17.09.2010 — 22.10.2010
A go-go dancer’s cage sitting on a loudspeaker, a table with an amplifier, another table spiky with microphones, a platform with a whole range of stage props underneath, a promontory trying to look like the prow of a ship. Five Songs comes in the shape of a chorus of five strange little orange, black and white stage-modules available for any/every performance or art idea. Five worlds to be appropriated by anyone ready to join in the game with a guitar. Five potential songs named in advance by Martin Kersels with the generous nonchalance that characterises his work as a whole. He wants them loud (Loud Song), domestic (Family Song), sung (Sing Song), composite (Stuff Song) and nautical (Ship Song). So anyone who feels like it can grab the mike and perform this predicted cacophony anyway he likes. And there’s plenty of scope for bringing a personal touch to these five singles in progress. Shown at the Whitney Biennial in New York this year, the installation was also the stage for a set of theatre experiments put on by the artist throughout the event. In creating a means of hosting other art ideas he’s making play with his own status as artist and producer, obeying a 100% West Coast rationale of sharing and collaboration, in the wake of Paul McCarthy and also Chris Burden, whose assistant he was. Then there’s the deliberately messy look of Five Songs, an improbable assemblage of found and homemade objects that sets the Kersels approach squarely in the Appropriationist tradition. Obviously there’s something voracious in the work of a 120-kilogram dude who looks much more a candidate for a chiliburger in downtown LA than for petits fours in some fashionable quarter of Paris. Kersels deals in a jumble of suburban teen culture, the music and movie businesses, the atom bomb, dreams and much, much more. And with no ranking or differentiation. Five Songs is the product of the fantastic freedom that governs the sacrosanct High/Low Culture dichotomy when the good ole boys get together for a beer.