A group of Clowns object to flagrant self-promotion
The Magma Group are a group of international artists living and working in London. They staged a public performance outside Tate Modern on the 2nd April, coinciding with the press view for the Damien Hirst show. The purpose of the performance was to explain the group ethos. This proposes that in contrast to Hirst’s work which is purely conceptual The Magma Group want to bring together concept and expression, thereby adding the heat of the expressive force to the cerebral cool of current conceptual art. Mark Lawson presenter of Radio 4’s “Front Row” arts programme asked a colleague whether he managed to cross the picket line, formed by Magma’s “demo” It seems the event has been re-interpreted by the media somewhat evolving into a quasi political statement about the art establishment.
The demo accomplished what it had set out to do by pointing out the disproportional media attention and money spinning angles that a cash cow like the Damien Hirst show generates. The Magma group are planning several exhibitions /performances of their work in the future to coo inside with the 2012 Olympics.
A Tate Modern retrospective of this scale and profile is bound to have its detractors. It is the first substantial survey of Hirsts work in a British institution, taking us right back to the beginning in the late 1980s, and traversing the monumental career of an exceptionally talented and precocious art student who would become perhaps the world’s most ostentatious luxury brand.
The formula is clear and present in those humble beginnings; of Hirst, the unashamed colourist, the banterful punter of over-simple ideas, and the lover of bad news, with the first room containing a joyfully messy first example of his spot paintings (1986), a ping-pong ball perpetually balancing on the airsteam of a hair dryer, and a photograph of the artist gaily posing with a corpse (as you do). From here onwards, this massive exhibition positively explodes with Hirsts’s unique combination of punky energy and savvy presentation, through the spot paintings, spin paintings, and butterfly paintings that provide the punctuation for his monumental sculptural works and installations. Photo© ArtLyst 2012