Despite these shades of nostalgia, Merlin Carpenter’s gesture nonetheless seems deeply cynical; the exhibition’s title, ‘A Roaring Rampage of Revenge’, for instance, hints at the intensity and anger behind the works. Like Martin Kippenberger, whom he assisted as a young artist in Cologne, Carpenter is committed to painting as a conceptual device. And yet the fact that he relies on stretched canvases as his tool of critique demonstrates a dedication to art and its histories that transcends his acid commentary and deep distrust of a contemporary art scene defined by the next hot young artist, the indistinguishable group show and the vapid press that edifies and promotes it.
In a way Carpenter is the ultimate insider artist, creating work filled with so many internal references that it has currency only for those who already agree with him.
source: frieze magazine/Issue 97 March 2006 - Katie Sonnenborn
Ballard In Narnia (07:15)
event video: Heather Power, xtra stills: Nathalie Ahbeck
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