Anxiety Generation – Trebuchet Magazine
Talking loud and saying nothing, the vocabulary of the Anxiety Generation as described by artist Stuart Semple, uses pop-media to describe real fears via layered abstraction.
What is at stake here is objectification of real people through technicolour violence and sex, within which the subtleties, moderation and progress of most people’s lives become mediocre. Quoting the fictional id Tyler Durden from Fight Club Semple reflects:
Man, I see in Fight Club the strongest and smartest men who’ve ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see it squandered. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables – slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our great war is a spiritual war. Our great depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars, but we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.
This is the emotional hinterland that underpins the exhibition. The Anxiety Generation simultaneously expresses and hides itself through media messages. Semple’s painting takes lyrics from pop songs or twisted quotations, using the ubiquity of these phrases to describe issues, but at the same time evading any individual identification. But what are we seeing here: Semple on Semple, or Semple on Society?