Thursday, 15 August 2013

John Newling, 'Ecologies of Value, The Exchange, Penzance 2013

The leaflet describes John newling as ‘a pioneer of British public art with a social purpose’.

This interests me because I think art has a social and political significance whether intended or not and some of mine is definitely intended to have so I like to see what others have done.

Money and religion are  mentioned in the blurb for the show.

However, sad to say, I find the exhibition terribly dull.

It looks sort of portentous, very serious, little colour, repeated large formats, several huge glass dishes and some writing, some plants being raised hydrophonically, some balls of earth on top of copies of Tom Paine’s ‘The Rights of Man’, but you can’t read the book.

I start with the video, give it up because its a horrible noise of raucous out of tune singing coming through the headphones, try it again to find people one by one singing questions from hymns, give up on it again.

Newling has removed dirt from coins and weighed it, but I can’t see what significance this has. The dirt doesn’t weigh much, the coins are worth the same with or without dirt if you want to spend them.

He is ‘Emeritus Professor of installation Sculpture at Nottingham Trent University’ which I think is the other one, not the Notts University I went to in the 60’s.

This show is said to survey his work since the 1970’s, in which case it seems a bit sparse.

I am bitterly disppointed.
Where is the social and and economic addressed? 
Where is the ‘deeper questioning of value and belief?’
Its not in evidence in the work.

I offer my animated 3 minute version of the message of The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists by Robert Tressell,
you tube   ‘The Money Trick’ Mary Fletcher   should find it.

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