TOP 10 SUMMER SHOWS
Rank 5: “Used Photocopier”
at Hotel, London
August 1 2012
Classic appropriation has a luxuriant end, in that artists capture and repurpose the glamour and seductiveness of images. Think of Richard Prince’s lustrous advertising images swiped from Life magazine populated by gleaming fountain pens and diamond earrings; of Martha Rosler’s images swiped from home décor magazines and kittenish Playboy shoots; or of John Stezaker’s use of headshots from the silver screen era. But what of the sexiness of hanging out outside the local shops, stealing a glimpse of the seedier end of the tabloid papers, and finding bizarre, fetishistic corners of YouTube?
“Used Photocopier” at Hotel presents the work of artists working at the lower-rent side of the appropriation scale. The show’s starting point is the broken old copier left by Wolfgang Tillmans’s studio when the gallery took over the Bethnal Green space. The subtle sexual inflections on the word “used” are reflected in the Jason Loebs’s photographic sculptures, which see him opening boxes containing rolls of photographic paper and casually exposing them in the exhibition space, so that they turn the shade of tanned flesh; while Matthew Smith has bound several standard issue black bins together with rope. Gabriele Beveridge appopriates one of the campily moody headshots that you see in the window of a cut-price barbershop, bookended by two pieces of marble, while Charlotte Prodger’s installation :-* (2012) appropriates two videos that the artist found on YouTube of boys making fetishistic films with trainers, cutting up a boxfresh pair of Nikes or shoe swapping using no hands. Keith Farquar‘s frieze-like presentation of George & Lynne (2001) comic strips from the Sun newspaper reveals a strangely unfunny set of skits replete with nudge-nudge sex jokes and glimpses of Lynne’s beachball boobs. In this show such cultural debris is raised to monumental scale, and the thrills are deliciously cheap. (Laura McLean Ferris)