Space Is Deep: Le Gun at Daniel Blau
Le Gun are an artist collective of half a dozen or so, with various other contributions. Most of this work is cartoon based and it seems that the internet meme in a frame is to become an ongoing trend. They are derivate in certain parts – not only in stylistic lifts from David Firth and American psychedelic art but also in their subject matter, tainted by a few bien pensant touches; Apple/technology are stifling, celebrity and pop culture are a menace etc.
It is not enough. Satire should gouge – for the moment theirs only swipes. This is only a light blemish; some of their work is witty and, if not entirely original, then fresh. Several pieces are delectable: Table is charming and compelling, but while one relishes a few empathetic (and not a few bathetic) touches, one occasionally finds it a little adolescent (takes one to know one), and in wider work a touch too moral.
Harry: A Warning from History is very funny until one recalls the obvious basis of the event, and scents a touch of superiority under it. Various artists have sharp satirical eyes, not only in a wide political sense but in satire on the individual, and one finds oneself on leaving the exhibition thinking of Gilray. What was so enjoyable about Harry: A Warning from History was its attack on the royal family (certainly the younger generation) as cheerleaders and poster boys for GB the wholesome and fun. To take it back to an adolescent slip up is comparatively drab. In the end they come out a little worse than Gilray, but not for want of talent.
What they need is that mercilessness, that sheer unjustified grotesqueness to give their satire its edge. This may not be all they want to do – one detects certain fine art aspirations lurking in their work – but there is not much hope in that direction. Not again because of a lack of talent, but because when one does catch a solemn expression in their work it does not entirely convince. They have a touch of wholesome, creamy English charm playing tigers, but one hopes it will not kill them. Theirs is a show worth seeing, and a name, hopefully, worth watching.
Space is Deep: Le Gun is at Daniel Blau until 8th February 2014. For further information visit the gallery’s website here.