– Autumn/Winter 2001
Lily van der Stokker
Style and Council: Cerith Wyn Evans and the Devastation of Meaning
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Cerith Wyn Evans, 'has the film already started?', DVD projector, CD, CD player, helium baloons, brick, string and potted plants, dimensions variable; installation, Georg Kargl, Vienna, 2001. Courtesy the artist and White Cube, London.
Paul Weller in mid-career, at a turning point in relation to his music years, but earlyish in relation to the kind of generational timing common around art. Paul Weller in a Style Council moment, in his early twenties but bearing the light weight of a nostalgia trick that helps him to look both older and younger simultaneously.
Seen on television, in one of those clips-and-cuts programmes that very occasionally suspend you and leave thoughts hanging towards a moment where the details take over, where it is possible to define some pop-cultural time schedules and genealogies anew, when some slippages meld with temporal slides into brief flashes of inter-connectivity. There is little sense of quality in this television format, availability and half-researched meanderings overwhelm the pop-up video breakthrough, sifting with a nostalgia net that catches big ones as well as sprats. Eco-musicologically unsound. Highlighting a requirement for dolphin-friendly nostalgia. So here we are again, sitting in a small room in a small country. Paul Weller standing there, one leg vibrating in a tensed paroxysm of gender-specific neurosis. It will suffice in place of a more articulate body language. He speaks through his clothes and his loyalty to a plain but talented keyboard player. The background is vague and the audience mixed. The whole thing shows off a multiplied image of conflicting references, a pulsating portrayal of mimed intensity. And look carefully for a second at what Paul Weller is wearing. Some mod things. Things that can be worn by a thin person with conviction. A sweater, a piece of Italian knitwear. A resuscitation of that peculiar moment just after rock and before hippies, when Continental was mainstream, a