15 January – 27 February 2010
The title for Ceri Hand Gallery’s inaugural 2010 exhibition is taken from the song “Spasticus Autisticus,” penned by the legendary Ian Dury of the band Ian Dury and the Blockheads. Curated by Jota Castro & Christian Viveros-Fauné.
Wikipedia records the following entry about “Spasticus Autisticus”:
“Spasticus Autisticus” was actually written in 1981 for the International Year of Disabled Persons. It was a cross between a battle cry and an appeal for understanding. The song’s title was deliberately provocative, as the word Spastic (a name for sufferers of cerebral palsy) was becoming taboo in Britain, due to its use as a derogatory term. Despite the fact that Dury was himself disabled (from polio, rather than cerebral palsy), the BBC deemed it offensive to polite sensibilities and denied it airplay, only confirming the validity of Dury’s uncompromising lyrics.”
A launching off point for an exhibition that underscores the oddball, frankly abnormal and “special” (as in “Special Olympics” special) qualities of artists’ pursuits, Spasticus Artisticus explores the outsize freedom inherited by those who deliberately select a life devoted to exploring objects and ideas for which there is zero use value. The exhibition—made up of the work of an appropriately large and not at all representative international collection of artist/collaborators—purposely turns its back on the success model recently adopted by rafts of artists around the world.
The original lyrics to Dury’s song read: Hello to you out there in Normal Land/You may not comprehend my tale or understand!/As I crawl past your window give me lucky looks/You can be my body but you’ll never read my books. A celebration both of art’s and artists’ forgotten esotericism, the work of the folks participating in Spasticus Artisticus has been deemed by the curators (self-appointed experts in such matters) especially wild, pointless, counterproductive and generally deranged enough to warrant inclusion in this lucky exhibition. Armed with the motto “Fuck Normal. We’re Not Like Everybody Else!” Spasticus Artisticus is a cri du coeur for artists’ (self?) recognition as repositories of genuinely visionary as well as durably impractical ideas.
About the Curators:
Jota Castro is an artist, activist and curator. He has exhibited at, among other venues, the Palais de Tokyo and the Gwangju Biennale, where he was the recipient of the Biennale’s Grand Prize. He most recently curated “The Fear Society, Pabellon de la Urgencia” for the 53rd Venice Biennale. Christian Viveros-Fauné is a New York-based writer and curator. He has curated exhibitions at Mexico’s Museum of Modern Art and Chile’s Museo de la Solidaridad Salvador Allende. He writes the Free-Lance column for ArtReview and is curatorial advisor for the art fairs VOLTA NY and NEXT.