Paul Insect ‘Poison’ at Lazarides Gallery
At odds with the location and in contrast with the contrived health and voluptuousness of the classic Playboy bunny, twelve skeletal bunny girls are the stars of this show. Luridly coloured with a metallic paint the bronze sculptures assembled, entitled ‘Playmates’, reveal Insect’s concern to pick over and appropriate the visual vocabulary of popular culture, and subvert it with a satirist’s eye.
The ‘Playmates’ presented in this exhibition are hardly the fantasy calendar girls of our collective dreams, but instead offer a savage and witty comment on sexuality in the consumer age. As our heroines sport kitsch memorabilia (including Heffner-esque bunny ears and a cast of the fangs worn by Udo Kier in Andy Warhol’s cult 1974 film Blood for Dracula), and adopt sometimes less-than-ladylike poses, they show how the margins of exploitation and erotica, sex and death, can become intriguingly blurred.
Poison will also feature a new series of paintings, doctored icons and prints which ask similar questions about the seamy world we have made for ourselves, with Insect’s typically irreverent and dark humour. Vibrant and sometimes shocking depictions of sex, violence and unholy saints jolt the viewer into rethinking their assumptions about women, men, religion, politics and art.
London-based Paul Insect is one of cult art’s most colourful talents, renowned for stripping layers off the most recognisable motifs of mass media to reveal the violence, greed and depravity that often lie beneath. His most celebrated exhibition to date was ‘Bullion’ at Lazarides Gallery Greek Street in July and August last year, in which half-a-ton of golden ‘bullion bars’ with chunks bitten out of them were installed to thrillingly satiric effect. The entire show was bought by Damien Hirst and now features as part of his acclaimed ‘Murder Me’ collection of contemporary art. Paul Insect has also collaborated on a number of projects with Lazarides artists, including Santa’s Ghetto in Palestine and the forthcoming Outsiders group show in New York, 26th September 2008.