The Arts Show with Alex McCulloch- 4 October Merric Brettle and Steve Cox

This week on The Arts Show Alex McCulloch and co-host Steve Cox chats with artist Merric Brettle who’s exhibition ‘Hypno-pomp’ is currently on show at NKN Gallery.

We live in a complex, hyper-normal world, in which signs and signifiers are no longer helpful, or even believable. The digital age ensures that everything is instantly available to us. But this has come at a cost; how are we to decipher gold from gravel? How are we ever again to untangle truth from fiction when Truth has been co-opted by whomever decides to ‘own’ it and shape it? We are continuously presented an enigma, wrapped in a riddle.

The hyper-normal world envelopes us as if it were a self-fulfilling dream. Layer upon layer of directives and ‘meaning’ continually roll over us, until we are mere automatons, overwhelmed and stultified by its effects. Brettle asserts that it is essential that we wake up from this collective dream and step out of it in order to see it from the outside. “The institutions in society have become so powerful in their ability to control us, that even our opposition to them has been quantified, harnessed and redirected against us.”

“We are moving beyond a Post Modern condition”, the artist continues, “into what I would call a post-structuralist reading of a modern condition, because it talks about not only the way reality is constructed, but also the way that consciousness and being are constructed or manipulated within it.”

The title of the show, Hypno-pomp, refers, in psychology, to “the hypnopompic state of credulous dreaming cognition trying to make sense of real world stolidity” (Wikipedia), and the artist wants the images in the show to act as “the procession of images one sees when one awakes from a dream, as it would refer to ‘waking up’ within the collective dream of our hyper-normal condition.

The various smaller images within this exhibition are deconstructed samples gathered from the media: the artist refers to these as ‘cultural textures’, and these are set against larger images, which act as Brettle’spersonal perspective on that reality.

The viewer is invited to consider the artist’s perspective on a hyper-normal condition, as he explores and reconfigures parts of that culture itself. Thus, we witness the artist’s own personal attempt to ‘wake up’ in a hyper normal world.

It is now time for us all to wake up.

Steve Cox, 2017.