For Corbin Shaw’s latest exhibition, the artist has shredded, recycled, and repurposed copies of the British tabloid newspaper The Sun. These copies were never purchased or paid for, he clarifies, but always stolen or found – arguably the only ethical way to get your hands on the Murdoch-owned rag guilty of peddling xenophobic hate in this country for the last several decades. The result? The People Fled When the Sun Went Down, a satirical commentary on the “ludicracy of the UK press” and its malicious headlines.
Open now and running until October 12 at London’s Jealous Gallery, the show takes the tabloids’ recent exploitation of public figures such as Huw Edwards as its starting point, zooming out to expose a long-running culture of hypocrisy in a series of works that turn the newspaper’s own headlines against it. Recontextualised, these headlines often take on darkly comic or mysterious connotations – “Screaming in Perfect English”, “Thought: What a waste” – and are presented alongside images of the Queen, Katie Price, and Crazy Frog.
The centrepiece of the exhibition, though, is a life-size newsagent kiosk that displays some of the Sun’s most provocative headlines from over the years. As you’d expect of a newsagent’s, these sit alongside the usual Union Jack lighters and Chupa Chups, as well as some bespoke items designed by Shaw for the show.
Born in Sheffield, Shaw has gained prominence since graduating from Central Saint Martins for mixing up classic British tropes – “pubs, boxing gyms, football chants” – to reflect the changing state of masculinity and politics in this country. His work is a complex mix of iconoclasm and nostalgia (which feels like it sums up where most of us are at right now) and The People Fled When the Sun Went Down takes this into a new, literal dimension, tearing up old Sun papers to create a blank canvas for different ideas.
Get a preview of the exhibition in the gallery above.