Saturday, November 5, 2016

Victor Burgin at Bridget Donahue


As early internet's de-motivational posters were antidote to the faux-enrichment of the office's patronizingly motivational own, the very first digital memes spread viral in forums and message boards in the new quasi-underground of workers' stolen snippets of off-time web-surfing, a small revolt-solidarity-communicado for the proletoid forced to do so beleagueredly under those signs and not hard to see the viral spread of such comedy and its big business as desire to own one's dark expressions rather than cover it. The point being: with the democratization of image making software and the ability to easily disseminate it the worker - as early as 1998 - immediately creates funny images revolting against its dominant structure asking for false optimism. Memetics are an intensely powerful form of social construction.
Victor Burgin's images arrive from the same period that another Victor gave us the original famous motivational poster, the "Hang in there, Baby" cat. And while Baldwin's markedly expressed positivity and hope (despite dark threat of failure's toll). "Memetics is also notable for sidestepping the traditional concern with the truth of ideas and beliefs. Instead, it is interested in their success." Burgin's instead, with their elusive and meandering political sentiments that couldn't be more obviously intended to deny easy authority or expediency, seem to exist as a radical stop-gapping of message production and instead desiring suspension of the image/text consumption/construction of meaning (a more culturally/politically apropos Baldessari), the blurbs of authority and manufacturing ideology in which everything is related with succinct tautology of demagoguic ease that we find so alluring today.  In the same way de-motivationals were an ironic detachment rupturing the facade of their motivational counterparts, Burgin's exist oppositional to the consumptive force as anti-memes. Which of course has all sorts of relevance to today, Burgin's underground expressions of anti-ideology held hostage in a gallery.

See too:  John Baldessari at Marian Goodman, Henry Flynt at Audio Visual ArtsCAWD on Fetish,