As part of the inaugural Riga International Biennial of Contemporary art, British artist, Michael Landy will unveil his new participatory artwork commission that is all about Brexit.
Two years may have passed since the triggering of article 50, but both Britons and EU citizens continue to endure the dichotomous discussions of a Hard versus Soft Brexit on the regular. In short, debates concerning Britain’s exodus from the European Union are far from over. Despite the looming future of uncertainty, a recent commission by renowned British artist, Michael Landy, will endeavour to make light of this by offering a humorous critique of his country’s present situation.
For this exhibit, Landy will transform a former Soviet-era news kiosk in the heat of the Latvian capital, Riga into a fully functioning, trading kiosk, annexed to the UK. “The Biennial is an international art exhibition, and Latvia where it’s staged is a relatively recent member of the EU, so we’re doing what Theresa May asked us to do and finding new trading partners - and that’s why the exhibit is called ‘Open for Business", explains Landy. The work will attempt to ease concerns over Britain’s international trade in the run up to its departure from the European Union, by selling classic British goods, including breakfast tea, Marmite and Cadbury’s Crème Eggs amongst other British gastronomic delights.
In addition to an array of British delicacies on sale, Landy has also produced his own range of Brexit merchandise, which includes slogan t-shirts, caps and mugs as well as ‘Hard Brexit’ condoms. "We’re selling 52 percent ‘Leave’ merchandise and, you guessed it, 48 percent ‘Remain’"mentions Landy.
Aware of the social divides that continue to deepen with the ongoing debates and concerns over Brexit, Landy’s exhibit will seek to unify people on the subject in its appeal to both Leavers and Remainers. After all, a mug that reads ‘Queen Backs Brexit’ or a tea towel with ‘We Want Our Country Back’ printed on it is appealing to both a 'Leave' voter sincerely and a 'Remain' voter ironically.
'Open for Business' is commissioned by the Riga Biennial, under chief curator Katerina Gregos. The inaugural edition will run from June 2nd through October 28th (Open: Wednesday - Sunday). Michael Landy will have a solo show opening in October 2018 at Thomas Dane Gallery in London.
More information on the inaugural Riga Biennial here.
Another biennial? Why Riga? All questions answered by chief curator here.
Check out Michael Landy's artist page here.