I wanted to just quickly make some comments on an art installation I came across a couple of weeks ago, which until recently I had not quite made up my mind on what to think about it. While rummaging around the expansive flee markets of the 18th arrondissement, we came across, quite by chance, a quiet yet well frequented compound which housed, alongside a small collection of antique boutiques and an appealing burger bar, the Untilthen gallery. A contemporary art space accommodated within an old steel framed warehouse.
The exhibition was entitled, 'Bitter Sweet Symphony' and the installation pictured above, was produced by the art collective Nøne Futbol Club.
I have to be honest, my initial impression of this work was somewhat clouded by the novelty of the installation itself - the large rectangular cage, the flock of finches (at least I think they were finches) and the genius of the artist in having the birds' excrement spell out the message, ‘GOT TO GET’. This message was for me then, as it is now, the war cry of our consumerist culture. Since then I have given more thought to the relationship between this message and the other elements of the installation, seeing the entire piece as a critical commentary on the nature of Western society. A metaphor if you like. For just as the seemingly abstract composition of the birds' perches organise, gradually, the incontestable logic of their existence (their excrement), so do those equally abstract structures of our society lead inevitably to the consumerist mantra depicted at the bottom of the cage. Which, from the artists’ material of choice (shit), we can assume is not to be perceived as a positive end.
Anyway, the exhibition space itself is also very intriguing and the courtyard off which it is accessed is a real oasis in what is otherwise a strange and contradicting area - the plodding antique markets of the white middle-classes surrounded by the fast and linear goods markets of the immigrant population. Another social commentary albeit, this time, far less difficult to perceive.