Thug Life

Smart Project Space, Amsterdam
2002

Darren Almond, Craig Bell, Marco Cops, Mark Dean, Malachi Farrell, Martin Healy, Richard Menken, Roy Villevoye

exhibited works:
When I Was A Child (I Was ƒucked By Someone I Didn’t Know – Nothing Was Ever The Same. Now I Fear The Same Thing Will Happen To My Child; Sometimes I Fear I Will Do It Myself)

gallery information:
THUG LIFE is the acronym for The Hate U Give Little Infants Fucks Everyone, once etched across the stomach of the exalted dead rapper Tupac Shakur. A sort of prince of paupers, Shakur is the conflicted metaphor of buoyant hopefulness and the desperate hopelessness that marks the outer perimeters of our existance. Despite competing discourses he embraced and exposed the tragedies of the ghetto to a global audience, with a pronouncedly social and political bent. A generation of disenfranchised youth have been shaped by problems of the inner city, of relocation and growing up in poverty, simultaneously embracing destructiveness and resistance.In the effort to validate ones existence, the edifying and the terrifying pull in two different directions – one constructive and empowering, the other hedonistic and nihilistic. The exhibition departs at this intersection, with works of art that dare to wrestle with the beautiful and uneasy questions of existence and human frailty.

catalogue:
Thug Life, SMART Papers, ISSN 1381-5822

[extract]

Presented modestly on a monitor in the corner of one space, Mark Dean’s chilling video work lasting eight hours – the hours of sleep – acutely questions paternal love and tenderness and then leaves it vulnerable. With a deep sense of integrity, Dean transgresses boundaries, touching upon certain taboos and primal anxieties. The mute video entitled When I Was A Child (I Was ƒucked By Someone I Didn’t Know – Nothing Was Ever The Same. Now I Fear The Same Thing Will Happen To My Child; Sometimes I Fear I Will Do It Myself) forces his audience to question themselves by awakening and stirring fears inside. A haunting grainy black and white image of a father looking at his young daughter becomes imprinted in one’s memory. Dean looks unflinchingly at what is, and what man does within the dimensions of his own solitude, daring to wrestle with the beautiful and uneasy questions of existence and human frailty.

– Una Henry


Documentation: