If I am unattractive then my life is not worth living
In 2015 engineers at automaker Volkswagen designed software that sensed when their cars were undergoing emission tests and adjusted the engine to produce far less nitrogen oxides. What the emissions scandal proved was that multinational companies would go great lengths to generate an appearance of increasing environmental consciousness but without following through in practice.
Many years before in the 1950s philosopher of meaning making Roland Barthes picked up on this, he wrote that cars are ‘the supreme creation of an era, conceived with passion by unknown artists, and consumed in image if not in usage by a whole population which appropriates them as a purely magical object.’ The story of marketing has been about selling lifestyles rather than products, the image has primacy over practice.
Oscar Wilde’s character Dorian Gray took hedonism to another level, while having his portrait done he makes a wish that his replicated image ages instead of him. As time passes the painting begins to deteriorate and he stows it from view in his attic. Ascending the stairs of the Croydon Arts Store, encroaching the LOFT space the exhibition If I am unattractive then my life is not worth living presents works that draw upon forgotten and novel imagery, their meanings decomposing and moving along the production line towards exhausted obsolescence, concealed to preserve the pristine public appearances of the automobile industry.
Opening 5-8pm on 14th December in the LOFT space, top floor, Croydon Arts Store