MÉLANGE is proud to present an installation by Joshua Sex (b. 1985 in Dublin, lives and works in London) which includes some of his latest paintings and a newly commissioned sound piece for Cologne.
The Barking Dog
Some workers came to chop down a tree that was getting too big.
In the garden next to the tree there was a dog. He started barking at the workers.
He barked and barked and barked while they chopped at the tree-trunk.
Next they took a break for lunch and the dog kept barking at them.
After the tea and cigarettes they went back to work and the dog kept barking at them.
Once the tree was chopped down they began to cut it up – and the dog was still barking.
As it grew dark they collected up all the logs into their cart and swept up the loose branches and twigs – all the while the dog kept up his barking at them.
Once everything was done the workers got into the wagon and drove off, and finally the dog stopped barking. He said to himself: That got rid of them.
– Joshua Sex, 2015
But […] the lyrical-illustration is not exact and sometimes even disturbing. For Joshua Sex, image and text are equal and can stand up for each other in an open association. Both aspects of his work offer referential possibilities which allow us to go beyond a simple explanation of text and image. His pieces stand in the “tradition” of narrative-art/story-art from the 1970’s, which was, back in the day, a reaction to conceptual art‘s fixed aesthetics and inaccessibility by the viewer, and which might be again a possibility for dealing with the strong conceptual practices of today‘s artists. What is important for Sex is how word and image collaborate with each other: the untold part of the story is as relevant as what you read and see or listen to. His lyrical brush-stroke is entrenched with fairytale-esque phrasing and has a moral ending, while his paintings shift between the abstract and the emblem.
Both show a deep understanding and examination of a painterly discourse, folktales and social topics. For MÉLANGE, as a nod to folk archives (especially the Irish Folklore Commission – an organisation set up in the early part of the 20th century in order to capture a vanishing heritage of storytelling, music and song), Sex recorded some of his lyrical work with traditional tin-whistle and singing. When the visitor enters he or she will not be able to choose whether to read or observe, but will be confronted to listen to the unique atmosphere and folktales of the artist. One can speculate how story and painting go together, or maybe become universal, like chapters in a book.