You thought that summer was over, that hedonistic, festival-style recipe of vibrant colour, costumes and junk food had been shelved until 2013 – and that you wouldn’t be dancing with a dinosaur in a shiny onesie for a few months at least. Right? Wrong.
Sparkly Brooklyn import Reed + Rader have made their London debut with new exhibition Cretaceous Returns at 18 Hewitt Street. The quirky duo famed for their bright, glitchy GIFs have refashioned the East London location as a prehistoric party house, staging large-scale projections and sound and video works in a space populated on- and off-screen by…dinosaurs. The opening night was a dino-extravaganza with videogame-graphics, dancing and dining on the digital artists’ favourite food – pizza – served up wood-fired style from bespoke street food company Bosco and Bee.
Reed + Rader’s work is undeniably fun. They push the GIF format- perhaps the first real art form of the internet – to its faux-futuristic limits, creating dynamic and deadpan imagery that never takes itself too seriously. Inherent in their work is a bittersweet nostalgia for the simple pleasures of the early internet age too– the happy-go-lucky Moldy Peaches era when Pokémon cards and Gameboys, pizza, kitties and cartoons were king.
And yet, beyond their spacey amusements-arcade of imagery, there is the potential for more serious discussions about the ways in which new technologies are to direct the future of art-making. Just as the prehistoric, the nostalgic and the futuristic are jumbled in this new exhibition, so are the categories of fashion, advertising, technology and art, converging to form a new breed of post-Pop art. Reed + Rader don’t only question the boundaries of ‘high’ and ‘low’ art but disregard them all together – with the irresistible audacity of teenagers. Cretaceous Returns is only on until November 20th, so catch the duo and their dinosaurs before they party on back over the Atlantic. (Words: Florence Ritter)
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