Depiction

Art for oil; protest and dystopianism


St Pauls – a late afternoon plunge, from Flooded London, 2009 by Squint Opera, a series imagining London in 2090.

The 2010 Art For Oil Diary is available now, price £5, full of illustrations like Squint Opera’s depiction of a man diving into the flooded ruins of St Paul’s Cathedral in a London flooded by rising waters. It’s a good snapshot of art as agitprop, containing works by Peter Kennard & Cat Picton PhillippsBeehive CollectivePedro Inoue and the Ultimate Holding Company.

If you want to argue that agit-prop strenghtens the resolve of the converted and increases the distance between them and those whose minds really do need to change then this is a casebook study, but hey, as a mass of work it does have real energy. The works that don’t beat you over the head with visions of a dystopian future often work better, like UHC’s trees breathe, ads suck taken from their Spring Shrouds series, originally commissioned by agit-comedian Mark Thomas, in which the Manchester collective covered 100 ad shells with plain white shrouds.

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology