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  • Provenance

    Team Gallery, New York

  • Exhibited

    New York, Team Gallery, The Ice Age, 11 November - 23 December, 2004; New York, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Greater New York, 13 March - 26 September, 2005

  • Catalogue Essay

    A burnt and functionless drum kit and unclimbable, mirrored wall form Banks Violette’s ode to Kurt Cobain. Here, stage, drums and backdrop – the props of a traditional rock concert – seem to have been caught suddenly in a flash fire, the band’s equipment left charred black and lifeless. The world over knows the story of the Nirvana frontman: martyred totem of teenage angst, crown prince of the unworthy, a superstar who dragged onstage inward turmoil over the big hair and glamour of decades past. Hate Them (Single Stage) and Untitled (Disappear) pick-up on what Violette has referred to as his need to reimbue meaning to overused pop iconography, particularly the clichéd symbols and tropes of the subcultures of death metal, gothic and disenfranchised youth:
    "My work proposes to analyze an event or phenomenon in a literary or operatic way. Mostly, I end up referring to things in the world that get read too easily or become miscues, models of information in transition. For example, murders related to heavy-metal culture are about an overt theatrical excess that gets literally enacted. When singing figuratively about killing turns into a literal command – I should really kill somebody – it becomes a miscue, ideally, I set up the same potential for misreading for the audience."
    (Banks Violette, quoted in Jan Tumlir, Artforum, October 2004)
    Violette is an artist whose work not only points to music but requires it as a sort of activation code. His infamous 2006 performance at Maureen Paley Gallery, London displayed the complete stage set of doom metal band SUNN 0))) cast in salt, while the musicians loudly played a set in a space hidden from the audience's view. The set-up provoked a deliberately thwarted connection between audience and performer, replicating the false intimacy in the rock god–fanatic dyad. Yearning for closeness and connection, the worshipper too closely literalizes the demands of his hero.
    Thousands of mourners made pilgrimage to Seattle in the days after Cobain’s suicide; some fans took their own lives. The tinted, epoxy resin backdrop and stage of the present lot reflect the viewer, inviting a (literal) projection of self onto the work and thus ‘onstage’ – conflating the frontman/viewer relationship, and forcing identification with that subculture for whom suicidal lyrics are read as directives, and death as the ultimate performative allegiance to rock ’n’ roll and its idols.


Untitled (Disappear)

Scaffolding poles, hardware, plywood and tinted epoxy resin.
244 x 244 x 87 cm (96 x 96 x 34 1/4 in).

£30,000 - 40,000 

Sold for £30,000

MUSIC - Evening Sale

10 December 2010