In the 1950s, anthropologist Gregory Bateson, with the assistance of his colleagues, described the notion of double bind. To put it simply, this is a concept which tries to explain the emotionally distressed dilemma within the process of communication. It relates to the situation in which a group or an individual receives two or more conflicting messages; this causes a failure in response and renders a person (or group) to be automatically wrong, regardless of the reaction. This gives power to the emitter of the message and a possibility to manipulate. In terms of contemporary popular culture, does this sound familiar?
Mike Bouchet is a talented an versatile artist who is devoted to installations, videos, interventions, performances, as well as sculpture and painting. With the characteristics which should be a part of every true urban artist's practice, Bouchet creates with strong devotion to social activism. His work represents an ongoing critique of the culture, political and economic dimensions of the postmodern epoch. His creative process is reflected in the significance of the active role of a contemporary artist in the contemporary society. A perfect paradigm of his work was certainly the performative act he executed a decade ago when investigating the consumerist nature of the globalized world. Bouchet had his brand of blue jeans manufactured in Columbia and instead of carrying out the process of importing and selling the jeans, the artist dropped the cargo from an airplane onto the city where the clothes had been manufactured.
In the eyes of Bouchet (and he is not alone in his convictions), the realm of global consumer brands and mind-controlling multimedia interaction attacks the vulnerabilities of the public. Bouchet composes his canvases from the actual movie-posters in an attempt to create contrasting interpretations of the omnipresent motifs of mass culture. Bouchet’s painting tend to be purposefully confusing and abstract. Thus, the artist addresses the double bind on the instinctual level, inviting the spectator to reflect upon the artwork and, consequently, on his worldview and existential situation. Bouchet’s photo-realist paintings interact with aggressive nature of popular culture and the notion of consumerism, indicating the conflicting messages of fantasy, erotic stimuli and imposed craving for spending. In the period between September 17th and November 1st 2014, Berlin’s Peres Projects will be a stage for reflecting upon the notions of consumerist aspirations and a plane for the attempt to deconstruct the double bind.