RCA graduate Gordon Cheung's latest exhibition drops us into a suspended reality.
Stepping into Paradise Lost, the latest exhibition by RCA graduate Gordon Cheung, is like simultaneously being pushed forward and pulled back in time. The new 24-piece body of work from the Brixton based artist drops us into a suspended reality in which rips of dizzying neon are used to add an eerie sense of chemical celebration to post-apocalyptic landscapes.
Though extreme colour is Cheung's strongest facet, stock pages from faded copies of the Financial Times form the backdrop to many of the works, with the coded language and reams of information used to comment on the human condition in a post-industrial society clung to its industrial foundations.
Heavily textured, the works pulsate with an electric brilliance where themes of advancing technology and classical fable combine to reflect the less desirable arm of humanity and the caustic fear mongering of a paranoid 21st Century society.
For Paradise Lost, Cheung was commissioned by the Laing Art Gallery Newcastle and Susan May of London's White Cube to make new work in response to 19th Century Romantic artist John Martin. Dramatic scenes including The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah are skilfully reworked, but it's the artist's unique take on Martin's Paradise Lost print series that's the undoubted highlight.
"I felt I could re-translate the prints into a contemporary and relevant context," says Cheung. "The idea that we are losing, or certainly becoming increasingly urgent with our relationship to Earth is compelling and to use an archetypal story as a means of understanding our era attracted me a great deal."
In October, Cheung will curate The Lucifer Effect at London's Gallery Primo Alonso, featuring work from ten rising artists. Based around the shocking findings of the 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment by social psychologist Philip Zimbardo, the exhibition continues Cheung's exploration of the dark heart of humanity and will no doubt further strengthen his position as one of the country's most expressive artists.