Saturday, 11 October 2008

SPLATTER – J Cauty & Son

the plausible impossibility of death in the minds of cartoon characters - part 4.

Aquarium L-13, 63 Farringon Road.
9 Oct - 8 Nov 08

Cauty’s Splatter show got awesome pre show column inches in the press. Controversy, epic copyright infringement and a PR agent will kind of see to that. 90% of every piece in the papers has focussed on that awesome cv, the baggage of musical mis-ploits and interventionist nihilism that Cauty carries round with him. Just to be different, let’s first start with some recent street credentials then actually see what was at the show.

Conceptual street art piece of the year to date is (totally objectively and definitively - hah) the trA toN sI sihT billboard below. People not aware of this site should know that the image on the billboard is a “reflection” of the other side of the road. The photographer and the poor ol’ pigeon aren’t reflected in the “mirror” which was a head bender on many kind of levels. Cauty confessed to having considered putting a photographer in the picture. But that would have been silly!

trA toN sI sihT

image compression dissolves the detail in the reflection, you can see it more clearly here

The idea for Splatter was Cauty Jr’s, the idea that cartoons lacked the element of conclusion, the natural effect of the level violence sustained by cartoon characters would result in the real world in plenty of spilt claret and shredded limbs. So, bring on the gore and mirth.

Hooding (Mothers Against Violence: Sick)

The show is an almost partly organised multi media melee with sculpture, prints, video installations, lightboxes and mini artefacts. The front window is taken up with an glossily executed Daffy murder scene in resin. Be on notice from that point onwards to expect violence, amputation and blood.

Operation Vigilant Justice

Further sculptures range from the pedestal based Aim Point down to more manageable but dis-proportionately expensive TV top statuettes. Splatter images have been peppered over a range of products including limited edition mugs, mouse mats (cooooooool), wallpaper and badges.

Aim Point

The key piece of the show from which it seems all other images are lifted is the animation. Showing the DVD at home to the Nolions pack had the 8 year old rolling with laughter, favourite bit “the blood fountains” and the 11 year old declaiming it as weird and lacking plot structure. And demands from Lady NoLions for the volume down.

The DVD is a 7 minute looping compendium of carnage and high pressure blood geysers. Without doubt the enhancement of the animation is utter convincing, the credits at the end of the DVD identify the animator bought in to help with the realisation.

Tom and Jerry – retains visceral humour

There are essentially seven core images lifted from the animation that form the basis of all the prints, sculptures and artefacts in the show.

Operation Vigilant Justice (counter attack)

Many of the images do not bear the blowing up to poster size and giclee print process, the vague fuzziness where animation ought to lend itself to crispness may suggest sticking to the mini-cells on repro film (is that geekin-ese for acetate?) or smaller prints would be a good idea.

Operation All American Tiger

Does the show do what it says on the tin? Absolutely, buckets of blood and severed limbs everywhere.

Basic Stopping Power

Is it pioneering? Perhaps, perhaps not. Many will recall a level of savagery in cartoons from 30-40 years ago which was way more graphic than what passes the diffident and sensitive programmer’s editing suite these days. Also, Itchy and Scratchy sort of provides a similar level of dismemberment, though without the graphic fluid leaking all over the screen and that is really the question begged by Cauty Jr who came up with the concept a few months ago (so that’d be the school holidays then), what happened to the blood and why didn’t they die?

Dispersion Error (“Daddy, what’s a dispersion error?” - honest)

Is it fun – hell yeah, the inner comedy anarchist is highly envious of making those animations and pictures for a living. Its also the most shambolic chaos ever passed off as an art opening, viewing the DVD installations required mountaineering over jumbles of boxes and rubbish which actually possibly might have been the shop stock! We expect nothing less from Cauty.

Careful now, don’t hurt yourself

Anyone with the slightest awareness of the protective attitude of large corporate brands will be pondering the chutzpah of such brazen image theft. In keeping with the theme, Cauty himself bears his chest to the legal snipers and his video disclaimer almost taunts WB to bring it on.

Splatter disclaimer

The static images had a flaw in that they are freeze frames from a medium that relies on frenzied action and “that’s all folks” furious music. The pictures really need the benefit of at least a cartoon strip to provide the full joke, otherwise they are just “ha ha – blood” stills without any particular joke. That said, Cauty Jr has pulled off a bright idea edges with controversy and accomplished a fresh show with his old man’s ability to deliver undoubtedly significant in getting there, for his sake lets hope he appreciates it isn’t always so easy. Are my kids going to turn into pistol toting murderers? Hopefully not but why is my wife polishing that axe?

Splattered all over the stage - more photos here

Hands up if you are amused by the dig at art pretentiousness in the meaningless addition of “part 4” to the sub-title [both hands raised]

PS If your kids need to know what dispersion error is, well this is it:

The distance from the point of impact to the mean point of impact

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