Esther Windsor


Lindsay Anderson, If...., Terry Atkinson, David Bainbridge,
David Burrows, Jenny Holzer, Hypgnosis, Calli Travlos, Gavin Turk, Mark Wallinger

The Waiting Room
School of Art and Design
University of Wolverhampton
Wolverhampton WV1 1SB

Curated by Esther Windsor

5.5.98 -16.6.98
Touring to Shoreditch Electricity Showrooms

Rejecting all morality and restraint, these cynics do not hesitate to commend theft, the destruction of scholarship, the abolition of work, total subversion, and a world wide proletarian revolution with 'unlicensed pleasure' as its only goal.
Basic Banalities IS no. 8 Block 14 1988

Heatwave takes its title from the British Situationist International movement referencing original work of May '68 and current practice. May 68 informs and influences many defining moments in contemporary history and cultural politics making up the present, from French theorists to Punk. Heatwave is not about May 68 or political positions, nor is it a historical survey, but brings together a generational shift of artists working with attitude to revolutionary tradition. Chris Gray, author of 'Leaving the Twentieth Century', described this as destruction of contemporary conditioning and simultaneously the construction of situations in the liberation of boundless energy, trapped under the surface of everyday life.

Lindsay Anderson's film If, set at English Public school, heralds old-fashioned heroes and traditionalists. We must be free or die 'England Awake' Johnny cries in the gym. 'Violence and Revolution are the only pure acts'. Fatally romantic, theirs is the homely beauty of the good old cause. May 68 is memory, memory of the delirious spectacle of glamorous violence and embodied passion. Raw revolutionaries charged with energy, destruction, art and subversive crimes. Maoist or Marxist the fervour of vandal orgies and sit-ins, signal now nostalgia for artistic innocence, youthful enthusiasm and emancipatory promise. In an era of bankruptcy of ideology, 'Cool Britannia' and political anaemia, imagery invested with the past and absorbed into everyday malaise creates a powerful utopian 'Modern'. Heatwave haunts the promise of the Modern, with its hopes for the unexpected, new and better revealing a delusional pathos of the future.

Dave Burrows and Gavin Turk have both made new work for this showing of Heatwave.

With thanks to the Arts Council Collection, Hayward Gallery, London for the work of Jenny Holzer, Mark Wallinger and Hypgnosis.

Press quotes:

Star turn by David Burrows: blown up colour photographs of the decapitated heads of George Michael and Tony and Cheri Blair, from miniatures made from chewed bubble gum and overpainted- with plenty of blood. Burrows who lectures in fine art at University of Central England, Birmingham says: ‘Although I’m not working with situationist themes, my work does deal with consumerism and the spectacle. I identify with the consumer more than the situationists did. They would say that the proletariat is living in alienation, enslaved by consumer culture. I think we need to enjoy alienation, go to extremes. That’s why I wanted to make something both seductive and repulsive. What’s more I can watch TV when I work , chewing bubble gum.’
The Independent on Saturday

The troubles of 1968 were not for nothing: whatever exactly their legacy is, they signify a fracture in the pristine picture of reality so aptly described by Debord as ‘spectacular’, as a glitzy illusion obscuring the actual poverty of everyday life. In a culture in which the organised obliteration of memory has become an almost unquestioned act, a show such as Heatwave deserves to be taken with the utmost seriousness.
Peter Suchin: everything magazine

More Press

  The Independent Daily
  Peter Suchin: Everything Magazine

  John Myers: Variant
  Heatwave List of Works