John Hurrell – 3 September, 2011
Yet Denny seems mesmerised by the capitalist ethos of this corporate community (most companies here being in Fortune 500 listings), almost thrilled by it. Alternatively his interest might be seen as a form of Warholian voyeurism, a titillation by the processes of making money, the mechanics and strategies of online global marketing.
Corporate Video Decisions
25 August - 1 October 2011
As Simon Denny exhibitions go this is a particularly immersive installation, the A4 printout and canvas panel-covered walls and projecting screens being used to examine two forms of video publication, one a hard copy magazine that appeared after the eighties share crash, and the other a much more recent website using videoed testimonials for selling a digital board portal that presents essential corporate information on the laptops of board trustees.
First of all, whatever the reasons Denny has for being fascinated by corporate marketing within its own community, his treatment of both these products is highly entertaining when it comes to splicing in allusions to painting methodology and stretchers - something understood by the art community.
For the magazine Corporate Video Decisions he has made double panelled canvases (repeated in cross-section, not as extended planes) one hidden behind the other and in the wide rectangular format of a modern plasma screen. On the front one he has an image of the original magazine cover and on its right that cover photographed as if on an old television /video screen, distorted to fit the old screen proportions and given the optical granular textures of that medium. To speak McLuhanese, the medium here is the massage and the message.
The stacked club-sandwiching effect of these ‘paintings’ alludes to easy mechanical repetition, the sequencing of events within art history, and art feeding off itself. On an oval table Denny has aligned a group of plasma screens between two suitcases referencing the other product examined in his show, Diligent Boardbooks, digital portals that replace paper folios and dossiers as information sources for board committee members.
He also has some single canvases projecting out from the wall in Perspex boxes. On these and covering the walls are printouts from the Diligent marketing site and screens displaying interviews from enthusiastic reference providers. Denny is obviously curious about the use of a hardcopy magazine to promote video and a site using video to plug a software programme - in times of recession to reach corporate clients. And fascinated about corporate power’s embracing of time-based media like video as a means of facilitating sales, a method that through computers has replaced face-to-face interaction and printed brochures.
Much of this installation involves the obsessive printing of documents from the various headings within the Diligent site and using them to make quite an overwhelming installation as they seem to cascade down the walls. Yet Denny seems mesmerised by the capitalist ethos of this corporate community (most companies here being in Fortune 500 listings), almost thrilled by it. Alternatively his interest might be seen as a form of Warholian voyeurism, a titillation by the processes of making money, the mechanics and strategies of online global marketing.
This is an intriguing, uncharacteristically sprawling exhibition that transforms the smaller inside Lett space, one that is comparatively clinical and a far cry from the warmth of Denny’s earlier more organic, slightly hippie projects. Yet surprisingly it works, is not too dry, and ends up being subtle in its possible critique of corporate banality and its asinine, excruciatingly bland representatives.
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