Hugo Michell Gallery invites you to the opening of Paul Yore’s Obscene, and Will French’s Au Wop Bop A Loo Bop A Wop Bam Boom! on Thursday, March 2 from 6pm!
Obscene brings together over two years of textile works by Melbourne-born artist Paul Yore, in his Adelaide debut. Ranging from intimate textual needlepoints to wall-sized collaged appliqué works, Yore excavates the bedrock of our neurotic globalised civilisation, questioning the foundational myths of Western culture, and the slippery position language plays in structuring our perception of selfhood, time, reality, and sense of place in history. Yore draws on the traditions of classical Greek art, decorative Flemish and French tapestries, trashy pop-culture, gay porn, cartoons, psychedelia, and the frenzied excesses of Rococo style to build up immersive portals abounding in deconstructive linguistic riddle and iconoclastic patchworks of unabashed animalistic carnality.
On the surface, layers of hand-sewn beads, buttons, and sequins exude a sense of queer frivolity. But this glitzy skin belies darkness beneath the surface, where themes of colonial brutality, debased capitalistic vice, and the collapse of the symbolic order mingle with images of homoerotic fantasy in some kind of grandiose psychosexual melodrama.
Sampling lyrics from Little Richard’s 1955 breakthrough hit, Tutti Frutti, this work places them in the unlikely context of a national park timber sign. Commonly recognised as a signifier for directions, this beacon instead appears to offer gibberish. ‘Tutti Frutti’ translates to ‘all the fruits’ in Italian; ‘Aw Rooty’ is Louisianan cadence for ‘alright’ (but in truth just sounds like ‘wanna rooty’); and ‘A wop bop a loo bop a wop bam boom’ is onomatopoeic nonsense that emulates a drum beat (but does it have far more suggestive undertones?).
Undeniably sexy and irreverent, this song shaped the evolution of early Rock ‘n’ Roll. Capturing a wild and untamed departure from the mainstream, Rock ‘n’ Roll became a soundtrack for counterculture and defiance, a search for self-awareness and authenticity.
This work presents these three phrases as alternative paths to consider.
Please join us in celebrating these two brilliant exhibitions on March 2!