Practically the first work to greet you as you enter the ICA is Dante Rendle Taylor’s Show (2012), one of several video installations scattered about the gallery. On the screen, a disembodied male head, adorned with a beard of shaving cream, wears what is either a condom-style hat or a hat-style condom. On a background of senseless words, the head makes babbling noises. Sound tasteless? It is. It’s only after perusing the rest of the show that the theme of ludicrous modernity becomes clear, and the you realise that Taylor is poking fun at the worst excesses of contemporary art.
Isabella South’s Homer Wake Up You’re Alive (2013) provides a more pleasing double-take. The painting only becomes visible in light of its title. Coloured shapes, in some areas unfinished and in others viscerally dripping paint, emerge as an extreme close-up of Homer Simpson’s brown and yellow chops. He holds his hand in front of him in disbelief, as stunned by the fact of his existence as any Frankenstein’s monster. Indeed, if Homer were to come to life, he would be amazed by the popularity and resonance his dumb-loser persona has elicited in the public consciousness.
Hardeep Patel’s 2Pac Jumper by Mum (2012) and Bruce Parry Vest by Mum (2012) are exactly that – 2Pac’s and Parry’s faces knitted onto jumpers – and Thomas Aitchison’s Lynx Genesis (2012) is a thin sculpture made out of cans of that cheapest and cheesiest of aftershaves, Lynx. These entertaining riffs on popular culture raise a smile, but don’t exactly delve much deeper. The same can be said for Bucket of Chicken and a 40oz (2013), a video clip taken from YouTube and displayed here alongside a KFC plastic bag, in which the infamous competitive eater and drinker, ‘Tiny’ Tim Rauscheder, polishes off the eponymous meal.
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