Jexus. In his paintings Russel connects the ecstatic scream of the Madonna, or saints on the cross to the ecstacy of shit and meat rather than the divine, the animalistic primitivity of the anus to the organizing civilized functions of the face.
‘This is the representation of a crucifixion on an alien planet. Of a deep-space pilot who wakes to find herself nailed to a cross. The details of how this happened are unclear. She remembers she was lying on her bunk considering the nature of surplus value … now her ship is long gone … light years away. Two other people are crucified here but there is no audience. No witnesses of this enactment of a cliché … neither a sacrifice nor a prophesy.
It may seem ridiculous to claim that the ecstatic scream of the Madonna, or saints on the cross is connected to the ecstacy of shit and meat rather than the divine but that is exactly what will be claimed here. Not shit specifically or anality, but “O” as the opening (out) of a throat or tunnel. The shit and anus are still key however, in the way they are used in Bataille’s analyses of the ‘dazzling brilliance’ of apes’ anuses “…the enormous anal fruit of radial and shit-smeared raw pink meat” which he contrasts with the ‘blossoming of the human face’. The animalistic, primitivity of the anus compared to the organizing civilized functions of the face (faciality). As an o-pening up as a hole, or extruded as O-O-O-O-O into a tube or tunnel. Or “O” as an opening out onto infinity as ZERO; or as a mouth splitting open the face, opening it backwards to ‘mammal meat’ and noise. A journey into “O” – either the “o” of PORN or some other word like “freedom” or “revolution” – or as the connection to other “O”s - and through these to still further examples.'
Excerpt of the essay written by John Russell to accompany the exhibition JEXUS and available online at: http://www.john-russell.org/Spring.html
John Russell was born in 1963; he lives and works in London. He was co-founder of the artists’ group BANK, of which he was a member for ten years participating in over fifty exhibitions and events and a range of publications. Since leaving BANK in January 2000, John Russell has worked both independently and collaboratively to produce exhibitions, publications as artworks and curatorial projects.
Selected previous exhibitions include: After Shelley Duval 67, Maccarone, New York, 2010; Public Sculpture, Frieze Art Fair, Sculpture Park, London, 2010; The Dark Monarch: Magic and Modernity in British Art, Tate St Ives, 2009; Ocean Pose, Matt’s Gallery, London, 2007; The Visible and the Expressible: Flesh Doesn’t Travel Well These Days, Transmission Gallery, Glasgow, 2005; Becks Futures II in collaboration with Fabienne Audéoud, ICA, London, 2001. In addition, he has edited and designed three books Frozen Tears 1-3, (Article Press, 2003-2007) and written for publications such as Frieze and Mute Magazine.
Opening 18th May 6-9 PM
Rue Vandenbrandenstraat 1, 1000 Brussels, Belgium