Supersuits at Gallery Different
Beth Cullen-Kerridge’s latest work is inspired by the struggles and unpleasant experiences she had with accountants, lawyers and other suit-wearers while trying to open a gastro-pub with her chef husband. Using an eclectic mixture of sculpture materials – bronze, cement, and marble – the English artist gives shape to the ties and suits of moneymen uniforms, in an unexpected and playful way.
These shiny, cold, metallic sculptures critically and humorously speak of the personal, social and political repercussions of the financial system, specifically, the crisis of 2007 and 2008. Boardroom Sacrifice shows a large suit with the shape, size and protagonist position of a crucifix, while in Chain Collar and Cuffs she integrates chains in the sculpture as a comment on the resemblance between a lifestyle of a slave and that of a banker.
The fact that these suits are rugged in a way that conveys muscular movement, but are not actually worn by anyone, adds conceptual doses of emptiness and vacuum to the financial narrative. A literal lack of humanity: it’s hard to get more eloquent than that. The show ends with Noose Collar and Noose Loop, two gallows that have a knotted tie instead of a rope, which can be interpreted as a wish, an invitation or a sarcastic remark.
This inventive and witty show is presented with a price list that is either oblivious to the irony of the situation, or takes advantage of it, mocking the spectator until the very last moment. Whatever the case, Supersuits does fail to confront the current mode of production in a more profound way, and instead, takes a rather safe stance.
Hard work, avaricious aspirations and a nine-to-five routine can all be easily questioned, but they are only symptoms and not the core beliefs of the economic system. Sadly, as far as capitalist values go, when art is not radical enough, it risks becoming yet another partaker in capitalist glorification.
Supersuits is at Gallery Different from 28th until 31st October 2015, for further information visit here.