Interplanetary Revolutions, Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast, until March 24 2012
© Brendan Jamison
Communism is so successful that all the capitalists have been driven from planet earth, so Comrade Cominterov flies to Mars and conquers all the capitalists on that planet too.
That is the plot of Interplanetary Revolution, a slightly crazy Soviet propaganda cartoon from 1924.
Clearly this is a storyline that lends itself to reinterpretation in art, which is exactly what a group of artists have done at the Golden Thread Gallery in Belfast.
Interplanetary Revolution the exhibition examines failed ideologies, the uncanny, otherworldliness and the revolutionary. It also undermines assumptions and subverts expecting relationships, including how an exhibition should be run.
The exhibition is really three separate exhibitions with different curators, merging two new exhibitions with a reworking of a third one. Some of the work changes through the time it’s on show, other parts of the display are unfinished, and some may never be finished.
There are over 30 artists involved, including Brendan Jamison, Colin Darke, Ryan Moffett and Charles Burns and Gerry Gleason.
Jamison’s wax submarines in bright Lego colours sail, dive and shatter in a sea of sugar, bringing to mind childhood play and dream worlds.
The installation also echoes oceanic utopias, such as the nautical underworld of Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, where the Nautilus roams free of any government, and the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine, where Pepperland is a musical undersea paradise, which is attacked by music-hating Blue Meanies.
Colin Darke’s Parados GTG consists of 60 oil paintings based on a newsreel video of Lenin giving a speech. The paintings have then been photographed in stop motion and reproduced as a new film.
Darke’s work references the Greek chorus in Antigone and Bertolt Brecht’s statement that film can be used in epic theatre as an optical chorus.
From one extreme to another, The Girls’ Smurfette has become a blue pin up model while Jonas Mekas’ The Brig is a pseudo-documentary film where a group of prisoners are beaten and forced to perform pointless, repetitive tasks.
The opening of the exhibition involved the experimental Factotum Choir singing in praise of silicon and a silent cocktail bar by Shiro Masuyama, where drinks had to be bought with a special revolutionary currency and consumed in a curtained booth wearing headphones, so expect all kinds of strangeness!
On Thursday 22 March Michael Hanna will hold a talk about the psychological themes raised by Interplanetary Revolution. For more information see www.goldenthreadgallery.co.uk.
- Tuesday-Saturday 10.30am-5.30pm, Saturday 10.30am-4pm. Admission free.