Cheer Up! It’s Not the End of the World
Apocalypse images and tormented childhood dreams from Gordon Cheung, Damien Hirst and more
This article is from 2012.
It’s coming. The end of the world, that is. Or at least that’s the case according to those who subscribe to the ancient Mayan theories of disaster-movie-style apocalypse, who reckon it will all be over by Christmas. As the title of this group show suggests, artists such as Damien Hirst and Etienne Clément don’t take such hokum altogether seriously, and are effectively fiddling while Rome – or wherever – burns. The likes of Gordon Cheung’s classical friezes set on backdrops of the FT index, meanwhile, have tapped into an infinitely more serious contemporary malaise.
Hirst’s gold-skulled ‘Death or Glory: Sunset Fold/Blind Impression Glorious Skull’ sets the scene on the stairs, while Clément’s ‘Second Coming’ finds a Jesus figurine stopping the Matchbox car traffic against a building site backdrop as the cameras roll. Beyond such japery, Cheung’s ‘Revelations I-XV’ and ‘Tree’ sum up the epoch-changing awfulness of this century’s financial collapse. In terms of the existential crisis forged out of such blind faith in mammon, Jake and Dinos Chapman’s Kafkaesque ‘I do not recall distinctly when it began, but it was months ago’ reimagines tormented childhood dreams of how it could be. It’s Andy Warhol’s tellingly empty ‘Electric Chair’, however, that sums up the way to go. In terms of the ultimate fin de siècle nightmare, it really is the living end.
Edinburgh Printmakers, 226 0000, until 8 Sep (not Mon), free.