August 22

TAINTED LOVE

Anni Doyle Wawrzynczak performs Tainted Love

Jordana Bragg Love Poem

Angus McGrath performance

Jordana Bragg and David Broker

Last Friday night and the opening of Tainted Love was just a bit special, turning as you might expect, into a veritable love fest. Before, there had been a lot of enquiries about how the legendary song might be woven into the celebration. Tainted Love has been an iconic anthem for three generations of youth culture appearing at roughly 20 year intervals; Gloria Jones, 1964, Soft Cell, 1981 Marilyn Manson, 2001. With each new iteration the song became increasingly subversive and associated with subcultures who identified as outsiders on the edges of main stream society. Firstly, the African American women of the swinging 60s followed by emergence of Queer bands in the 80s such as Soft Cell, Bronski Beat and Culture club who challenged the patriarchal grip on modern music. Soft Cell’s staccato synthesiser version (my generation) blasted from the global night club, a space where easy love and casual sex might be found. Marilyn Manson ramped up the subversive sexuality of Tainted Love invading “not another high school party” with an atmosphere of perverse and uncompromising eroticism.

And so it was that – an unannounced Anni Doyle Wawrzynczak wearing a black veil and stunning Annette Görtz ensemble sang a smoky arcapella version at the opening. Anni was followed by Jordana Bragg who read a Love Poem and then Angus McGrath dressed in the ragged garb of Freddy Krueger performed with voice manipulation and noise. The performances reflected the exhibition’s elegant arte povera and made for a great start to a beautiful evening. With six artists presenting diverse and not always palatable views of love, Tainted Love is a challenging but rewarding exhibition – if we do say so ourselves! Jordana Bragg’s provocative video installation with mirror ball and disco lighting bleeds her Instagram account @jordanabragg into the gallery exploring a language of androgynous charisma through a series of rich visual vignettes. With urns or vessels reminiscent of those that depicted everyday life in ancient Greece Nathan Nhan explores the ‘songs’ of love and its endurance in popular culture. Troy_Anthony Baylis’s Emotional Landscapes imagine with kisses, the lands of his Jarwoyn ancestors. Angus McGrath turns to Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985) and its notorious “gay subtext”. In which we see Gus crawl into Freddy’s punctured jumper representing the hideous sexual body that burst from the movie’s hero with brutal murderous intent. Suzanne Treister’s Post Surveillance Art takes the piss out of the idea of ‘post internet art” with a series of downloadable works that have some disturbing implications for love and privacy in the 21st century. Karena Keys in a way sums up the entire exhibition with two magnificent pieces of abstract sculpture hanging precariously in the gallery. Karena’s ethereal works give solid but fragile form to love.

Suzanne and Troy-Anthony were sorely missed at the opening, both being in London and we hope together.

Don’t miss this one ! At CCAS Galleries Gorman Art Centre until October 12.

Karena Keys and Raquel Ormella

Anja, Bryan and Gus

Nathan Nhan and Jordana Bragg

Sean, Luna and Brenda

Karena and Anni (with Karena’s work If I had a heart 2019)

Kael, Grace and Ben

Rebecca, James and Anni

Gordon, Clara and Jessica