Exhibition organised on the occasion of and with the patronage of the Traffic Festival
8 - 12 July 2008
Architorti play Punk
8 July 2008
Curated by Luca Beatrice.
The Sex Pistols’ first single God Save the Queen hit the streets of London on May 27, 1977. Sitting on the cover is Queen Elizabeth II, her eyes and mouth covered by the song title and the name of the band. It was Jubilee Year, and Malcolm McLaren, then manager of the London-based punk band, chose to outrage the quiet and staid England with a record that would go down in rock history and leave punk culture’s indelible mark on the younger generations. McLaren entrusted the graphic design of the cover to Jamie Reid (born in 1947), a former fellow student at the Croydon Art College. Reid went on to design the single and album Never Mind the Bollocks. With Reid, punk style hit the graphic arts. He coined a visual language that would stay with him throughout his career up to the point of self-congratulation in 1997 when he produced a series of screen prints to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the single and covertly express his desire to find new inspiration. The London gallery Aquarium L13 has been representing Reid since 2004.
On July 8, 2008, on the occasion of the Traffic Free Music Festival in Turin the first retrospective exhibition of Jamie Reid opened in Italy.
Jamie Reid’s bold way of spreading anti-capitalist and anarchist messages made him a myth, and ever since the late 70’s his innovative graphic language has repeatedly been reinterpreted by the key exponents of outsider generations, from punk to today’s underground movements. Using a raw and aggressive language of signs inspired by avant-garde movements of the twentieth century, Reid reached into Dadaism, Surrealism, Situationist art and Mail Art to ‘steal’ popular imagery that had already been ‘worn out’ by advertising companies and the media to produce new work that was highly critical of all forms of business and consumerism in contemporary society.
In recent years, however, we can see a clear stylistic turnaround in his work: the content of his more recent pieces (mainly paintings) has become more mystical as he has turned to fantasy, Celtic legends and the Druids for inspiration. The Jamie Reid exhibition comprises circa twenty pieces, including six large panels that together make up Mural (1982), exhibited at the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Tate Modern in London. The exhibition in the Guido Costa Projects gallery sheds light on the entire range of this provocative artist’s creative talent. The opening night also featured the musical performance Architorti Play Punk, where a selection of the most celebrated examples of Punk sound were reinterpreted as chamber music by the Architorti string quintet.