Eddie Peake at The White Cube.
Where were the pigs, weed and DC shoes……..?
Are you not entertained? People Just Do Nothing….(Comedy series on BBC3) Lets laugh at caricatures of people who have no voice, and no means of being able to defend themselves. Make it even funnier because the majority of the middle class viewers will never have experienced anything like this and can’t comprehend the underlying desperation. Concrete Pitch….. a superficial view of estate life. Exploitative perhaps? Remembering the 90’s Drum and Base scene in a pink haze with an artist seemingly trapped in a building perpetually performing to a slightly bemused audience has taken this to another level I fear. I love Drum and Base so the opportunity to tune into the show and listen and watch the DJ imprisoned like a goldfish in a bowl spinning disks was a perfect way to view the work for me. I remember Kool FM well and we all knew people who played on it and went to various nights they held. This part of the show was invigorating for me. It set the scene and delivered an immediate emotional hit right back to my 20s. Was it Millennial Pink tinted glasses I was looking through?
The pile of boxing magazines in his ‘cage/office’ began to make me think about Francis Bacon, especially when it was paired up with the naked dance routine piece. I know Peake made a performance of naked 5 a side football which was intended to make you realise the homoerotic elements of professional football. To be a professional footballer is also the ambition of many young men from a working class background. Clever that was indeed and we all agreed it may well have been a calculated publicity stunt in his last year at The Royal College but at who’s expense? I saw echoes of this piece reverberating around the room. I was initially extremely curious about this show as it was describing the scene in Finsbury Park where he grew up and I thought it might have something ‘real’ to say about the culture of the time. It was visually very optimistic, a sentiment which unfortunately many of the people living on estates blighted by drug related crime really don’t share. No fluffy millennial pink nightclubs for them. The places I remember were in disused or just about standing buildings that were dark smelly and quite creepy if you were on a come down. The atmosphere’s were edgy and the culture was unmistakably dominated by young males so the homoerotic thing had some relevance. There was little or no chance of anyone of them getting into The Royal College of Art so they expressed themselves through electronic music made in their houses. Some of the music made during this period is brilliant and was ground breaking. It was a scene that when you were in it was even more hierarchical than the RCA! These DJ’s were Gods. White label records were king. Is this what Peake is trying to play up to?
Performance is definitely Eddie Peake’s thing. His presence in the room has similarities to Joseph Beuys’s ‘I love America and America likes me’ but Peake’s performance didn’t have any of the political or social gravitas and generally I felt it was superficial by comparison.
The corridor encouraged to you leave the exhibition but as you emerge you are offered a pink pill and a blue pill. Blue you leave, pink you stay. I chose to stay and was sucked back again. Consuming and being consumed by the ‘culture’ simultaneously.
I didn’t know who Eddie Peake was before I went to this show. I had assumed that he would have really experienced the scene he was commenting on but I’m not completely convinced he did following conversation with Mark and Brian who filled us in of the lineage. Never the less it was appropriate in the context of the Whitecube and it was a visually exciting show that delivered a clever combination of Peake’s many talents but it was the biggest comedown I’ve had in decades!