Warren Feeney – 18 October, 2011
While this exhibition may appear to be burdened by metaphors, narratives, social commentary, symbolism etc, Enberg’s layered allusions sit comfortably in conversation with one another. It is subtle and smart enough to retain the wackiness of the iconography of the traditional Warner Brothers cartoon and consider more serious concerns about art's value and the state of the human condition.
Who deflated Roger Rabbit?
8 October - 22nd October
Who deflated Roger Rabbit? The immediate answer is that it was Oscar Enberg in a series of new works that are a reminder of a movie that redefined the relationship between the real and the virtual world of the Hollywood cartoon in the late 1980s. Although Disney may have integrated cartoon characters into the real world in The Three Caballeros in 1944, Robert Zemeckis and Steven Spielberg’s Who Framed Roger Rabbit? made the joyful fantasy of the cartoon and reality, one and the same creature. It’s a great metaphor for the ambitions and desires of humanity in the 21st century and one that Enberg holds with as much affection as he does suspicion and scepticism.
In Who deflated Roger Rabbit? Enberg’s party balloons have been punctured, the bubble gum popped and the furniture seems like the twisted remains of a bad day at home with Baby Herman. Who deflated Roger Rabbit? is an exhibition that shifts back and forth from eulogy to a favourite childhood movie to innuendoes about impotence and a critique of the vacuousness of a consumerism run rampart in the 21st century. And while this may set off danger signs that this exhibition is burdened by metaphors, narratives, social commentary, symbolism, etc, etc, in this instance, Enberg’s layered allusions sit comfortably in conversation with one another. This show is subtle and smart enough to retain the wackiness of the iconography of the traditional Warner Brothers cartoon and consider more serious concerns about the value and role of art and the current state of the human condition.
That why the dysfunctional sculpture that makes up Partial Deflation Décor has weird gold pipes springing from one side, looking as though its been torn from the wall and is scanning the gallery from all directions trying to locate the culprit who has done it harm. Yet, this is hardly a work of art seeking to elicit the kind of humour in which cartoon characters become larger than life as they are mutilated by anything in sight that is thrown, dropped or detonated within their strike range. Rather Partial Deflation Décor keeps shifting the gallery visitor’s perceptions of its intentions; sculpture, deconstructing art object, social/political comment and back to its mundane reality as a here-and-now object in an art gallery that knows it is promising more than it is ever going to deliver on.
And it is not alone in its admission of defeat. Orientated gracefully down the length of the gallery wall, Line Reduction (7% off), is well titled, welcoming the visitor to Enberg’s exhibition with a promise of reducing expectation from the moment of entrance.
You cannot help but feel that Enberg is his harshest critic. If Who deflated Roger Rabbit? is addressing issues around all our desires, Enberg seems to be equally critical of the context of objects in an art gallery as a vehicle for revealing such issues and intentions. Deflated, colourful party balloons and skewed brackets and wall shelves are all rendered useless, reformed as curious art objects. These are works grounded in narratives familiar to any cartoon inhabited by characters that know that all their best intentions are going to meet with disaster. Enberg seems entirely conscious that Who deflated Roger Rabbit? is ultimately a question, best and obliquely answered by Warner Brother’s sign-off phrase: That’s all Folks!