The last time Jon Mitton and Jonathan Ross collaborated was in 1994 when Ross agreed to sponsor a Liverpool exhibition of Mitton's. The frankly sexual content of the show led to a visit from the boys in blue and a footnote in the history of censorship in art. Now Ross has his own gallery in London and Mitton is back with a new body of work incorporating paintings, projections, pay to view machines, holograms, lenticulars ....
After several years of silence Mr Mitton agreed to speak from his new home town of Rosscarberry, deep in the south of Ireland, fully suited with paintbrush clearly aimed at a canvas on which the word Tesco had been carefully hand drawn.
JM: I used to be known as Tesco Jon when I lived in Liverpool, mainly because I had it painted on the back of a leather jacket I'd swapped for a tailcoat in Burnley.
But why Tesco?
Well, I think it was 1988 that I first had the idea based on the growing trend of labelism which got to me deeply...I found it very disturbing how we as humans would decorate ourselves with corporate logos. As a punk I felt the hollowness of corporate IDs enveloping the youth culture, turning ideas of freedom and self expression into off-the-shelf commodities... "Ah fuck it, the planet will collide with the sun one day and all this will be forgotten".
Hmmm, slightly Nihilistic...but that leads nicely to the subject of (F).
Yeah, that old chestnut, eh? Well, back in 1987 a couple of friends and I started a band called (F) or 'Fuck Off' for short. We'd all been reading the works of Wilson Brian Key, a famous authority on the use of subliminal trickery used in advertising. The books are quite shocking and really turned us off the media whose exploitations had become clear. (F) was a result of that and, in true Punk spirit, we named the year Fuck'87 and endeavored to create as much havoc as possible including such gags as spraying a newly stoneblasted wall in the centre of Burnley with 'Vote Conservative'. Ha ha ha ha ha ha...as well as playing music of course.
So, briefly, what was the main focus of (F) after the move to Liverpool in 1988?
Well, by 1992 it had become Sex...mainly because our research into the manipulation of the consumer kept leading back to the use and abuse of the human body and, it goes without saying, mainly the female body. So I came up with the idea of an exhibition called Hardcore Holography, using animated holograms to reveal a positive view of sexual mores outside of glossy magazines and adverts. The exhibition was created by six members of (F), five female and one male, but unfortunately the vice squad closed the exhibition down two days after it opened and the images haven't been shown since then.
So what are we likely to see at your exhibition in London in November?
Since (F) folded I have been working alone to pull together ideas I've been developing over the past 13 years. The exhibition is called 'consumer' and combines a large array of media to create a Thought Bog. It combines surrealism with dada so I suppose you could say it's a surdadarealist exhibition of cerebral popcorn. It's a big bag of Mind Toffee that includes some of the Hardcore Holography images, as well as new work that investigates the hidden sexuality of office workers and the truth behind the Flake advert, amongst other things. Like I say it's just a big mind of bog toffee - you have to come and see it.
|Home | Collection (illustrated) (list) | Background | Exhibitions | Holos in Print | Texts | Stereos | Catalogue | CD | Links | Contact|