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Jonathan Meades' First Art Exhibition
John Doran , March 23rd, 2016 11:51

Inimitable TV man and word assembler versus the cultural lollipop ladies

Author and broadcaster Jonathan Meades has announced his first ever art exhibition, Ape Forgets Medication: An exhibition of Treyfs and Artknacks, which opens in London next month.

Meades has assembled a number of 'canvases' to be shown at the Londonewcastle Project, at 28 Rechurch Street, E2 7DP. The gallery will be open between midday and 7pm every day during April 7 - 27.

He has worked on these images in numerous ways including painting with "glib fists, mops, squeegees, sponges, even brushes; he employs froissage (a technique nicked from Ladislas Kijno), hyper-realist photography, digital manipulation, collage and, above all, chance."

The producer of premium television shows, usually dealing with themes of place and architecture, and author of such excellent books as An Encyclopedia Of Myself and Museum Without Walls has been exploring different creative avenues over recent years.

Last year he released the spoken word album Pedigree Mongrel on Test Centre as well as a collection of postcards, Pidgin Snaps.

A spokesperson for the gallery explained: "Ape Forgets Medication is [Meades'] first exhibition. The work it comprises is, like his prose, generally maximalist. It is also, no doubt, quite meaningless. He has a horror of explanation and an even greater one of manifestos, the artless moron’s medium of choice. Still, any plausible explanation of what it’s ‘about’ will be grudgingly rewarded.

"Treyf means that which is not kosher. Figuratively it signifies impurity – and Meades’s work in every medium is deliberately impure. The title of his box of postcards Pidgin Snaps was explicit. So too that of his record Pedigree Mongrel. He combines contradictory elements, he fuses opposing idioms, he conjures a rapprochement between apparently antagonistic precursors."

Referencing the concept of not knowing much about art but knowing what one likes, Chris Petit states in the catalogue essay: "Jonathan Meades is not afraid of what he likes, at a time when taste, and careers, are increasingly rounded, dictated, honoured and curated. Curators — culture’s lollipop ladies — guide the gormless spectator across the abyss of misapprehension, safe to the other side. Meades by contrast is caged beast: he knows we are all apes in the end, given to dressing up, prone to lapse. A broad career of print and performance conforms to the old dictate of never apologise, never explain — a laudably bloody-minded, even heroic stance in an age of abject apology, Mexican-style outpourings of national grief and obligatory breakdown on camera, where the interviewer’s first question is: tell us what you are feeling right now."

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