Constituting yet another instalment of the life-based narrative that Wasted Rita has been sharing with us in recent years, "As Happy As Sad Can Be" is about facing and embracing sadness in a fun way; about playing with fake happiness while being fundamentally sad.
The exhibition comprises a collection of assorted installations, each of which materialises a personal space that explores a subject relevant to the artist – be it the energising taste of summer or the misanthropic sophistication of the Internet, the material trappings of a dreamy languor and guilty pleasures, or the strengths and shortcomings of the female condition in a world too often, and wrongfully, depicted as being the domain of man.
Helping to convey the particular mood of each setting, a pastiche of ordinary looking props – faux objects, clothes,furniture, food, drink, paintings, drawings, neon lights, and a miscellany of other items – adds an almost cinematographic or theatrical feel to the overall scene. Seemingly innocuous, seemingly random, and seemingly joyful, the significance of this carefully chosen assortment of goods lies in the shock value of their details. What at first might seem visually bright and fun, on closer inspection reveals an underlying pessimism which the artist throws back at us through her
unique, mordant wit. Both the objects and the mediums they are rendered in play an integral part in the authorial exercise in self-catharsis that is staged here: a critical performative act that transcends the limitations of the gallery and blurs the lines between life and art. An enactment where the artist invites the viewer to experience the fundamental love-hate dichotomy that permeates her life and work, and which is perfectly encapsulated in the sharp, biting contrast between
the strident vivacity of the colours and the disheartening bleakness of the statements; between the buoyant, cosy ambience of the sets and the provocative nature of the artist’s existential angst.
Notwithstanding the clash of opposed emotions, there is nothing ambivalent about “As Happy As Sad Can Be” as it echoes a passionate, heartfelt yearning for an ideal world in which to feel at home. One where, despite the fundamental sadness and pessimism, there is still room for making the best of things.
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