Golden tigers carrying neon letters rotate slowly next to an aluminium disco hut, which sits in a shallow pool of milk. Walking into ‘The Inconsistency of Everything’ at the New Art Exchange, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d walked into a Dali dreamscape.
As trippy as Harminder Singh Judge’s work first appears, together the collection of seemingly discordant elements create a very succinct biographical comment. His work is about the meeting of east and west in the clash of religious iconography with mass culture. He mixes elements of Indian folklore with western mythologised perceptions of the east, and comments upon the performance of religion in the west- that is, the displacement of worship in English secular society, from religion to celebrity culture.
For example, the 10ft black be-tongued face that watches over me as I write this pays homage to Kali, the destructive and mischievous Hindu goddess who is painted on abodes in Judge’s ancestral home town in India, as well as Kiss front man, Gene Simmons. The similarities between the reverence with which we treat these alternative types of icon resounds around this impressive gallery space.
One of the most successful things about the exhibition is curator, Michael Forbes’ decision not to include labels around the exhibition. It often frustrates me watching people spend 15 minutes reading a label, and then 30 seconds looking at a whole room full of art objects. As a result, you may, like me, spend a long time thinking: ‘I am in the head of a madman’, but at least you’ll be thinking. I still haven’t figured out the tigers….
The Inconsistency of Everything ends on Saturday 3 July 2010.