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The Trickle Down effect is an economic term coined in the 1980s used to describe the belief that the hierarchical prosperity of the upper classes will eventually trickle down to benefit the working class.
Often explicit, frequently funny and constantly inquisitive, Drew’s psychotropic masterpiece left us feeling we too had unwittingly become subjects of the same experiment. Projecting a state of Stockholm Syndrome upon his viewers, the unnerving yet seductive nature of his audio-visual installations brings about the most emphatic response one can hope to gain from art; unabashed curiosity.
Instantly immersed by Drew’s prominent illustrations upon entering the exhibition space, we are beckoned by the bodily, beautiful and paradoxically grotesque surrealism. As the artist requests the viewer to leave behind the horrors of the mundane, we submit to the cultish draw and find ourselves standing, bewitched in front of his centre shrine.
Backlit by a spherical entity, by which we are unable to discern materiality; perhaps we are led to comprehend a parallel between industrialism and nature; sound and vision, purism and complexity. And so, with capitalism our new idol, we are invited to examine the broader context of this societal connotation under the lens of a microscope (or Drew’s video camera…) Mirrored illustrations of teeth and crass papier maché sculptures of eyes juxtapose the controlled technical formal elements and invite us to examine our inner selves. Wires carefully/carelessly entangled on the floor engage with the concept of misinformation and the indoctrination of the many by the few.
A video of feet trudging through mud reminds us of the arduous, unceasing nature of consumption. A room hosting a materially fetishistic video triptych displays the journey of the camera’s eye over rippled skin and connotes to our own unattainable aspirations towards perfection, whilst presenting a raw exposed, vulnerable motif of sexuality.
Drawings of eyes on drums are mounted onto an audio soundscape - rhythmic and chaotic. Triangular structures reference triptychs and deities. Stacks of absurdist, surrealist newspapers printed with Drew’s often indiscernible scrawl are fanned about the exhibition space and offer a charming, alternative reality to our daily metropolitan commutes.
On leaving the exhibition space the ominous words THAT SINKING FEELING appear…
As we travel upstairs we are met with the serene stillness of archival photographs of storms. John Divola’s ‘Vandalism Portfolio’ leads our eye on from Drew’s digital illustrations to the gestural chaos of mark making – curated imperfections and drawing with light. Charming, familiar blue scrawls by Emin and the obsessive trypophobic explorations of Yayoi Kusama present us with an altogether different view of the sensuality of the line. Portraits by Cindy Sherman presented in the same space as Louise Bourgeois’ disembodied sculptures resonate the notion of the self and our relationship with identity.
Vulnerability is the human condition – demonstrated beautifully by the complex fragility of Pawel Althamer’s ‘Self Portrait as a Billy Goat’. Let us not deplore it, but instead, find hope that we can use it as a tool to better understand others.
‘The Trickle-Down Syndrome’ is showing now at the Whitechapel Gallery, Aldgate East until 10th September 2017.
‘ISelf Collection’ will be displayed on the gallery’s upper level until 20th August 2017.