Watercolor and pastel pencils on paper,
From the show:
Bad is Beautiful - Joshua Griffit
Joshua Griffit Feinberg Graduate School / David Lopatie Hall of Graduate Studies, Weizmann Institute of Science Joshua Griffit paints beautifully. Too beautiful to be real. Too good to be true. Griffit's sarcastic exaggeration is so elusive that we are unable to grasp what he is actually telling us. To some extent, we can say that Griffit intentionally commits an unpardonable sin of modern art and media: He overestimates his viewers and readers. Federico Fellini said that everyone knows that time means death, but death hides his timepiece. In staging his paintings, Griffit tries to ensure that everyone knows, understands and internalizes this. His way of achieving this goal – to convey this message – is by taunting us. His paintings are flooded with strong, bright colors. A vintage aircraft taking off. Gentlemen in bowlers,
flirtatious ladies, cars with extreme features. This (perhaps) is the way we once were, but now, at this moment, Griffit's hyperrealism is merely the starting point for the real story. After the "once upon a time" comes the horror film. The aircraft will crash, the ships' sails will tear, steam boilers will launch certain disaster, the guys and girls turn into dummies and amputees. The good life – and our dream of a better future – is, in fact, only catalogued memories. Without a present, without a future.
The technique, a sort of "copy-paste" – something in the way that programmers attach "ready-made script" to new code – throws together components, characters, pieces borrowed from historically significant works of art. He then edits them into new contexts, connecting the past and present in a way that indicates, by way of extrapolation, that we are all film heroes – some more tragic than others. Griffit's comments on the history of art – the ways in which he "questions and quotes" elements of well-known works, like secondhand thoughts – point to a certain lack of perfection, processes that we witness while they are happening, the journey that has not yet reached its destination. In the meantime, he uses these to refine, focus, sharpen and calibrate his mockery of us, the way in which we innocently put aside pensions to "ensure the future." The future, according to Griffit, is here with us in the present. It looks quietly over our shoulders, waiting with complete assurance for a moment that it deems appropriate, and then it steps inside. The future is spectacularly bad: It is hell, it is aging, it is loss, it is death. And the cause of death – as John le Carré tells us – is birth.