Window rack

Postcards & Metal Display Rack
170 cms

An installation consisting of a postcard rack filled with postcards of the image used for the piece 'window'.



  • Souvenir - Tony Marcus SHOW

    Souvenir - Tony Marcus

    “He owned nothing. No object, no family furniture, no souvenir. All he had was contained in an old trunk where he kept a few photos and notes relating to his past work.”
    Lydie Sarazin, Marcel Duchamp’s first wife, from a privately printed memoir, published 1927.

    This starkness of Duchamp is liberating. There is a similar resonance in descriptions of his New York apartment; one room, one chair, a basic bed, packing crate and two nails banged into the wall. A piece of string hung from one of the nails.

    If it has nothing to look at, the mind has a better opportunity of being quiet. I don’t know if this was Duchamp’s intention, and pictures of his last home in Neuilly that he shared with his second wife show a much more ‘normal’ looking room. There are shelves and books, art and objects.

    But a souvenir will trouble and disturb the mind. The word is French (it is a verb) and means ‘to remember’. The English noun ‘souvenir’ is the infinitive mood of ‘souvenir’ used substantively. The usage is modern. The word does not appear in The Bible, Shakespeare, Blake, Dickens,

    ‘Moby Dick’ or ‘Alice in Wonderland’. There is a souvenir in Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’ (once) and Scott Fitzgerald where usage is plummy and sentimental. Gatsby refers to a photograph.

    “A souvenir of Oxford days. It was taken in Trinity quad. The man on my left is now the Earl of Doncaster.”

    The etymology of souvenir is Latin from ‘sub’ meaning under or near and ‘venire’ to come. The meaning is of something, in this case a memory that comes from the deep of the mind. ‘Souvenir’ then describes an object that will dredge memory (like policemen looking for a corpse in the river).

    It is not common to think of souvenirs as objects that recall lost memory. In regular usage the word hitches itself to snow-domes and ‘tasteless’ (insists Wikipedia) objects linked to tourists sites and capital cities. It is possible these objects ridicule the colossal state monuments they miniaturise and recast in plastic. Or suggest that any place or object that requires a souvenir to remain memorable is therefore, by itself, forgettable.

    But the souvenirs that recall lost memory externalise memory as three-dimensional objects. It is hard to see a

    memory. What does a memory look like?

    Pablo Picasso was fond of Alfred Jarry’s gun. Picasso acquired this weapon after Jarry’s death as a souvenir of his friend notes Duchamp’s biographer. (Although Picasso’s biographer Roland Penrose claims Jarry gave him the gun). Regardless of how he acquired the gun, Picasso took it on night-time jaunts and sometimes discharged the weapon in the Parisian air.

    The gun reminded Picasso of his dead friend, say the biographers. It might be accurate to exhibit the gun and with the label ‘souvenir of Alfred Jarry, author of Pere Ubu’. It might be tempting to say the gun was a ‘relic’ of either Jarry or Picasso although the word ‘relic’ has a specific theological meaning.

    “Orthodox Christians,” explains Bishop Kallistos Ware, “believe that the grace of God present in the saints bodies during life remains active in their relics when they have died and that God uses these relics as a channel of divine power, as an instrument of healing.”

    And relics have a future. In the last days they will be reclaimed and refleshed by the resurrected saints. “The relics were the saint,” notes Patrick J

    Geary in ‘Furta Sacra’. But you could say ‘they are the saint’. They are not souvenirs. Or representations.

    Jarry’s gun is inert. It does not belong to eternity. Jarry’s gun is not Jarry. It is a path to the memory of a dead writer (who will remain dead) and to Picasso’s memory of his friend (Jarry died in 1907, Picasso in 1973).

    If Jarry’s gun still exists and if you could hold it in your hand it would be proof that Jarry (and also Picasso) did exist. It is an artefact or piece of evidence, like the dinosaur skeletons. And it can be difficult for those of us living in the present to believe the Past really happened. We need physical evidence; museums, galleries and archaeologies.

    Jarry’s gun is like Coleridge’s Flower; an object that connects us to another world, in this instance Montmartre circa 1906-1910. Coleridge’s Flower is a meditation (unpublished in his lifetime) that reaches out to Heaven, Narnia and wonder.

    “If a man could pass through Paradise in a dream, and have a flower presented to him as a pledge that his soul had really been there, and

    if he found that flower in his hand when he awoke – Ay! – and what then?”.

    But most souvenirs, even if they function as evidence that you have been somewhere are ‘tasteless’ (says Wikipedia) and also kitsch. The word comes form the German ‘verkitschen’ meaning to make cheap and ‘kitschen’ to collect junk from the streets. Kitsch is the ‘commodification of the souvenir,” says Celeste Olalquiaga and ‘the souvenir the commodification of remembrance’.

    There might be some who resist having their memories cast in ‘cheap’ plastic (and there is a reflex prejudice against plastic – Umberto Eco has written about the wonder and beauty of plastic).

    St Mark’s in Venice is to be avoided, I was told on Boxing Day by a young postgraduate student of architecture, because it is tacky, a theme park. But if you walked away from the centre, my student friend advised, you will find strange, watery fields, real farmers, authentic experience.

    This longing for the ‘authentic’ might traumatise an otherwise restful holiday. And there is an appalling egotism in the tourists’ refusal to accept his or her role. But this is a consoling delusion because

    (for some of us) commodified leisure and memory are harder to stomach than commodified transport or education.

    There is an image Gavin Turk has exhibited of a discarded paper cup bearing the image of Stonehenge. And Stonehenge (says Wikipedia) is ‘one of the most famous prehistoric sites in the world’. I suppose you could say its the country’s oldest and most ‘magnificent’ art work.

    Gavin may be having a go at English Heritage, who produced the cup because there might be some leakage, some diminution of value heading back from the cup to the ‘magnificent’ original.

    But then again both the cup and Gavin’s image are perfectly adequate pictures of Stonehenge. And they are calm images. There is no anxiety about authenticity or form.

    When I started this story I wanted to rail against spoons from Ramsgate and a Tower of London snow-dome; now I find myself warming to these objects; they are without angst and they are useless.

    Celeste Olalquiaga, The Artificial Kingdom: A Treasury Of The Kitsch Experience (Bloomsbury, 1999)
    Patrick J Geray, Furta Sacra, Thefts of Relics in the Central Middle Ages (Princeton

    University Press, 1991)
    Roland Penrose, Picasso (Granada, 1981)
    Calvin Tomkins, Duchamp: a biotgraphy (H.Holt. 1996)

  • The Union Jack - Dmitri Galitzine SHOW

    The Union Jack - Dmitri Galitzine

    Flags have always seemed, somehow, to accredit ‘ownership.’ Armies go to battle for the sake of their flags. They realize their defeat in the falling of their flag or their victory in the flying of their own. National flags are supposed to serve as the altarpieces of national pride, but the Union Jack seems to inspire a pervasive ambivalence in Britons today. Our National Flag pasted onto windows, fluttering from car aerials or hanging from balconies is becoming an increasingly unfamiliar sight. Looking closely at what our national flag represents, this is perhaps to be expected. Given the confusion that stems from generations of British imperialism, it is unsurprising that when our flag is flying high, no-one seems to know who or what it is supposed to represent.

    The lack of clear patriotic feelings in Britain is partly due to the hundreds of years of historical conflicts between England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. England has notoriously colonized nations all over the world – and Scotland, Wales and Ireland have too suffered under this imperialist regime. Wales was part of the Kingdom of England when the Union Jack was first constructed in 1606, so the red St George’s Cross,

    at the time, represented both England and Wales. Then the St Andrew’s Cross – the white diagonal on the blue background – represented the inclusion of Scotland in the Union. St Patrick’s Cross – the red diagonal of Ireland – wasn’t incorporated until 1800. The Union Jack as we know it now was thus formed. Ever since, however, Scotland, Ireland and Wales have fought against this blanket ‘Britishness’ that the flag promotes, feeling perhaps that their own national identities have been usurped by the voracious colonizing appetite of England. This discontent has been channeled over the years through debates over the Union Jack’s composition – as if the flag in itself has come to embody this complex history of the ‘United’ Kingdom. The Welsh have made several attempts to try to include the Welsh dragon into the Union Jack to assuage their feelings of exclusion from it. Scotland has long since felt contempt that St Andrew’s cross is depicted behind St George’s. There is a suspicion in Ireland that the St Patrick’s Cross in the British flag was merely an invented convenience to fit the Union Jack, and has never been the National flag of the Irish. English ignorance of

    the Union Jack is captured by the stupidity of tourist shops in Oxford street in selling t-shirts depicting a Union Jack, brandishing the word ‘England.’ The flag has become, then, the flag of a divided Country, a country of split societies, none of which wish to harness the flag that tries to unite them all. The only people who seem to give any particular notice to our national flag are the very people who feel excluded from it.

    Wales, Scotland and Ireland have thus struggled to locate themselves within the flag – in the same way that black and Asian Britons have felt unrepresented by the Union Jack. It was recently proposed, for example, that black stripes should be incorporated into what was described a ‘racist’ flag. This comes into sharp relief in depictions of the Union Jack by black and Asian artists. These artists are giving voice to these zeitgeist issues, in an attempt to understand the multi-culturalist nature of post-colonial Britain. Again, people feeling marginalized, people feeling excluded from being ‘British’, voice this discontent through the symbolism contained in the Union Jack.

    The National Front also saw the Union Jack as a representative of

    an exclusive white Britain, and they harnessed the flag as a symbol of white supremacy. The Union Jack became the flag of the National Front in Thatcherite Britain. Flags are supposed to promote nationalist feelings, which the National Front pushed into a violent extreme. The right wing National Front used the flag as a symbol against the multiculturalism that right wing British Imperialism set the way for. Britain today is coming to terms with the consequences of colonialism – a regret that it’s gone, an embarrassment that it ever happened. When ‘Britannia ruled the waves,’ the Union Jack was even coined ‘The Butcher’s Apron’. Perhaps part of the contemporary attitude towards the flag suggests our aversion to flying the Union Jack is due to an embarrassment about these imperial associations. Perhaps we don’t want to be reminded of the atrocities of our forefathers, the blood red of the St George’s Cross. Even today, the Union Jack can be traced around the world in the flags of the countries we ‘civilized’.

    The red white and blue of Britain has fluctuated in and out of fashion over the twentieth century, not necessarily in parallel to national attitude. The Union

    Jack accompanied the Beatles on their World Tour of 1964 and soon became a rock’n’roll symbol of the artists and bohemians of Carnaby Street in the 1960s. As British pop music triumphed globally, the flag once again achieved the world respect it had during Imperialism. It became a marketing sign in the branding of the swinging city that was 1960s London.

    The next decade saw the Union Jack ripped up and defaced by Punk. The inclusion of the flag on the album covers of the Sex Pistols together with the sarcastic patriotism of their ‘God Save the Queen,’ put the band at war with the establishment. The single was released during the time of Queen Elizabeth’s Silver Jubilee and it was seen as an attack on the monarchy. The fact that the band and their fans were brandishing ripped up versions of the monarchy’s own flag seemed especially pertinent. Like the artists, by defacing the Union Jack, punk bands of the 70s were voicing the concerns and dissatisfaction of a dispirited British youth. Again, the Union Jack becomes a symbol through which to speak. The flag represented the old school establishment and the flag’s vandalism heralded a

    new generation which went on to change the shape of the country.

    The late eighties and early nineties saw Britain again coming into the global frame that was seen in the 60s. Once again Britain started to dictate what was hip to the world, and this was especially true in the zeitgeist of the art world. The various names given to the art produced at that time, all further this brand in their reference to the fact that art itself was British: ‘Cool Britannia’ or ‘Young British Art’. Liam Gallagher and Patsy Kensit, the John and Yoko of the 90s, appeared in magazines draped in a Union Jack with the familiar headline of 1966 Time magazine, ‘The Swinging City’. Even Geri Halliwell showed her patriotic attitude as her Union Jack dress became one of the flag bearers of British pop culture.

    However much the Union Jack has appeared in and out of vogue, there is still a marginalized interest and recognition in the country as a whole. The Union Jack has become a confused symbol of a divided nation, a nation to which no one really belongs. Jack of all trades, master of none…

    University Press, 1991)
    Roland Penrose, Picasso (Granada, 1981)
    Calvin Tomkins, Duchamp: a biotgraphy (H.Holt. 1996)