POPPOSITIONS is an annual assembly in Brussels of galleries, artist initiatives and project spaces. More than an art fair, POPPOSITIONS encourages new, experimental and innovative approaches to the art market. It is both a curated exhibition and an ongoing critical dialogue.
The 8th edition of POPPOSITIONS will revolve around the term “woke” and how its mainstream popularity and increasing application intersects with corporate and capitalist structures. The idea of being woke and wokeness concerns raising social awareness, taking actions in response to dominant paradigms, acknowledging one’s privileges towards understanding the struggles of others, and giving space to social bodies that have been silenced, unacknowledged and underrepresented. With the forthcoming edition of POPPOSITIONS we want to think collectively about what responses and forms of resistance can be formulated when ideologies have become trendy and woke-washing brands cash in on social justice.
Jamie Fitzpatrick's works presented excessive examples of ‘properness’ from a transgressive collection of privileged forms of beauty, power and oppression. A group of fifteen new works demonstrated the artist’s move from wax to alpha plaster, paint pigments and gold leaf. Their rough and incomplete finish suggests a collection of maquettes; a mass of ‘proposals’ for unrealised statues and monuments to a false utopia of capitalistic and colonial ideals.
These new works were accompanied by Fitzpatrick’s wax, animatronic and audio work ‘until you see the whites of their eyes’ (2018). Drawn from colonial films that glorify white heroes who have defeated, either in battle or morally, a non-white ‘threat’, this sculpture has traumatically torn faces whilst childishly singing and moving. The piece was exhibited in the group exhibition ‘Hope is Strong’, alongside artists including Ai Weiwei and Jeremy Deller, at Sheffield Museum in 2018.
The works were arranged in the style of Neoclassical and early 20th century Third Reich sculptor’s ateliers and the cast rooms. Condensed into the centre of the space so that the claustrophobic display provokes a sense of intimidation. Through this type of display, the myriad forms of the sculptures began to function as obstacles, rather than objects. This intended on playing with the power dynamic between the viewer and the artwork.