Jamie Fitzpatrick

Your Wives are at Home Having Sex with Bart Simpson and Burt Reynolds, 2017

Mixed Media

340 x 122 x 152.5 cm


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Artwork
Description

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“Your Wives are At Home” satirises historical equestrian portraiture of aristocratic and military dignitaries. The horselike figure ridden by Fitzpatrick’s protagonist reveals itself as a pile of rubble attached to a unicorn head. Although the character appears to have no arms, he carries a large rock on his back, which he is unable to remove, potentially suggesting burdens.

Exaggerated features are typical of Fitzpatrick’s work: in this instance, both the man’s lips and legs are overgrown. His full-bodied, sensual lips hint to attributes not commonly associated with triumphal portraiture, while his legs appear unusable much like his non-existent arm and the horse he rides. Indeed, the horse, rock, and large features appear to create a sense of absurdity.

The title “Your Wives are at Home Having Sex with Bart Simpson and Burt Reynolds” is a quote from Jon Ronson’s book, The Men Who Stare at Goats. The book, based on a real story, suggests that during the First Gulf War, the Iraqi army dropped psychologically manipulative leaflets carrying this sentence on US troops. Through investigating events within a historical period, the book, and later movie, reconstruct the past through a well-researched story.

Jamie Fitzpatrick believes abstraction (or fiction) is a crucial way of critiquing current society while enabling those ideas to continue to transcend through time. The satirised monument is typical of Fitzpatrick’s work, seen as undermining the way in which power is distributed within a patriarchal society. The artist believes military statues begin to lose their significance as the relevance of the figure begins to disintegrate. Thus, the statues which “looks down” on passersby, once highlighted someone’s “military monarchical class” but has become one of the “signifiers placed around the city that have lost all sort of historical context”, as Fitzpatrick notes. The artist admires the way in which Charles Dickens is able to make characters within authoritative roles appear ludicrous until the underlying politically motivated message becomes apparent.

About
the artist

Jamie Fitzpatrick is a London based artist from Southport, England, born in 1985. He received his undergraduate degree in Fine Art, Philosophy & Contemporary Practice at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, Dundee (2009). He later went on to do his Masters in Sculpture at Royal College of Art (2015).  His thought-provoking style has gained him international attention resulting in him being included in a multitude of prestigious exhibitions including UK/Raine at the Saatchi Gallery and the ‘New Contemporaries’ at the ICA, London (2015). He has won many awards including the UK/Raine Saatchi Gallery Sculpture Award (2015) and Visitor Vote Catlin Art Prize at Londonnewcastle Project Space (2016). His residencies also include Biruchiy contemporary art project with the British Council (Ukraine, 2016).

Fitzpatrick’s practice can be seen as a social critique, he explores the ways in which our perceptions of the historical figures depicted in memorial statues change over time. Thus, his works question authoritative power by caricaturing monuments and highlighting the shift in their hierarchical position within society. As his works communicate his ideas about social issues, one could understand Fitzpatrick within an Expressionist framework. The artist believes that the distortion of reality through fiction and abstraction is a more sustainable method of enabling political theory to resonate within society, standing the test of time. This is due to the fact that realistic representations of reality are tied to particular events and moments in time, which fictional stories can transcend due to their importance residing in the underlying message. Thus, Fitzpatrick capitalises on the ridiculous and the absurd in his bizarrely sculptural critique of authority. However, this is not the sole means through which he does so; even the titles of his work often serve as an aid in understanding the subject matters which lay within, often referencing political quotes and ideas.  

Fitzpatrick’s sculptures are often made of wax, wood and polyurethane foam. Although he employs the same wax as that used at Madame Tussaud’s Museum, Fitzpatrick’s sculptures are not at all life-like: on the contrary, they are endowed with grotesquely lurid features and tower above us bigger-than-life. Like caricatures of political characters, they simultaneously signal the dangerous traits of these figures and take them down by mocking them. Furthermore, these artworks are produced with the intention of allowing the studio process to remain apparent. By the artist purposely leaving footmarks and other imprints on their surface, for the viewer a sense of impasto reminiscent of artists such as Frank Auerbach is created. This texture adds to the excitement of already explosive works.


Fitzpatrick capitalises on the ridiculous and the absurd in his bizarrely sculptural critique of authority. However, this is not the sole means through which he does so; even the titles of his work often serve as an aid in understanding the subject matters which lay within, often referencing political quotes and ideas.

Like caricatures of political characters, they simultaneously signal the dangerous traits of these figures and take them down by mocking them. Furthermore, these artworks are produced with the intention of allowing the studio process to remain apparent.


Jamie Fitzpatrick
on Artuner

Part of the
exhibition

September 7th, 2017 until
October 21st, 2017
Curated by ARTUNER