Rich in content, Anguish and Enthusiasm aims to subject visitors into contemplating what fuels revolution and its consequences. Quite an ambitious exhibition in its offering, consisting of various mediums allowing room for thought. Entering the gallery I was greeted to Sarah Pierce’s Gag (2013), a collection of discarded items and waste from equipment and material which played a part in constructing the gallery space for Anguish and Enthusiasm. At first I wondered how exactly this connects to themes of revolution. Then I realised Anguish and Enthusiasm itself is a revolution, one of the mind to widen understanding of its revolutionary themes. This in itself is a powerful message as you become physically engaged with Anguish and Enthusiasm.
Anguish and Enthusiasm also contains a strong visual presence in enhancing our understanding of revolution. From Harry Eccleston’s etchings of industrial employees embodying a containment of quiet dignity of Industrial Revolution’s characteristics, The Graphic’s cover of a horrified revolutionaries’ last moments before death and Eoghan McTigue’s subjective Empty Sign and Empty Sign (TU). Each piece has underlying currents of revolution’s magnitude which do not fail to evoke.
Anguish and Enthusiasm’s evoking visuals reached higher proportions with the display of films particularly Pocas Pascoal’s intimate account of Angola’s civil war in There Is Always Someone Who Loves You (2003). Using personal footage and striking scenes of revolutions’ repercussions made it a fitting piece of the exhibition in educating spectators. More charmingly was Sandra Ramos’ Relay Race (2010), a simple feature of predominant figures in Cuban history undertaking a rely before the baton finished with Ramos, personifying herself as a metaphor of everyone must keep the ideals of their country in the right direction. Perhaps it will make spectators think of what they can contribute towards national interests.
Reflecting upon revolutions’ direction were two Andreas Bunte films Low Pressure and Artificial Diamonds (2013), both showing how the technologies and facilities built by GDR being used today contrasting with initial intentions questioning the stability of revolutions which topic continued with Chung Kuo, Cina (1972) observing the lives of working class Chinese people after the Cultural Revolution, accompanied with Chinese propaganda posters and Cultural Revolution artefacts including Mao’s Little Red Book. Though this may seem more appropriate as part of a museum rather than an art exhibition it is compatible to the aim in educating spectators. This along with the wealth of cinematic visuals open for spectators shows Anguish and Enthusiam’s sincerity in promoting the revolutionary theme.
The essence of Anguish and Enthusiasm’s sincerity can be summarised outside the Cornerhouse with the street mural Trust Your Struggle (2013), a dedication to police brutality victim Oscar Grant. Highlighted this injustice outside of the gallery and onto the street makes Trust Your Struggle direct and confrontational, unashamed of catching passers – by off guard with its message. To see injustice and awaken the public towards a revolution of the mind.
Anguish and Enthusiasm: What Do You Do With Your Revolution Once You’ve Got It ends 18th August – http://www.cornerhouse.org/art/art-exhibitions/anguish-and-enthusiasm-what-do-you-do-with-your-revolution-once-you%E2%80%99ve-got-it