A Place Beyond Belief at Haunch and Venison

posted by Bridget on 27 September 2012

Politics and art are often uncomfortable bed fellows but Nathan Coley's new exhibition may be an exception.

"Art has nothing to do with clarity, does not dabble in the clear and does not make clear" said Samuel Beckett. But in his show "A Place Beyond Belief", Nathan Coley attempts to use art to make clear his hope and aspiration for a better place. This is a manifesto for the creation of a society that has no allegiance to particular causes, faiths or politic colours, but is founded on a faith in humanity in all its individual and collective guises.

Writ large in neon A Place Beyond Belief is a quote from a New Yorker, who on the tenth anniversary of the September 11th attacks, used the phrase to communicate her hope for the future of the city and its inhabitants.

It acts as a rallying cry as elsewhere in the exhibition, Coley has obliterated and obscured people's public declarations, either by showing them out of context or by concealing key parts of their message.

Much of the exhibition centres on the use of editorial images, taken from the internet, of public demonstrations and gatherings, some political, some funerial. On all the photographs Coley has overlaid any words with gold leaf. His hope in obscuring the message, words and language is to remove the concept of competing ideologies. Leaving us instead with anonymous groups of people gathering together on the city streets.

Nathan Coley

Coley's hope is we will look at the people and understand them through their humanity first instead of marking them out through the divisions of protest and difference.

A Place Beyond Belief runs to 3rd October at Haunch and Venison

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