John Keane: Viral
“Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” - Voltaire, Questions sur les Miracles
John Keane is a renowned artist whose work addresses the most pressing social and political issues of our time. His sustained artistic inquiry into military and social conflicts around the world has extended from Northern Ireland to Central America and the Middle East, where he was commissioned as the Official British War Artist of the Gulf War.
The collection of paintings in this exhibition have been created over the last two years amid seismic shifts in the domestic and global political landscape. From conspiracy theories to data mining, Keane’s subjects span the evolving and influential world of information technology and the resulting network of alternative facts, misinformation and cyber warfare.
John Keane talks about his exhibited paintings Blue Planet/ Moon Landing/ Flat Earth #8 (0:00), Flat Earth (1:40), Novichock (3:05), Black Board/ Theory of Anything (4:27), Despocracy (5:50), and European Canon (7:05) over a soundtrack created by Brian Eno and Peter Chilvers.
By Brian Eno and Peter Chilvers
Experience this exhibition while listening to this soundtrack produced by Brian Eno and Peter Chilvers.
Black Board/Theory of Anything
Blue Planet/ Moon Landing/ Flat Earth #8
Despocracy I, II, III & IV
The Despocracy paintings conflate images of a number of populist national leaders into a single canvas. Shown together, Keane highlights the links between the harvesting of personal data and the outcome of recent democratic processes across the globe.
"Somewhere between democracy and despotism. The will of the people, or the tyranny of the majority. The democratisation of information, electronically concentrated in the hands of the super wealthy. The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity. Where now, honesty, decency, integrity, shame? Algorithmic amplification of extreme messaging, employing the use of dog whistles. God is on our side. Their god is a bloodthirsty suicide bomber (but I didn’t say that)."