You can catch Cardiff-based artist S Mark Gubb‘s History Is Written By The Winners is at the Exeter Phoenix until May 10.
The exhibition includes new works in sculpture, video, sound, installation and photography that reflect on a series of historic episodes of political and cultural turmoil and re-interprets them through the lens of popular culture.
The distinct thread of implied violence that runs throughout is balanced by Gubb’s wry sense of dark humour with references to pot noodles, classic tv comedy, literature and rock music.
The show’s title refers to a phrase often (mis)attributed to Churchill, but for which there is little actual evidence that he coined, and is also the title of a video work that pairs the audio track from the UK’s ‘funniest ever TV moment’, where Del-boy falls through the bar at his local boozer, with the toppling of Saddam Hussein’s statue during the last war with Iraq. Quickly adopted as shorthand for the ‘liberation’ of Baghdad, the iconic footage now indicative of a more complicated revision of recent history.
Other works invite the viewer to actively participate rather than merely view the exhibits and include It’s a Wonder That We Still Know How to Breathe a rug, which is woven with the image of Edward Bernays (nephew of Sigmund Freud and controversial ‘father’ of Public Relations), that visitors must walk across on entering the building.
A New Physics Based on Nightmares invites the viewer to make and eat their own Pot Noodle in a video installation that pairs the four-minute cooking instructions with the four-minute launch protocols for a nuclear attack.
I Know My Place (alluding to the classic The Frost Report sketch poking fun at the British class system) provides three platforms– a soapbox, lectern and pulpit, each constructed in rough chipboard hoarding, and presented as a potential space for public oratory.
A limited edition letterpress print has been specially commissioned to accompany the exhibition and will be on sale in the gallery.
History Is Written By The Winners is the first of three major projects for S Mark Gubb in 2014, the others being a project/exhibition with Berwick Visual Arts bringing together traditional bagpipers and the original drummer from extreme metal band Cradle of Filth, and also a permanent public artwork to be sited in Cardiff city centre.
History Is Written By The Winners is at the Exeter Phoenix until May 10.
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