The big word about Josh Raffell's sculptures is delight. There's a
child-like, devil-may-care, extrovert pleasure in these bright and funny,
very English art interactions, where queer theory bashes into circus
practice. Scaffolds, booths, cubicles and barrows are containers and props
for puppets which you choose to animate limply in flagrante delicto. Step
round these sculptures of bodged armatures and stuffed patchwork for the
expanded field, because they aren't installations. Instead they are floating
islands, Foucauldian heterotopias. They will insist on provoking - shouting
out in their Punch and Judy way about what's acceptable. I tried to exhibit
one with its felted arsehole pointed at the gallery window into the street.
The institution wouldn't allow it. "Walking unnecessarily close to the
edge"..."given the ethnic composition of the area" was the way the lawyer
put it. But Josh Raffell's work has nothing to do with championing any
neo-liberal zone of freedom. Far from it. Instead, the work rolls its 'R's
around the Polari lingo, lots of khazis and cartsos, lallies and luppers,
having a great laugh.
From my book 'IT SMELT LIKE A HOT BANANA'