The Spectacle

The Spectacle is an artistic commentary on the status quo. Things we accept, unchallenged and unchecked. A reference to Guy Debord’s The Society of the Spectacle, the exhibition looks at capitalism and commercialism and considerswhat would happen if we were to radicalise and improvise new interpretations of Christmas, an occasion rife with connotations of religious thanksgiving and familial gift-giving.

At the end of 2020, we are challenged by the notion of such a celebration. What does a festive season mean after all that was lost and gained during this extraordinary year? The Spectacle proposes multi-faceted responses to this question by THEFOURTH , through commissioned works by local artists, designers and makers coupled with furniture pieces by international brands. By taking art and design away from the quintessential gallery space, and allowing all practices to converge in an urban environment, what emerges are alternative proposals to seeing and being.

Considering the relentless cycle of production and consumption, The Spectacle reflects on the ubiquitous end- of-year festivities and wonders what our often unconscious celebratory actions convey. It asks whether things will be any different this year. Has humanity’s bout with chaos presented any alternatives worthy of unwrapping?

As an answer, the show offers opportunities for reflection and enquiring introspection. Here, you’ll encounter dangling tinselled sculptures, nostalgic family portraits, glittering lights and a pampas Christmas tree – traditional symbols reimagined by artists for a world that is compelled to move forward. The familiar in the new, evoking unexpected emotional responses to well-treaded cues.

The Spectacle presents fresh ways to charter such expression: an artwork that transforms itself into a cape; a canvas that becomes a self-playing soundscape; a ceiling that is actually a gallery wall. The exhibition takes you beyond simply looking at art. It lures you into feeling a woollen tapestry, lying on a mattress, wandering through illuminated archways, sinking in to a leather sofa, entering a carpeted bar, paging through a book, confronting your identity, grieving through your pain, moving to music...

In an environment stripped of pretention, The Spectacle portrays a spirited interpretation of celebration – both dark and light – be it through symbolic mourning in the monochromatic Death Room or through meditative contemplation in the laid- back Christmas-bed Room. Devoid of any religious scenes, it is through these immersive experiences alone that the traditional idea of Christmas emerges, as it is here that one is allowed to mourn and then resurface joyfully reborn.


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