An Exhibition of Drawings and Sculptures by Fiona Robertson
tit-bits… a pleasing bit of something, a morsel, this and that; a title borrowed from the infamous, though shortlived British magazine of the 1880s, which collated for her readers a selection of informative snippets, jokes, and stories. To the millions who read them each week, these tit-bits were a source of light entertainment. To the generation of modernist writers who reached adolescence during the magazine’s peak, they were the epitome of low culture, a sure sign of the degradation of society at the hands of the masses….tit-bits…the rag that Joyce’s Leopold Bloom paws over while squatting at his privy.
tit-bits… the stuff from which these drawings and sculptures are made: the detritus of the everyday; half-forgotten conversations, misformed impressions, shards of clothing, broken mobile phones. Here is the ugliness of the mundane; the farce of modern consumer culture. Ugliness binds the work to a long lineage of the grotesque in art, a lineage that, Mikhail Bakhtin observed, possesses a critical dimension wherever it appears. In its ability to parody and debase, the grotesque can reverse hierarchical structures and subvert the value systems of the society from which it emerges – a process that Bakhtin saw at work in the carnivalesque, where the grotesque was employed by popular culture – or where, perhaps, popular culture was employed by the grotesque.
tit-bits… amusing, perhaps absurd, glimpses at life. For all their apparent horror these figures are nonetheless funny, retaining the ability to provoke laughter. This humour flows from a preoccupation with the body’s margins, where the base functions and vulnerabilities of our physiques emerge, avoided but inevasible. Mouths, noses, breasts, and stomachs are variously amplified, distorted, twisted out of, or into, shape – yet the sum of the artifice reveals a more fundamental truth. What appears from the fragments and the mockery and the degradation are fragile, singular beings, conceits, pretensions and indignities laid bare.
Images below are of some of the sculptures, dimensions approx width 10cm depth 4-6 cm and hieght 40-65 cm
A poster publication was made as part of his project.The text is The text on the Poster is from Jean Debuffet’s exhibition catalogue, at the Galerie René Drouin, Paris 1947 entitled: “Les gens sont bien plus beaux qu’ils croient. Vive leur vraie figure. Portraits.” “People are much more beautiful than they think. Celebrate their true figure.Portraits.”