6 June – 5 July 1997
For his exhibition at White Cube, Bickerton produced a suite of paintings that constituted an acerbic reworking of the four central images of Western art history: the patron, the crucifixion, the nude and the self-portrait. It is The Patron (1997), who receives the most brutal treatment: sat on his designer sofa, flanked by a Brancusi and a Mondrian, he gawps at the viewer, masturbating with one hand and clasping a remote control with the other; a wig lies discarded on the sofa. However, it is the crucifixion image that is the most savage, with its figure of Christ contorted in pain.
These confrontational paintings depict life-size figures in painstaking and refined detail. Bickerton used pencil, acrylic and oil paint on wood panels to produce these exquisite, meticulously hyper-real paintings, images that recall the graphic brilliance of 15th century northern-European painting. Through them, the artist presented a searing commentary on the potent endurance of the relationships between money, religion, sex and narcissism.
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