BEAGLES AND RAMSAY by Beagles and Ramsay
165 x 220mm, 28 pages, full colour printing, saddle stitched with fold over card stock cover - foil title, 2006.
Documentation from of Beagles and Ramsay’s work from the group show ‘What makes you and I different’ at Tramway, Glasgow in 2006. From the press release:
The use of the 'doppleganger', clone or twin is also an ongoing vehicle in John Beagles and Graham Ramsay's (UK, 1970, 1968) work to explore the seedy, unsavoury side of contemporary culture and the malaise of modern life. Since they first started working together in 1997, they have created many versions of themselves, perhaps as an exorcism of the unhealthy, the dark, the seedy, the selfish and cynical sides of their (and our personalities), so they/we can get on and live clean, optimistic, healthy lives... In Glitter Island ( 2006, sculpture/ installation, two monitors, two photographic prints), one of two new commissions for the exhibition, Beagles and Ramsay have created a mirage, a folly, a theatrical backdrop to images of themselves languorously draped over the 'sand' (via monitors), dressed in eighteenth century dandy-esqe costumes, the glittering gold surface seducing us and becoming almost hypnotically alluring. But all is not well on this paradise island...The arrogance of the poses and expressions on the faces mask an unease that the tide is already on the turn, that having reached this place of perfection and bliss, disintegration and decay is but a breath away, that the words they whisper to us in Latin have little currency or meaning for the viewer, that all that glitters is, indeed, not gold. The work explores the idea that we live in an increasingly superficial world, of 'spin' and media onslaught, the need for meaning and substance in our everyday lives increasingly competing with the meaningless follies of fashion and the cult of celebrity, created by the corporate machine and peddled by the media. And, with an ongoing interest in the presentation of art and the politics, mechanisms and myths surrounding the 'cult' of art and its production, we can surmise that Beagles and Ramsay's creation of this folly, this mirage of a 'place within a place', questions the purpose, validity and importance of art and the role of artists themselves.