Thursday, 18 May 2017

Steven Claydon - The Archipelago of Contented Peoples: Endurance Groups

The Common Guild, Glasgow until July 9
Three stars

All that glitters is not necessarily gold in this first solo show in Scotland by Steven Claydon, a former member of avant-electro sleaze merchants Add N to (X), and a more recent shortlistee for the 2016 Hepworth Prize for Sculpture. Here, Claydon's new (or are they?) constructions question notions of authenticity and value, be it through a shrine to dead teeth, a similarly worshipful array of multi-coloured gas canisters, or numerous subversions of ethnographic fetishism which illustrate what Claydon calls 'cultural cannibalism'.

Chain-store 'African' heads devour gold-painted packets of pills, as if sanctioned by private medicine millionaires who would hike up the prices of life saving drugs by a thousand per cent. Shredded bank notes - a much more efficient way of dealing with money to burn - are framed as a dappled decorative back-drop. Crocodiles grow out of carved canoes, saved from some biblical flood. All this and the Pink Panther captured against a rug made of bark. Much of this is discreetly highlighted by LED lights, which both make things shinier and put them even more off limits in a plastic palace where nothing is how it seems.
 
The List, May 2017
 
Ends

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