SMILE: One night In Peckham
O.k so here goes trouble.
Taxidermy has exploded in recent years and this is something I created a little while ago. Something I have kept under wraps because of fear.
What has the world come to? How far do we have to push the limits in life and death. . . . . What do we have to do to breath new life into an ancient art? Is nothing sacred anymore? Pointless shock and sensationalism seems to be the only way to get ahead these days. If you can't beat them, become the future.
Animals are being exploited in art, fashion and on the dinner table. They are just another product of consumerism, freely available to use and manipulate for commercial gain. When they are of no financial use to us we toss them aside, their lifeless bodies left to adorn skips, furnaces and roadsides. Strangely, while people’s consciences are rarely pricked by vacuum-packed cuts in the supermarket, restaurant meals served with potatoes and jus, or casualties of our speeding cars, it seems everybody is in uproar when they are filmed, dancing before your very eyes.
In a society fascinated and seemingly obsessed with sex, celebrity culture and death, people will do ever more extreme things for the fame, notoriety and the attention they desire. Everybody wants their 15 minutes as Andy Warhol observed, and now it can be as easy as pressing a button. Endless blogs and social media sites act as an online platform for self-expression - meaningless or otherwise - enabling people to broadcast their messages and views, either to gain renown, or to take advantage of the cloak of anonymity. The internet has become a universe of freely available information and its users are one huge audience.
With so much information and content out there, individuals feel the need to push boundaries, exploiting their bodies, sexuality and animals, using them as a tool to shock and disturb. It is cheap, nasty and apparently everyone can do it.
One night in Peckham and Smile take a derisive look at this cult of the net self-obsessives who’ll go to the most shocking lengths to make it big.
Before you burn me please listen- I am a vegan surreal assemblage artist who became fascinated by life and death.
What I saw behind closed doors and beside roads shocked and disturbed me. Life is the most precious gift of all and shouldn’t be needlessly wasted. I decided to recycle these creatures that have been deprived of their lives in such a careless and untimely fashion, turning their abandonment into emotive and provocative artworks to challenge perceptions. Previously, taxidermy was steeped in tradition and artistic merit, the reserve of stuffy men whose aim was to create the illusion of life. My work sets out to reveal and preserve the reality of death. To make a mockery of tradition, ethics and everything thought sacred, playing on the proximity between fear and laughter, in that grey space where we laugh to defuse what we are unable or unwilling to confront. These films ask where the limits of taste, shock and irony lie in the modern age. What does it take for people to look again at the terrible waste of animal life?
YOUTUBE: One Night In Peckham
FACEBOOK: Charlie Tuesday Gates