Edward Burtynsky, Common Culture, Alexander Gerdel, Richard Hughes, Melanie Jackson, Louise Lawler, Hans Op de Beeck, Wang Qingsong, Julian Rosefeldt, Santiago Sierra, Larry Sultan, Brian Ulrich, Andy Warhol
A fascination with popular culture and commodity aesthetics has a long history within fine art. While much artwork produced in this area concerns itself with the allure and celebration of commodities as objects of desire, relatively little attention had been given to the examination of the processes of production and consumption of these commodities. Variable Capital brought together artists, many of them international and exhibiting in a regional UK venue for the first time, whose work interrogated these processes and the human experience and costs underpinning consumerism.
Exhibition - 23 May - 29 June, 2008
Variable Capital was the second exhibition in the new gallery space following its opening in 2008. It was temporarily suspended due to a fire at the Bluecoat which meant the arts centre had to close for a short period, so the exhibition was not allowed its full run.
Event - Bouncers, 13 June 2008
Accompanying the exhibition, a live programme included Bouncers by Common Culture, for which fifteen bouncers were hired to adopt and maintain a confrontational geometric configuration in the gallery for the duration of the exhibition’s opening night. At the same time, the bouncers were disempowered, subject to the look of the art crowd, becoming a spectacle – setting up a dialectical tension between the live work and its viewers.