Shotgun Review


By Matthew Harrison Tedford September 17, 2011

I once saw a documentary on Jeff Koons. Though I never gave much thought to Koons before watching the film, I held a vague and prejudicial negative reaction to the artist. I don't remember much about the film, but something about it made me appreciate Koons in a new light. Maybe it is Koons' irreverence towards the art world; maybe I find pleasure in knee-jerk postmodern rejections of postmodernism; or maybe I'm just an aesthetic nihilist, enthralled with the signifiers of late capitalism.

It is likely for one of these reasons that I enjoyed SuperDeux's (aka Sebastien Roux) exhibition, I WISH I COULD TALK, at Peek Gallery located in The Summit coffee shop in San Francisco. The brightly colored, cartoonish screen prints and sculptures make no reference, on first glance at least, to a transnational queering of the fundamentally alienating nature of the spectacle—this is refreshing and even subversive. Moreover, these works are just fun to look at. I like to look at things that make me happy. Sometimes I Google "funny pictures of bears" for no reason whatsoever. It's a delight; try it.

Don't you feel better now? Did the looming deadline on that budget report seem just a little less important for a second? Did your blood pressure drop just a tad? If you answered "no" to any of these questions, click the link again.

The focal point of I WISH I COULD TALK is Moody, a variously blue, pink, red, or yellow partially anthropomorphized fist. Moody has two feet and clenches a sharpened pencil with his four digits. Moody's face possesses two eyes, but no mouth. His pencil, however, seems to invalidate his expressed wish. The works are proof of the existence of non-vocal speaking; even without a mouth, Moody somehow speaks.

I Wish I Could Talk, Superdeux, Peek Gallery

SuperDeux. I WISH I COULD TALK; installation view, Peek Gallery, 2011. Courtesy of the Artist and Peek Gallery, San Francisco. Photo: Jeremy Brautman.

Aside from the works that prominently feature Moody, the gallery wall is adorned with wood panels screen-printed with geometric figures in solid primary colors, and characters that could be from any generic 1980s video game. The works are less Pop Art, and more pop—the distinction for me stems from the lack of perceived irony. These works genuinely embrace vibrancy and play as central to the human condition, no matter how "in" it is to reject humanity in art.

At any hour of the day, The Summit is a high tech sweatshop. Freelancers spend hours staring at lines of code or writing arts criticism, but the coffee shop is a more humane environment than an office. And as Moody and his other googly-eyed brethren cast playful and pop glares at the customers-cum-workers, all of these things that need to get done, for just a moment, appear as they truly are: utterly silly.



I WISH I COULD TALK is on view at Peek Gallery at The Summit, in San Francisco, through September 29, 2011.

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