Exhibition: ‘The Message is the Message’
A new solo show by South African artist Cameron Platter runs until November 18 at Warin Lab Contemporary.
Warin Lab Contemporary presents “The Message is the Message,” a solo exhibition by Cameron Platter that will be on view from now until November 18. This exhibition marks Platter’s first solo show in Thailand and brings an installation of drawings and sculptures.
In line with Warin Lab Contemporary’s mission of providing a space to discuss social issues through art and its focus on environmental themes throughout 2021, Platter chooses to concentrate on the theme of trash, a constant element of his art. The artist breaks through the wall of a frontal point of view, transcending the obviousness of a literal reading. Digging deeper into the multilayered concept of trash, he plays with its very complexity. In his world, trash is a wide concept that includes ecological aspects like environmental degradation, mutations and toxicity.
But trash also overcomes this perspective and is a metaphor for our society’s debris: it is the garbage of the conformist common sense; it is people narcotised watching a Netflix series while the worst inhumanities flow in the background of life. Excess, consumption, mutations, mass hysteria, plasticisers, cancers, toxic waste; as well as the maximalist disposable-culture of fast food, fast money, fake news, greed and crumbling late-stage capitalism. Trash is the aberration of evil that wanders the Earth.
In Platter’s works, two crocodiles’ outlines overlap against a bricked wall, shrimps fluctuate with martini drinks and black cats, and an image of a fish lifted from Shutterstock are subjects of his drawings. Acid, vivid, toxic sharp colours daze us. “Life,” “Exodus,” “Casino”—the titles of these works—pop up in the composition like neon signs flashing at us, like details of mounting anxiety.
Carved wooden copies of plastic stools are scattered in view of the brightly painted gallery wall. The drawings themselves appear like an altar piece but also like items on a fast-food menu. Physically brought together by the stools, viewers are involved and engaged. Not audience anymore, they become part of the whole work, a consumerist temple for a Happy Meal. The whole exhibition represents an experience, rather than simply a collection of different works. It creates a whole universe.
The all-encompassing nature of Platter’s approach has a totalising embrace; it’s the coexistence of opposites: symbols from high and low culture, irony and tragedy, cynicism and social commitment, lightness and playfulness along with fear, panic and chaos.
Platter’s works always have a strong impact. There’s no surface subtlety, and this project has the aggressive strength to immediately shake us at our core. It strikes with violence and awakens us; it suddenly rouses us from torpor. After the initial strong impact, the works open multiple doors and we find ourselves with different paths of reflection where we can find both subtle comedy and tragedy.
Complexity, entropy, disintegration of sure reference points: what Cameron Platter does is take our certainties, our undisputed vision of reality, and plays with it. He shuffles the cards, throws them on the ground, shredding them into a thousand pieces scattered upside down, all over. He laughs at us. He frightens us with a Joker smile. When we come back from this trip things aren’t like they were before. Simple things have revealed a deep nature, a connection with a magma from which everything derives, a tragic and frightening substance, but at the same time as true as life is. What is certain is that we are no longer sure of anything.
THE MESSAGE IS THE MESSAGE
By Cameron Platter
23 September – 18 November
Curatorial text: Michela Sena