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TRCH David Suchet

Art Works: Twenty Fifteen by Allan Binns

17 March 12 words: Allan Binns

"The studio floor is covered with snippets from fantastical comic books, holiday brochures and 1960s ‘gentleman’s special interest’ magazines"

“This is my ultimate fantasy: watching QVC with a credit card while making love and eating at the same time.”
Yasmine Bleeth

And this is Twenty Fifteen, the final image in a collection of postcard-sized fantasy collages I’ve been working on for eighteen months. For me, this is the single piece that articulates, most concisely, what I’ve been attempting to communicate since this project began.

The process of constructing these images is a simple one; no more than a game in which I, the artist, play the role of matchmaker. It all begins with a single striking image plucked from the blanket of many clippings that cover my studio floor. Once I have this focal image, the game begins, the story arcs and the search is on to find the cutting's soulmate. From here, more and more images are added until my quest for an aesthetic harmony has been satisfied.

The nature of this process often means that I spend hours, days, weeks in an environment adorned by escapist imagery, attempting to create these miniature worlds. The character I play in creating these works often parallels the sinister nature of the work itself, where the many singular images fuse to create a monstrous whole.

The entire project marks a change in direction from my past practice as a filmmaker, where I concerned myself with only the best depictions of truth and reality - a truly 'Dogma' way of being. Today, collage is my refrain from the draining and emotional process that once made up my filmmaking practice. This transition was not an easy one, initially leaving me questioning the work as naive or childish. However, it was Claus Oldenburg’s postcard collage Lipsticks in Piccadilly that affords me the justification I need to produce such technically uncomplicated works. It’s an image that has really stuck with me ever since we bumped heads in the Tate Liverpool all those years ago. Whilst witty (in its use of the phallic-shaped cosmetic to represent the apparent sexual throb/thrust of the Swinging Sixties Oldenburg was reacting to), it was the piece's innate simplicity and cocksure arrogance while surrounded by corridors of over-laboured works that has inspired me most.

Most fantasies are an amalgamation of several tangible yet desirable things, much like those listed by Ms Bleeth. In Twenty Fifteen I wanted to explore the idea of fantasy being constructed of many pleasurable elements and throw into question the experience of all of them at once. I just play the game and as it turns out, when your studio floor is covered with snippets from fantastical comic books, holiday brochures and 1960s ‘gentleman’s special interest’ magazines, the game (and probably my own unconscious and perverted agenda) will only let me produce this; a joke you’ll feel bad for laughing at…

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