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Eclectomania - Tribal Pop..!

Tribal Mickey, pencil on paper 2019. 50 x 60 cm

Galerie Sophie Leiser, Paris, France

Eclectomania is a cadavre exquis of influences, a nostalgia for a past I never had. Disney in the 50's - bright and heady optimism - the march of progress. Gizmos. Japanese robots. Cartoons. Old postcards from far away places. Black and white movies.

When I bought my first Charlie Parker album - it was raw, primal and powerful. Drugged up.. high and intense and strumming between Jazz and it's roots.

Colonial appropriation moved things around and stirred the pot. Meaning lost and things seen through a narrow gaze. The Tiki lounge.

Fetish and magic misunderstood. From ritual object to ornament and commodity. From dance to choreography. From craft to manufacture. From local to global.

At art college I made things for galleries. After college I worked briefly as a toy designer.

I saw toys as sculptures for the masses. I was infiltrating the world with undercover art - entering peoples homes with indivisible art infantries. Quantity or quality I pondered.

Art world or toy shop?

acrylic and pencil on vintage paper

During the early 1900s, the aesthetics of traditional African sculpture became a powerful influence among European artists who formed an avant-garde in the development of modern art.

While these artists knew very little of the original meaning and function of the African and other primitive sculptures they encountered, they instantly recognised spiritual and compositional qualities that acted as a key, allowing them to go beyond the naturalism that had defined Western art since the Renaissance.

In 1907, Picasso experienced a “revelation” while viewing African art at the ethnographic museum in Paris, the Palais du Trocadéro. This encounter impacted his work for the rest of his life. He was not the only artist influenced by African and Oceanic art – Modigliani, Matisse, Gauguin, Klee, Basquiat, Bacon, Leger and many others fell under its spell.

The tide of influence moves in both directions.

While European artists revelled in the discovery of primitive art, colonisation took with it ideas and artefacts, and in return filled the vacuum left behind with its own ideologies and consumeristic influences. Globalisation has resulted in universally known icons and brands.

acrylic on vintage newspaper 60 x 40 cm

eclectic /ɪˈklɛktɪk/ adjective

  1. 1. deriving ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources.

mania /ˈmeɪnɪə/

noun noun: mania

  1. mental illness marked by periods of great excitement or euphoria, delusions, and overactivity. "many people suffering from mania do not think anything is wrong"

  2. an excessive enthusiasm or desire; an obsession.

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