Australian pop artist Ben Frost presents an exhibition of new artworks exploring our society's obsession and relationship with mass-consumerism. Painting directly onto fast food and pharmaceutical packaging, Frost asks us to look twice at the products we have grown to love - and also grown an addiction for. From McDonald's french fry packages adorned with skulls and praying families, to Simpsons characters painted onto Viagra boxes, he presents a humorous and often challenging reflection of western culture.
"Advertising is a drug," Frost says. "A perfectly designed drug that keeps us dazed, confused and focused on the product at hand. We've formed an exuberant addiction to carefully designed colour combinations, cartoon character associations and dynamic buzz words that promise us the world - but deliver us much less." By taking the packaging of these products and adding his own elements, Frost recontextualizes their messages into more interesting, challenging and subversive meanings.
Frost is known for his kaleidoscopic pop art, mash-up paintings that take inspiration from areas as diverse as graffiti, collage, photorealism and sign-writing. By subverting mainstream iconography from the worlds of advertising, entertainment and politics, he creates a visual framework that is bold, confronting and often controversial. In 2000, he faked his own death for an exhibition suitably titled ‘Ben Frost is Dead’ which made national news in Australia.
His painting ‘White Children Playing’ caused a stir for its graphic depiction of children using drugs and a masked and disgruntled assailant slashed one of the paintings in his exhibition at the Institute of Modern Art in Brisbane. Police also tried to remove one of his collaborative artworks in an exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney because of its graphic nature. He also began and continues to run the Australian street art website ‘Stupid Krap’ and started the yearly paste-up festival Paste-Modernism, which is the largest of its kind in the world.
The Perfect Drug by Ben Frost
22 Feb - 18 Mar 2013
Kult Gallery, Emily Hill, Blk C2-511 Upper Wilkie Rd, www.kult.com.sg
Opening hours: weekdays 11am-7pm; weekends by appointment, call: +65 63381066