“Insanity Fair,” at Elephant West March 13th-April 9th, 2020
We are delighted to announce, Insanity Fair, the first exhibition of work in London by artist Zoobs Ansari since his move to Los Angeles in 2014. Famed internationally for his striking multi-media artworks, which range from video and photography to collage and painting, Insanity Fair is an opportunity for London audiences to see a collection of more than thirty works created by Zoobs over the last 6 years.
The starting point for Insanity Fair is the notorious quote from Andy Warhol; ‘In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.’ – a prophesy which has translated for many raised on the 24-hour media of our digital age into an aspirational life-goal worth having. Zoobs turns a dark mirror on this obsession with celebrity and asks if the reality of fame might really be a price worth paying?
In Insanity Fair we see the glamour, beauty and an eye for the kind of perfect styling which are part of the DNA of celebrity lifestyle but with the skin partly pealed back to reveal the scars and dissonance underneath the surface gloss. There is fundamental paradox understood by both Warhol and explored by Zoobs in this exhibition, fame makes the individual simultaneously ‘untouchable’ and exposed; the tension observed between the two is a uniquely fertile area for the artist.
Of his 2015 work ‘I’m too sad to tell you’ Zoobs explains,’ It’s a very glamorous setting, yet she is vulnerable…it says to the viewer that it’s OK to cry, the ultimate vulnerability is to be able to break down in front of one another.’
Born in London of Pakistani heritage, Zoobs’ formative influences ranged from 80s pop to the US soaps Dallas and Dynasty, fostering an abiding appreciation of the empowering and transformative effect of hair and makeup styling on the incredible female characters who were the obvious stars of both. An early career in commercial photography and styling with image-maker Serge Lutens at Shiseido, developed Zoobs’ innate flair for styling and portraiture; areas which he has since gone on to reinvent since shifting to exclusively creating art and the powerful works displayed in Insanity Fair.
Of The Muse, his 2015 video portrait of the Hollywood actress, Melanie Griffith, Zoobs says, “it became about capturing on film every moment of my interaction. It’s a one-to-one situation; I do everything from the styling to the makeup, although I find people are at ease with me it’s still a challenge to discover if people will be open with me”.
A different kind of intimacy is displayed in the series of 2-dimensional graphic works, including The Social Anxiety and Forever Young series; digital collages created from photographic, painted and drawn imagery explore the artist’s fascination with artifice and representation. These works are striking and fractured psychological portraits; at once removed whilst creeping under the skin of both subject and viewer.
Zoobs Comments, ‘Originally my work was about preservation and perfection but now it’s the opposite; I’m peeling off the layers, trying to scratch through the surface’.
All works featured in Insanity Fair will be available for purchase POA.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated publication, including an interview with Zoobs Ansari by Dr Jean Wainwright. A series of screenings, talks and performance featuring the artist will be announced in 2020.
For Press Enquires:
Celia Bailey Art PR
+ 44 (0) 7930 442411 + 44 (0) 208 239 9482
About Elephant West
The place to see what’s new and what’s next—Elephant West is a repurposed petrol station that provides visual and intellectual fuel for the culturally curious. Elephant commissions an ambitious programme of career-defining installations and projects by emerging artists, filmmakers, designers and musicians, supporting the careers of exciting young creatives, as well as hosting a stimulating programme of events such as live music and dance performances, workshops, film screenings, stand-up comedy, retro-gaming nights, inspirational talks and yoga classes.
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62 Wood Lane
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Saturday: 10am- 11pm