a stranger in my own country
Borrowed from the title of Hans Fallada's 1944 Prison memoires*, this series comes from the artist's feelings about division, dislocation, alienation and departure in the age of neoliberal politics and Brexit. The work aims to bring to the fore the wider political and social resonances - be they hypocrisies, banalities, meaninglessness or inverted meanings - of seemingly platitudinous words or phrases such as “ ‘avin’ a larf”, “let me be clear”, “I will be with you, whatever”, even “arbeit macht frei” (“work liberates”).
1. “avin' a larf” (mixed media, 90 x 90 x 6 cm, illuminated) comprises 152 nitrous oxide canisters found in the streets near the artist's home during 2017. nitrous oxide is a 'legal high' often associated with younger people in poorer neighbourhoods whose spare time is assumed to be spent on 'street corners'.
2, 3 & 4. “The Prisoner's View” **, (acrylic on canvas, ea. 80 x 50 cm) follows a recent field trip to the site of Sachenhausen concentration camp in the State of Berlin. The work explores the implications from the prisoner’s perspective of the words 'ARBEIT MACHT FREI', which are written in the prison gates.
5. “I will be with you, whatever” **, (4 panels ea. 40 x 40 cm) uses text elements from Tony Blair's 2002 memo to G W Bush written before the start of the second American war in Iraq to highlight the contrast between the appearance and meaning of the blandishments in this secret memo with the devastating outcomes of war.
6. "Psychodrama" ** (acrylic on canvas, 170 x 90 cm) derives from events during 2017 around 'Brexit' and contains the text fragments 'Crush The Saboteurs', 'Enemies of the People' and 'Self-consumed malcontents', all of which have appeared on the front pages of the Daily Mail during 2016, '17.
* German author b. Greifswald 1893, d. Berlin 1947
** Work in progress 2017 - 2018