‘Vertigo’ – art2go (Barrett Foster) – As part of queerupnorth98 International Arts Festival

1 May 1998 — 21 June 1998

Vertigo was originally inspired by accounts of gay men scattering the ashes of their loved ones on the dance floors of Sydney, New York, London and San Francisco and the discovery of fascinating collection of early porn whilst clearing the house of an early friend who had died. At various stages, he had sealed away his entire porn collection in trunk, only to start a new collection from scratch and then seal that one away as well.

Vertigo is a version of an exhibition that was previously shown at Cambridge Darkroom Gallery and the Australian Centre for Photography in Sydney. For Castlefield Gallery, a series of small colour photographs coated in scratch-card wax have been placed around the outside of the gallery initially appearing like a minimalist installation of grey rectangles. Visitors are invited to scratch away at the wax to reveal the images beneath: highly magnified magazine portraits of porn stars, enlarged to the extent that the dots of the magazine printing process are clearly visible. Wax scratching, like human ashes, is caught on glass shelving beneath the photos, which remain never entirely obliterated nor fully disclosed.

This is language of porn reduced to its essential part but deprived of its erotic core. The naked body has been stripped from the imagery and yet the installation still has the capacity to provoke anxiety: for the spectator to concede recognition of its contents is to risk exposed as a voyeur.

Art2go are artists James Barrett and Robin Foster who have lived and worked together for 8 years.3 years ago their work was featured in National Gallery of Australia where they vested as guests and received widespread media attention. Their work can currently be seen in FNAC show touring Europe for 3 years and was recently acquired by Victorian & Albert Museum; Previous projects have included a promotional campaign for the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), London and solo exhibitions at Rear Window Gallery, London and South London Art Gallery.