Angel Row Gallery

Spread out throughout Nottingham, set in 5 different venues, the British Art Show is set to take you on a physical and mental journey. Each venue has a slightly different feel, from the more serious video and installation work at the Bonnington Gallery that explores cultural, time and material boundaries, to the underlying satirical humour of the Angel Row Annex.

As you enter the Annex, you are met by Chodzko’s piece M-path (2005). Rows and rows of shoes and an aproned lady invite you to swap your shoes for a second hand pair for the duration of your visit. This creates an initial sense of uneasiness yet, laughter and foolishness as you leave your shoes behind, and struggle to walk round in an unusual pair of white stilettos.

Doug Fishbone’s piece Towards a common Understanding (2005) instantly causes uneasiness. His downloaded internet images that illustrate our media and culture, such as McDonalds and terrorism, shown image by image while he narrates a humorous yet outrageous opinion and possible truth. He presents his ideas through a rhythmical, joke filled story, with loaded passing remarks. As the audience sits there, comfortable and ‘at home’ on a sofa in front of the television, we are being placed into the scene of the Western culture’s everyday life. This imitation of our greedy, lazy and apathetic culture further highlights this crisis we are all facing.

We sit there and watch pairings of McDonalds with communism, poor obese people and rich anorexics, and jokes illustrating cultural and language barriers. He makes comments on what the possible outcomes of the future in a comical sarcastic way; so we as a collective audience laugh, whilst feeling the dread, of the dark underlying fear that this may actually be our future. There is never enough time to be kept worrying, as the punch lines come beating in one after another, which parallels our political society, as the truth is always being covered up or moved past as quick as they possibly can. And along with this, when your eyes move to watch the next person coming into the room, you are met with a view of the rows of shoes and the reminder of the shoes that you are wearing.

Doug Fishbone’s work cleverly shows us his opinions, which if voiced in the usual manner, would be seen as outrageous and not politically correct, and therefore would not be recognised or listened to as thoughtfully. But here, where it is stated that it is only his personal opinion, can we begin to question these ideas, these possibilities, that we are so eagerly and regularly encouraged to ignore.

This piece in the British Art Show could be seen as dangerous, but to most, it will be seen as an enjoyable use of British sarcastic wit used by an American and a further step to a little more enlightenment of these worrying social issues.

Final year Fine Art Student at Nottingham Trent University. I mainly work with text within a live performative context.