A couple of friends and I meet over a period of time wanting to put on an exhibition since our departure from studying at Whitecliffe College of Arts & Design.
One of the members of our group, Veronika Djoulai, works part-time at an upmarket café in Remuera, in which is frequented by wealthy business men and women, and politicians. In amongst the magazines on offer to the café’s clientele to pursue at their leisure is The Lady. As stated on the magazine’s website, it is England’s longest running weekly magazine for women, and is ‘for elegant woman with elegant minds’.
Djoulai spotted an article with the tagline on the cover How to Mingle With The Super-Rich in the May 2014 edition while sorting magazines at work. Our group propose an exhibition using this article as a point of departure to respond to the tagline How to Mingle With The Super-Rich. The article and tagline, and magazine itself, bring up a range of issues and concerns that interest our group, these include:
- Media persuasion and distraction of the masses though poorly written ‘opinion’ pieces, and ‘lifestyle’ magazines both in print and online, through text and imagery.
- How such magazines and websites promote consumerism and materialism. Online versions are becoming more insidious than their historic print counterparts, as they promote consumerist trends under the guise of localisation, craft, DIY and environmental friendliness.
- Bad taste spending habits of the super-rich.
- Taking the piss out of the super-rich. Because its fun.
- The economic and social implications of the widening wealth gap between the super-rich and everyone else, as a natural result of neoliberal, so called ‘freemarket’, capitalist policies.
- The fact that as artists we are often dependant on the wealthy for grants and sales to maintain our visual arts careers.
For the show, I responded to superficial problems and complaints made by people living in the First World, targeting those who are ‘super rich’. I wanted to show just how trivial and frivolous problems can be when it is portrayed right at your face.
It’s an interactive work in which the audience is invited to pick up the containers and consume a tablet(s) to solve their ‘existing daily dramas’.
Ada Leung, First world problems and remedies (2015). Vitamin C tablets, plastic containers, acrylic mirror and coffee table, 830 x 760 x 760 mm. $500 full set, $40 per container.