For our participation at Independent Brussels 2017 we are pleased to present a solo project by London-based artist Michael Pybus (1982, UK). Sampling from a multitude of sources, Pybus reimagines contemporary culture by remixing the icons, brands and franchises which permeate our lives. The artist explores the ‘ attening’ out of history into an eternal present that is accelerated by our increasingly virtual environment. He creates ‘Frankenstein’ hybrids which appear reassuringly familiar yet decidedly warped. Context and genre collapse into parallel worlds where you may nd Warhol rubbing up against Pikachu as Hokusai’s Wave crashes down on Super Mario.
Pybus openly acknowledges the art world as a high end commercial scene where artworks such as paintings are approached as luxury goods and used as backdrops to his installations that take the form of mass consumer merchandising. From clothing collections he has co-designed and produced, to complete IKEA furniture showrooms which he transfers into the gallery space, his installations blur the boundaries between high, low and everything in between.
For Independent, Pybus has made a series of new works that developed from his major scale exhibition at our gallery earlier this year. A sculptural intervention of modi ed sneakers re ect his ongoing investigation into obsessive consumer culture and product fetishization. The sculptures on show sample art history references with pop culture images, adding Pybus’ typical, present-day irony also visibly in his paintings. The Kick series references Warhol’s known camou age paintings, while New Wave conveniently plays with the iconic power of Hokusai imagery.
The sneaker sculptures are presented on yellow IKEA LACK tables, iconic because of their democratic presence. The visitor can sit in the latest sofa model of the IKEA PS 2017 collection. The use of IKEA furniture is a reoccurring motif within Pybus’ practice. IKEA has succeeded to develop a brand that has been placed in homes of every social and economic level, creating a visual democracy of consumer goods. The audience is invited to enter a domestic space which is intimate yet generic, set within the context of a public commercial environment.