JJ Charlesworth (Associate Editor, Art Review)

Somewhere between a Michael Jackson video (one of the early, good ones), a convention of Bryan Ferry fans, a Clapham Common house party of ex-Oxbridge girls who all work in PR, a Dior fragrance ad aimed at the Asian market, the mirrored fragments of a Beyoncé hit and a Shakespearean soliloquy – Samuel Fouracre’s videos are high on dance, music, sex and romance.

D.^^.$.®. (Dance.Music.Sex.Romance) is the common title of his currently evolving group of video clips, which stitch together a glossy, kaleidoscopic, twilit world of camped-up heterosexual desire: the curve of a woman’s hip against a deep orange background; a sharp red blazer and slicked-back hair; an Aston Martin DB9; the flair of a cigarette; sexting.

It’s an unreal world, of course, full of dualities, of reflections in infinite regress, and extreme, unbelievable, hypnotic shades of colour, that illuminate individuals as if becoming their perfect self-images, inhabiting a world of glamour, success and euphoric self-confidence. It’s the colour and shade of narcissism, of the world as we want to see it, with ourselves at the centre.

Fouracre gets that images are seduction, and that seduction is the business of acting oneself perfectly as an image, so that there’s no distance between what one is and what one appears to be. He sets out first to appropriate, then remake those cultural forms that compose the landscape of contemporary desire – the aspirational life-style formations of dance music, cosmetics, car culture, cocktail aesthetics, gaming fantasy and pornography. Fouracre’s act of remaking – in the studio, under lights, with actors and models, or in the CGI render – is critical: Fouracre makes images whose quality is indistinguishable from the forms of culture he devours, making it his own, making it, in some sense, real, ordinary life. In this utopia, romance and narcissism circle around each other, somewhere between the individual and the social world, where brands are strangely nowhere to be seen. Making his own world might be utopian, but who wouldn’t want the world to be more glamorous than it is, us included? Fouracre’s videos celebrate pleasure, and their question is whether desire binds us, or sets us free.

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Coffee time:


Short clips from the video installation, D.^^.$.®