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Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Writing by Rosemarie Mcgoldrick

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.

Rosemarie McGoldrick


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