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The Institute of Beasts
Date: 20 Jun - 2 Aug 2009

At the entrance to a Theme Park in a seaside town in northern England there is a life-size mannequin in a glass case. He has been there since we were children and thus, like us, he has been around for some time. The mannequin was presumably intended to portray a jovial King welcoming the visitor but there is something amiss about him, something of the pitiful and hysterical clown. He is facing outwards and rotating 360 degrees and as he does so he emits a hideous rasping laugh in a continuous loop; the laughing is in itself a complex mongrel composition of the ridiculous and the diabolical. A very modern hysteria that is both powerful and strangely compelling.

In this manifestation of our ongoing project entitled ‘The Institute of Beasts’ we have produced a body of work in which we have attempted to initiate a play between an elegance and a disturbance. The resulting installation is deliberately ambiguous, if not somewhat contradictory. This tactic is not intended to confuse the viewer but to tacitly suggest or invoke a realm within which we privilege doubt, reticence and inconclusiveness over certain forms of knowledge; a critical sentiment which lies at the heart of the ‘Institute of Beasts’project.

Our references, which are wide, and to some extent nomadic, are often deeply encoded within the images, objects, texts, animations and sound works we construct.

Animated and static geometric forms sit alongside inverted flower photographs, sound works are built by graphically interpreting activist slogans, a computer reads a pathetic and confessional soliloquy and a wall text appropriates the text of spam e-mails selling drugs which promise to increase sexual potency .            

Dutton & Swindells   June, 2009

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