“Who the fuck do you think you are” is both a question and an accusation— a phrase whose complexities are often lost in the vernacular of the everyday. In the midst of the production offices of Dazed & Confused magazine, Who The FUCK do you think you ARE is an excitingly quirky group show, featuring the work of five of London’s most interesting young artists.
Through a variety of different mediums, from newspaper collage to video installations, the artists successfully tackle the complex notion of identity existing in a state of perpetual flux through works that are equally as fluid and ever-evolving.
As a whole, the exhibition seems consistently random, but each work in the small space of Dazed Gallery is worth closer evaluation. Daryl Waller presents a small painting, framed in gold, in which a badger explains to a little red bird that Charles Manson, the infamous American serial killer, is really just misunderstood. The work falls in line with the current trend in painting headed by well-known illustrative teams like The Royal Art Lodge, and is equally smart and funny. Waller also exhibits two oversized emails, from a project in which he created a fraudulent email address for rockstar Axl Rose, in order to receive genuine fanmail. The emails are both funny and disturbing, illuminating the strange tension between the projections and expectations of fans upon celebrities, as seen when one fan writes, “and I’m going to be watching your end, when [you] die, I mean when they bury you, because to me and the world you are already dead.”
Who The FUCK do you think you ARE examines the self in society, and explores the level to which we are defined more by the social conditioning of a present-day culture obsessed with celebrity, than by our own individuality. In the small contemporary gallery of one of London’s most successful art and culture houses, it is a counter-intuitive idea worth exploring in the context of the Dazed space, and definitely not a show to be missed.
(*Images: Daryl Waller. Daryl Waller, You Are Beautiful, courtesy of the Artist.)