Monday, June 12, 2006

The Vomino Effect

Every time the world cup comes around one day during the event sticks in my mind for quite some time. Saturday was just that seminal world cup day, being an unapolagetic football fan I schedule my social life for 4 weeks every 4 years around the matches during the tournament. Unless you have been on a desert island you will know the result and possibly every kick, foul and save that happened between 2pm and 3.45pm on Saturday. During this time I was sat with my friends on their living room floor eating crisps and drinking beer and wincing with every dodgy refereeing decision and telling myself that a win is important and England’s sludgy performance is of no importance. Well we shall see…

Later that evening after a quick cycle down to Spitalfields we drank a coffee and watched a young lady celebrate England’s win (and ward off her burgeoning hangover) by cartwheeling her way down the street for quite a prodigious distance. Quite a performance and captured the attention of every person on the street and raised quite a cheer, if she had put a hat out for small change she would have paid for her days beer.

Shortly afterwards we strolled over to catch the opening of the latest and last show at Chapman Fine ARTS gallery at Fashion Street. From the top of the street we could see quite a crowd gathered and found a podgy bloke sat by a lamppost covered in lumps of stuff which looked like vomit, I later found out this was horseradish but the look was all you needed to know. Above him was a guy dressed as a jockey and gaffer-taped to the lamppost, in front of them on the road was a slick of what looked like red paint. I stepped round the liquid and made my way into the gallery. The gallery is hosting the large group exhibition “Right on, Write off” curated by Irene Bradbury, JJ Charlesworth, Mustafa Hulusi and Soraya Rodriguez, the work is dotted around Jake Chapman’s former house and gallery. Unfortunately due to the huge number of visitors I found it impossible to garner a real sense of the success of the show but several pieces are of note particularly the highly glossy enamel paint on a reclaimed triangular road sign, this is beaten up, bent and torn but with the clean, glossy white surface it is transformed into a thing of beauty. Another artist has recorded the night time activities of mice and rats in a space filled with a multitude of obstacles. One sequence of the video shows the laboured but skillful efforts of one of the rodents as he climbs a rope eventually reaching the top with much twitching and balancing of his tail as he achieves his goal. I noted whilst watching this sequence that any efforts of such hard work often appear to the outside observer as “the inevitability of failure” but in this case it was “the inevitably of success”, his achievement was never in doubt.
As for the other work, it was lost in a sea of humanity as every artist and hanger on in London drank free cider and gawped at the lovely David Adjaye designed house that the art was being shown in.
Outside we found a few friends also visiting the show, and then the red slick on the road was explained. A young lady was continuing an art performance in front of jockey and horseradish bloke by drinking large quantities of smoothies laced with vibrant food dye and vomiting the contents on to the street and onto her white t-shirt. Apparently she was attempting the colours of the rainbow one at a time and her stained t-shirts were lined up side by side. I remember seeing red, orange and green but what happened to the others I couldn’t tell you, the faces of those viewing being much more interesting than the young lady with her fingers down her throat.
A friend of a friend showed surprise at the lack of sympathetic vomiting by the viewing crowd as in normal cases a few might have been induced into doing the same with the stomach turning spectacle. He described this as “the vomino effect”.
Then I realised that despite my hayfever bunged nasal passages I was downwind from the unmistakable odour and went upwind to continue my bottle of free cider and catch up with some friends for the evening.
Indeed, the ending to a very memorable and fun filled, if slightly weird day.

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