Notes on Neo-Camp at Office Baroque aims to explore some contemporary artists’ interpretations of Camp. The idea for the exhibition arises from Chris Sharp‘s reading of the so-called “Neo-Camp”, an ambivalent aesthetics of sublimation/de-sublimation able to recognize and, at the same time, to put into play some codes of today culture.
The show features a selection of paintings, photos, sculptures and installations of thirteen artists as Matthew Brannon, Tom Burr, Mathew Cerletty, Talia Chetrit, Martin Soto Climent, Anthea Hamilton, Sanya Kantarovsky, Allison Katz, Ella Kruglyanskaya, Paul Lee, Daniel Sinsel, Ricky Swallow and Camilla Wills, mainly based in the Western capitals of art, New York and London.
All the artworks exhibited share a propensity toward sensuality, both erotic -like in the inviting man by Anthea Hamilton – and plastic -like in the curvy bodies depicted by Ella Kruhlyanskaya. At the same time, the bright colours and the composure of the artworks – the luminescent flowers by Mathew Cerletty or the almost immobile winter view by Allison Katz – seem to recall a mannered not at all natural world. The fully coded style of the artworks, according to Chris Sharp, evokes an aesthetic sublimation that reminds Victorian Era. Most scholars, like Susan Sontag, agree to consider this epoch as the birthplace of Camp. The connection with Victorian Era, however, is not merely nostalgic. The artworks embody an ironic self-aware sense of artifice but, at the same time, cannot resist to its perpetuation. Daniel Sinsel’s luscious chocolate bar looks absolutely factitious; nevertheless, it continues to seduce the viewer. It’s a desublimation of the sublimated, in other words it’s Neo-Camp.
- Anthea Hamilton, Karl Lagerfeld Bean Counter, 2012. Courtesy of Office Baroque, Antwerp.
- Notes on Neo-Camp, installation shot at Office Baroque, Antwerp, 2013