Tuesday, 25 September 2012

ART: AKA Peace

The fantastic AKA Peace exhibition, part of the Peace One Day 2012 celebrations, finally opens tomorrow at the ICA in London. Featuring brand new works from the likes of Damien Hirst, Sam Taylor-Wood(/Johnson?), Antony Gormley and Marc Quinn, and The Chapman Brothers the opening has been hotly anticipated by the art and fashion pack alike. The show sees the best names in contemporary art re-cast the AK-47 - the most recognisable and devastating worldwide killing machine - as a piece of art.
I'll be up-dating you on all the chat from the private view later in the week, but until then here's a look at a few of my favorite pieces from the exhibition. Of course Damien Hirst's and Taylor-Wood's piece will gather the most attention on the day but I can't help but be drawn in by some of the lesser known names exhibiting their reconstructed AK-47s.

Nancy Fouts - "Don't Touch"

First up is the London-based Nancy Fouts' "Dont Touch" which sees real rose thorns sprayed silver and attached to the gun - in suitable fairytale-like 'Fouts'ian style. Nancy has been one of my favourite contemporary artists for a while now and I always look forward to what she comes up with next - whether it's asphyxiated birds or Jesus Christ ironing boards.
Laila Shawa - Where Souls Dwell

Laila Shawa's work 'Where Souls Dwell' completely re-works the AK-47, covering the gun with things associated with beauty and glitz: Swarovski Crystals, Rhine Stones, Japanese gold powder, Feathers, and butterflies. The Gaza-born artist's piece demonstrates a sense of hope whilst also questioning the glamorization of violence in modern culture. 

The Chapman Brothers -Yin  

The Chapman Brother's piece sees them visit a motif of their earlier works, whilst exploring the horror of violence within the lives of children, an all too familiar sight with the use of child soldiers in wars across the world. Jake Chapman, who also curated the exhibition, never fails to amaze me with his polite and reverent manner yet shocking and often offensive art!

Tim Noble and Sue Webster - 'Fuckit! Fuckit! Fuckit!'

Finally Tim Noble and Sue Webster's 'Fuckit! Fuckit! Fuckit!' deserves a mention. Their AK-47, which has had its barrel knotted, demonstrates clear allusions towards the idea of a gun as a phallic symbol and the impotence of conflict. Asking Tim what it meant he sent me the following:

Ak47 = kill
Ak47 = man
Ak47 = testosterone
Ak47 = sex
Ak47 = impotence
Ak47 = jammed
Ak47 = ' Fuckit! ,Fuckit! ,Fuckit!!

well, quite...

Full list of artists involved:

Charming Baker, Jake & Dinos Chapman, Mat Collishaw, Jeremy Deller, Nancy Fouts, Ryan Gander, Douglas Gordon, Antony Gormley, Damien Hirst, Gary Hume, Jim Lambie, Langlands & Bell, Sarah Lucas, Antony Micallef, Harland Miller, Tim Noble & Sue Webster, Marc Quinn, Stuart Semple, Laila Shawa, Bran Symondson, SamTaylor-Wood, Gavin Turk and Rebecca Warren.

Get down to see the exhibition before it goes to auction to raise money for Peace One Day on October 4th. AKA Peace, for Peace One Day, 26 – 30 September 2012 at the ICA, London.

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