casually encountered as detritus, the residue can project all that joy either remembered or enviously imagined.

This enigmatic echo is the touchstone for the project.

Paul Knight’s work depicts an impressive collection of objects that signal an excellent weekend. Used but not discarded they might be notches on the gun or a challenge to be met. Where AndrĂ© Giesemann & Daniel Schulz’s photographs of seminal German Techno clubs emptied of patrons with the house lights on, still hold for the viewer the feel of music coursing through the body with the chemistry igniting ones brain. All the elements are still there to evoke the power of the experience recently past.

These images are records of good times, borrowed memories, while Andrew Browne’s works allow a projection onto the found object. A smiley foil balloon in the undergrowth & weathered cocktail umbrella in a more urban neglected landscape demonstrate the irrepressible nature of the subjects. Still they work, at their allocated tasks, despite unfamiliar surroundings.

There is none of the vapid gloss of Jeff Koons or Anslem Reyle here. These images do not try to deceive by wearing the costume of their inspiration but represent them “au naturel” with a more palpable earned experience than that of parody or lurid seduction.

Stefan Marx’s drawing is immediate & lovely. The image is an illustration of a mirror ball twinkling in our minds eye, the execution is skilful & ephemeral. Its inky black surface reveals an area of paper stained with the dye of confetti, compounding the pleasures we draw from association with this other archetype of fun.

As society continues to hurl itself into a morass of vanity & abuse, lets hope that these ephemeral elements & sensory memories continue to provide their manufactured optimism, that we keep looking for the rainbows in the gutter & find some persistent joy.

Donald Holt  2014.

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