In commemoration of the Jubilee year, the WW Gallery are pleased to present ‘Diamond Geezer’, a group show of works responding to the imagery and iconography of the Queen throughout her reign.
The exhibition explores the ‘guilty pleasures’ of Jubilee celebrations: street parties, memorabilia, and all the joys of revelling in the high-camp of that very British of institutions, the monarchy. The works in the exhibition are kinds of souvenirs; pieces of jewellery, posters and prints, busts and portraits, which appear to be cashing-in on Jubilee-fever, and yet do so with more than a hint of playful cheek.
While the work is sometimes provocative with a familiar post-punk irony, the exhibition’s true interest lies in the paradox of our national ambivalence. Exploring how one can be politically opposed to the idea of the monarchy and yet nostalgically enamoured with everything the spectre of Royalty conjures up in our popular consciousness, ‘Diamond Geezer’ celebrates our freedom to laud and loathe our sovereign as we so choose.
“In principle I am opposed to the idea of monarchy, and believe that for however long this family endures as both a real and symbolic model of inherited hereditary wealth, equality can never be fully achieved. Yet, at the same time I find myself dazzled and nostalgically involved with the spectre of royalty, the shameless girly attractions of glittering unattainable baubles, delicately embroidered yesteryear dresses, twinkling diamond tiaras, the Gosford-Downton-Abbey-Parkville of vast country houses with masters, mistresses and maids. The whole gaudy lah-di-dah monarchical miasma which exists in the realms of both the imaginary and the drag and beauty queening of high camp. As Susan Sontag notes ‘People who share this sensibility are not laughing at the thing they label as “camp” they’re enjoying it. Camp is a tender feeling’. Alex Michon, ‘Lèse majeste’, Garageland No.11 (winter/spring 2011)