Friday, 3 October 2014

Perfidia: The Rag Factory, London, Weds 14th October

"Gin-drinking is a great vice in England, but wretchedness and dirt are a greater; and until you improve the homes of the poor, or persuade a half-famished wretch not to seek relief in the temporary oblivion of his own misery, with the pittance that, divided among his family, would furnish a morsel of bread for each, gin-shops will increase in number and splendour. “
Sketches by Boz, Charles Dickens.

In 1751 William Hogarth was commissioned to create some prints to support the ‘Gin Act’ (the prohibition of unlicensed Gin in England).  One of these artworks centred around a place known as ‘Gin Lane’, a (then) slum in St Giles, London. Hogarths scene depicted squalor, despair, poverty, starvation and misery - all of our favourite themes. The context of  this chaotic Gin Lane concept is masked in a sublime misunderstanding and condescension of the needs of the working class fuckwit. 
The underground Gin trade became a united community; a wisp of mothers ruin was cheaper and more accessible than clean water - and twice the fun!! Why face the mundane, glib reality of a bureaucratic society when you can numb your mind with the bitter tang of Juniper? The concern arose that people were so wrecked on gin that their lives fell into disregard, their children went hungry and the streets became a 24-7 farmyard of crime, debauchery and irresponsibility.
Welcome to the 21st century.
Gin is back! Sporting a new haircut and a hipster identity, it has once again become the choice of sad Mums and cute young bums the nation over. We, the modern day fops and dandies have adopted the old Gin Lane positions as we clamber lampposts and bollards, keeled over our Donner and chips in our vomit-happy stupor. We’re buying boutique gins ("slice of grapefruit?" "Fuck off mate") like its going out of fashion, pretending to be connoisseurs at Gin Festivals, giving ourselves a nouveaux  sense of what it feels like to be posh and proper. Truth is we just want to get fucked, the same as the rest of them.
As London soils itself with yet another class / economy identity crisis, we, the ‘idiot generation' are burying our heads in the Juniper soaked sand, with our good friend Tom Collins in tow we must take to the streets for a bout of soft-hedonism.
Celebrating everything wonderful about gin, debauchery and our constant struggle to escape from the polished shackles of a modern, professional world, we will be re-imagining Gin Lane as it stands in 21st Century Britain.

 Championing ourselves as the cultural luddites responsible for such previous action paintings as 'Big John' (the depiction of council-house bliss), and 'Wankers Paradise' (a fruit & veg painting of the London riots) - we will, as always, be executing our live action painting with theme-relevant materials, an impatient and explosive performative approach and our famous gin-induced swagger.

Cheers Big Ears.

See Grimes & Jones action-painting / drinking session 'Perfidia' live at The Independent Arts Fair (TIAF) on Wednesday 15th October, 6:30pm - Late, at: The Rag Factory, 16-18 Heneage Street, London, E1 5LJ.

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