Hayden Kays: The Hot One Hundred at Cob Gallery
Hayden Kays’ art is a dispiriting experience; it supposedly offers a critique of capitalist mass culture, political correctness and so on. Certainly this is something badly needed, corporate junk has long effected scaphism on culture. However, what Kays’ art involves is a kind of carping about the same – no real critique at all. One of his typewritten pieces bears the legend “Cliché Guevara”, the kind of wit one has been able to find in internet cartoons for some time.
He has borrowed fairly heavily from David Shrigley and Banksy (mass capitalism themes) and brought little of his own to bear. One suspects it is a cynical ploy. Moral and social criticism in this country tend to be ingratiating, self-pitying and self-righteous all at once. The art world of course is the South Central Pacific and Mexican Railway of our times. The Left is more a diet than a political philosophy. Kays seems to tap the naughty, the knowingly corrupt on the shoulder, pinch at their cheeks (everything in this country tends to be avuncular, much as the tourist board would like to tell us we are all punks, aristocrats, or both) and offer them their own opinions masked by execrable humour.
An affect(ta)tion for typewrites is noted – but of course almost everyone today is in on the nostalgia racket (see Lady Gaga’s Applause – amazingly Hayden Kays is less subversive, though pop culture’s Cassandra has always been twice as sly as she appears). Perhaps Kays too has hidden depths; his hands on the edge of the carpet on which this reviewer so complacently stands. If there is a sharp tug to come I await it eagerly – it will be a different numbing experience to the one he has provided thus far.
Photos: Dwaine Field-Pellew
Hayden Kays: The Hot One Hundred is at Cob Gallery until 30th November 2013. For further information visit the gallery’s website here.