Michael Edwards

hyperboles are the worst thing ever

Programme Note

Humans exaggerate on a regular basis. Typical hyperboles might be "this bag weighs a ton", "I'm so hungry I could eat a horse", or any of the invariably (!) hilarious "Yo' mama so fat..." jokes. Perhaps even worse than footballers ("I hit the post. I was gutted") are artists. Have you ever sat silently suffering ("dying", anyone?) at a contemporary poetry reading, as the reciter over-emotes their way through a litany of subtexts we can summarise by "me, me, me! I'm so deep and clever!"? Such occasions often merely reinforce the popular perception of artistic outputs as being expressive of the creator's emotions. But that is less interesting than artworks' invitation to be social, communal, and at the same time introspect and inspect our personal, perhaps emotional reactions to intrinsically neutral objects:

When faced with a Nitsch picture of animal guts resting on a man's genital area, do we feel horror and offence or see the skin as a mirror, a symmetrical inversion of nothing more than what's behind the man's (and by implication our) skin at all times, sobering as that may be ("hello mortality!")?

Whilst on the subject of male genitalia, do Mapplethorpe's motor oil crotch smearings (accompanied by tight testicular ties) excite homophobic panic or amazement at the textures and play of light and shadow?

The choice (to grow) is ours.

So, at the risk of being called a Cretan, here's a piece without any emotional content whatsoever.