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We Went to Dean Blunt's Private View Last Night

"It's funny and disingenuous in the same way that all the best Dean Blunt is funny and disingenuous."

by Francisco Garcia
Jan 28 2016, 4:00pm

Dean Blunt, installation view Cubitt Gallery, London 2016. Photography Mark Blower, courtesy of Cubitt Artists.

It's better, always better, to get the wank right out the way, right out in the open, right at the start. So here it is: here's the floppy cock on the table, right at the very start. Dean Blunt has an exhibition on at the Cubitt Artists gallery in Angel, it's running from the 28th of January to the 28th of February and, to my mind, it's funny and disingenuous in the same way that all the best Dean Blunt is funny and disingenuous. I know this because I trekked down to the private view last night.

For one thing, it's absolutely tiny. You stride, blinking, past the floodlight at the door into a clean, sparse room clad in a thin, elongated strip of office lighting. You mumble a few apologies as you shuffle past beanie clad people attached to tote bags to get a look at the single image perched on the wall. It's a simple plastic-rimmed Getty-esque image of a smiling professional looking couple innocently canoodling over coffee. You notice that she's mixed raced and he's Tom Cruise in TopGun white. So fucking what, you might say, who cares? Well you don't but your head's starting to split from the incessant high-pitched, high-frequency noise you clocked at the door but seems to have become increasingly pronounced and, increasingly obviously, 'part of the art'. After a couple of minutes you eventually clock the plastic klaxon locked behind plastic bars on the upper left of the wall and smile through the grimace in your ears. Dean Blunt: ever the prodigious piss taker and piss artist.

Here's the wank bit. Dean Blunt is a genius liar. It's become a point of journalistic shorthand to say it, but his work makes abundant use of cliche and tip of the tongue mistruths to create his strange, beguiling little worlds. Montaigne —here's the big wank– famously wrote that "once let the tongue acquire the habit of lying, we would see it is more worthy of the stake than other crimes". Blunt loves lying to journalists (he once told a credulous Guardian journalist that the only music he listened to was, brilliantly, Oasis) but he's also highly skilled at snaring credulous audiences on stakes of their own making. He's on record as railing against the reflexive spasms and assumptions of what he calls "the liberal left who cover up zits with concealer" who stand in the midst of eye-strain lighting and ear-rotting white noise to stare at a hyper bland image of a couple a cheesy actors acting the cheesy couple over coffee.

This exhibition is vintage Dean Blunt in its humour and disingenuousness. It's especially worth it if, like this reviewer, you're one of the embittered liberals who, in Blunt's semi-mocking words, "think they know it all (but) ignorance is nothing to be ashamed of if you are open to learn, but this default knowledge be causing all kinds of foolish behaviour."

The show runs at the Cubitt space, London, until February 28th.

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Dean Blunt