Cultural Disarray as a symposium staring ‘Google’ and ‘Michael Jackson.’ Directed by Justin Faunce, courtesy of Leo Koenig gallery. leokoenig.com
If one can ascribe the ‘Brechtian’ notion that ‘tragedy’ is the moment when one doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry then one is entitled to give merit to the young Justin Faunce.
Catching up with Mr.Faunce at the Leo Koenig gallery one is exposed to the kaleidoscope of disarray that our culture has lambasted us with. It’s a culture that has become devoid of real meaning, where sound bites, iconic images of superstars and stinging flashbulbs have become more important than the thing that they were once aimed at.
In Mr. Faust’s center piece ‘Pictophilia’, a picture that spans nearly one whole wall in Leo Koenig’s gallery (all images were downloaded from Google and treated on canvas) we are treated to a social parody, where pop stars and counter culture collide with roaming satellites and the ever present corporate logo of Google which now defines for us the consumer, critic and voyeur what reality should be and can be as opposed to what it really is. Everything is correctly pre packaged and made to fit with the shine, pristine, make up kit and tv celebrity story that would make luminaries like ‘John Lennon’ and ‘Yoko Ono’ blush and tremble. What matters now is the sexual tension and the getting off without having to actually physically get off. It’s like sex and superstardom without any real effort, where anybody and everybody is capable of orgasm and the front page as long as some make up can always be applied and an engaging story of fame or woe comes along (think of you tube anybody…..or better still reality tv). As long as the victim, the villain, dictator, presidential candidate is photogenic then they’re really not a victim, villain or whatever but watch out if they’re not….
Mr Faunce continues to go for the jugular in the other room with his depiction of ‘Che Guevera versus Michael Jackson,’ or simply ‘Meduca.‘ In this portrayal the traditional revolutionary iconoclastic image of Che Guevera is super imposed on a campy self mocking of cult commercial superstar Michael Jackson of ‘Don’t stop until you get enough’ fame.
One has to wonder what ever happened to the idealism that used to exist in the 1960’s, how the iconic images that were once used to denigrate or at least challenge a mainstay of ideology have now been re adopted by recording studios, corporate icons and your local television station. No longer symbols of rebellion but ironic pastiche used to reiterate a vast consumer society overwhelmed and titillated by Paris Hilton and her glamorous car wrecks, (a delicious oxymoron in itself…) or perhaps society’s own vast car wreck (unfortunately less palatable when the car wreck involves us….).
The collision of two vast counter cultures couldn’t be more alarming, hilarious or saddening. Thanks to Mr. Faunce one can never really be sure once they walk out of Leo Koenig gallery whether they will laugh or cry.