'Money in the Eyes' with Delia Cabral Fine Art, Santa Monica // May 4 - June 4, 2017
This show opened on May 4, 2017 and runs till June 4 with Delia Cabral Fine Art at FAB Gallery in Santa Monica, Los Angeles. Seven works are featured - two new bronze castings of human skulls with solid silver American dollars welded in the sockets, four life-burger sculptures (including the new Trump Burger and Jester Burger as well as the Veyron Burger and Buddha Burger) and the artist's proof of the photographic work Skull Portrait with Raven.
The show continues my exploration of the theme of materialism and its relationship to art, mortality and the spiritual dimension.
Money in the Eyes and Money in the Eyes (Laughing Skull) are both featured in the show and give the show its title."Money in the Eyes" - these works in bronze with shiny silver dollars welded into the eye sockets explore the historical, spiritual and cultural relationship between money and mortality. Coins were often placed in people's eye sockets or mouth in ancient Greece following their death as payment to Charon. In exchange for this payment, the boatman would ferry them into either the afterlife paradise of Elysium, the hell of Tartarus or the standard destination for 'ordinary' people: the Asphodel Meadows. In more recent times President Abraham Lincoln's body was left in state with half silver dollars placed in his eye sockets. Both art and money can survive our own mortality, they share this special facility of contributing to the legacy we leave behind. The 'Laughing Skull' depicted here suggests a 'last laugh' or laughing in face of death - the implementation or instruction for a specific legacy that will continue to exist after the individual's passing... The relationship between money and art is another ingredient within the works - they represent a long standing interest in exploring the commodotization and commercialisation of art.
Jester Burger, 16 x 22 cms, bronze gold plated, 2017.
The Jester is placed at the top of the hierarchy - on a par with the presidents, dictators and monarchs of his day. In medieval times the Jester was entitled to say whatever he chose to the King and Queen and was immune from punishment. He gave great relief to the controlled and oppressed court life. He not only provided entertainment but also offered profound insights into life and reality. I see the Jester archetype as a metaphor for the more interesting contemporary artists of today - free to speak their mind and not able to be suppressed by the powers that be.
Trump Burger, 14 cm x 20cm, solid silver gold plated, unique edition, 2017.
President Trump is presented on top of a McDonald's burger bun and astride a reigned and domesticated American bison. The burger is filled with the grotequely and greedily packed accoutrements and collectables of high status and wealth. Trump is presented at the very top of the totem power structure. The use of the medieval sculptural form is reminiscent of the 'spiritual seeker' or 'pilgrimage - journeyer' as if a character from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. The work is not simply a critique on materialism, it posits the question as to 'why' Trump is there in this role. It examines his motives from the perspective of a spiritual quest. The work references the notion of the 'cultural hero system' posited by Ernest Becker in his book, 'The Denial of Death'. It looks at the origin of people's ambition and how significant that is to their own sense of identity and their way of coping with the meaninglessness and inevitability of their own death. Ultimately it explores what gives people's lives meaning.
Money in the Eyes (installation view).
Art Critic Edward Lucie-Smith has written on the 'Life Burgers': “The Life Burgers seem the culmination of the artist’s journey towards a full engagement with society, offer a commentary on the vanity and essential self-deception of contemporary urban society, with its lust more pronounced than ever in its upper reaches – for expensive toys”. “The Life Burger sculptures combine two opposing functions: they offer a sharp criticism of the society we live in and yet simultaneously they are luxury objects in their own right”.
Patrick Howe, author of 'The Awakened Artist', in Watkins Mind Body Spirit Magazine issue 46: "De Cadenet's Life-Burgers conjure a fattening materialism that works like a toxic cholesterol on the spiritual heart..."
KXLU 88.9 Los Angeles Radio Interview by Christine Palma:
Buddha Burger (installation view).