Burn the Furniture to Heat the House | Joe Shaw

Preview: Fri 21 Feb 6-8 | Open: Sat 22, Sun 23 Feb & Sat 29 Feb 12-5

By on February 14, 2020

(DETAIL: The Second Gunman, 2019)

Preview: Friday 21st February 6pm – 8pm
Exhibition Opening Times
Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd February 12noon – 5pm
Saturday 29th February 12noon – 5pm

Burn the Furniture to Heat the House brings into relief the brief glimpse of stability that occurred between two defining moments: the fall of the Soviet Union and the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In this optimistic time, a disconnection formed between the precariousness of the world and ourselves, and we became complacent, imbued with a false sense of security. The sculptures in this exhibition are about the abrupt end of this complacency, the surge in ad hoc/insecure modes of living, a scrabble for resources, and the artists’ place within all this.

The exhibition parodies the contrived and fantastical way that film, TV and computer games imagine post-apocalyptic society. This is a collection of subtle vignettes lifted straight from the props department of an end-of-the-world disaster movie, cartoonesque approximations suggesting tools for survival in the wasteland. The objects play with this blurring of fiction and fact, exploiting the strange truth that things seen on a screen (filmic representations of objects/characters/histories/physics) are often more convenient, easier to digest than our own experiences of the world – or memories thereof.

Joe Shaw (born 1990, Mansfield, Notts) is an artist based in Newcastle upon Tyne who makes performative sculptures and installations. His works use recognisable, everyday objects and often plastic or low quality materials to comment on the mechanism of disposability built into post-millennium society. Shaw’s lo-fi aesthetic and materials draw attention to the increased precarity surrounding modes of employment, housing, politics and our natural environment. The sculptures are used as a vehicle to both scrutinise the art-world and spoof fragile masculinity using a language of dry wit and black humour.

Shaw’s previous exhibitions include: Autonomy, The Auxiliary, M’boro, UK (2019) | Les Boîtes, Suede Gallery, Edinburgh, UK (2017) | Ultra Sunrise, Set Bermondsey, London, UK (2017) | Like the Green Fig Tree, Workplace Gallery, Gateshead, UK (2017) | Transition, Haus Paula Becker, Bremen, DE (2016)