From a moment to a movement - a manifesto in fractured images
This manifesto is written in invisible ink, this prose-poem will explode. Burnt brushstrokes on your back, silver frogging trailing ties, knitted knots of gestural abstraction. A gaudy visage in the gloom.
Let’s nail this jelly to the wall. Catch “a breath before taking a jump”.[i]
Gloom is about stillness, the stillness of an Irving Penn portrait, of a daguerreotype, of a vanitas painting: the fruit is rotting and everyone aches from holding a pose, but in this anticipation there is excitement. The moment before ‘curtain up’ is stretched out, suspended, pregnant with potential.
In this stillness there is also movement. Garments are assembled to suggest a tumbling of fabric, an unravelling, a coming undone: they are perpetually on the brink of dissolving before one’s eyes. A threadbare tartan, elevated through impoverishment, is fragile, translucent, ghostly and vivid. The Corbusian façade reveals disorder within.
Theatricality, extremity and heightened sensory states permeate all aspects of the work. Grounded in club culture expression LOVERBOY takes fleeting, sensuous experiences and pins them down with various techniques (from holes and splashes to sophisticated jacquards). Dodecahedrons – twelve-sided shapes – are warp, weft and woven: a contour map of the human form.
Louise Bourgeois owns the means of production, but who makes up this menagerie of misfits arrayed in such delicious confections? Venetian courtesans balance on chopines, a violet-hued soldier with shadowy eyes wears tarnished braid, a tenderly buttoned harlequin and exquisite corpse; Tam O’Shanter dances a bolero, while a peroxide beauty is resplendent in an action painting gown.
Oh Madchester Loverboy, why so reticent? Orpheus, pluck your lyre!
Photomontage overcoats, cordate polka-dot, apertures: fabrics reveal the evidence of the hand in marks, gestures, and cut-ups. The TV crackles with static, a journey underground.
Gloom embraces the catharsis of negativity and the relief of undisciplined affective responses. Gloom signifies a “transitory state”[ii] – the quiescence, stasis and repetition of lockdown – the liminal, chrysalis-like suspension of adolescence: “it is about moving from one world to another”.[iii]
Gloom speaks to the moment in which we find ourselves, for how could it do otherwise? Teetering on the edge of something new and gazing into the unknown. Multiple, shifting, mercurial and all-encompassing, LOVERBOY is an artwork, a brand, a collective – celestial bodies in a constellation.
[i] Charles Jeffrey
[ii] Thurstan Reading
[iii] Eugene Souleiman
Location Somerset House
Words by Fenella Hitchcock