Your Answer is Mine
30 August – 8 October 2006
...First came the person, then came the system, that is the way it used to be. Now society produces and the person consumes. Everyone can criticise, strike out, demystify and suggest reforms, but such action must remain within the system; no one is permitted to be free. (...) While rejecting consumer society (the artist) discovers they are a producer. Freedom is an empty word. The artist is tied to history, or better, perhaps, to the programme, and exits from the present. (...)
[Germano Celant, Arte Povera, Notes for a Guerilla War, 1967]
For his first solo exhibition at Matt’s Gallery and first solo exhibition in London, David Osbaldeston will present a large scale soft-ground etching on paper made specifically for a billboard structure within the gallery space. Using a labour intensive medium within the framework of advertising, he creates an awkward dialogue between the production and distribution of visual culture.
Long since confined in any commercial sense to the dustbin as a form of image making, the hand-made etching presents itself as an outmoded technology. In an ideological battle of inappropriate wills between the hand-made and mechanically produced; like some bastard little brother of punk king Jamie Reid's visual lexicon, or re-articulation of Tristan Tzara's agitprop. A series of highly subjective reflections and observations fill the yawning surface of a billboard to produce a forced marriage of inconvenience. The laboriously hand-produced images form to complete a single massive etching of a photocopy of a drawing of a collage, rendered in black and white as an image of an image. The authority and logic of design is interrupted by digressive voices, as appropriated artworks appear as cameos, interspersed with an obsessive culture of pie charts and accountability - explored as construction, as fiction.
David Osbaldeston's work is concerned with the production of art and its positioning and reception, both within the gallery tradition and the structures that surround it. His ongoing publishing project Stellar uses drawing, collage and text to produce a critical response to the work of artists and galleries. In Your Answer is Mine obsolete visual languages that once penetrated the public consciousness are recalled as posters and pamphlets form reference points in an advertising copywriters' allusion to describe what it might mean to maintain a radical view in order to affect one.