Thursday, June 28, 2007

Vic Reeves - "My Family And Other Freaks"

Comedian and part-time pop star and actor Vic Reeves also fancies himself as an artist. This isn't news, of course. Vic published a book of his drawings, "Sun Boiled Onions", about ten years ago, and I remember attending an exhibition of his in a poncy Brick Lane gallery a few years back. So when I saw a poster advertising a new Vic Reeves exhibition at the Eye Storm Gallery near where I'm working on Bankside, I went along.

It left me a little baffled. Obviously, I knew what to expect having seen lots of Vic's drawing and paintings in the past. But I gave it a little more thought today. Entitled "My Family And Other Freaks", Vic's exhibition includes lots of pictures of his wife Nancy and his four children. Most of the family portraits were huge oil canvases, and these worked effectively well and, thankfully, most of them weren't for sale. (It seems wrong, to me, for an artist to sell intimate paintings of his wife and children).

The rest of the exhibition was a combination of original doodles and prints. And my bafflement lay with these... and the price tags. For a fairly reasonable £250 you could buy yourself an unframed A3 colour print of one of Vic's bird etchings, and for a moment or two I felt tempted (until I remembered I don't currently have £250 burning a hole in my pocket). But for a staggering £950 you could buy a plan of Vic's living room with arrows pointing to the television, or a ridiculous cartoon of a man in a funny hat, as doodled on a page torn from an exercise book. And I felt that was taking the piss.

After I returned to work, I mulled on this some more. Maybe it's me who's missing the point. Maybe Vic's plan of his living room is some kind of postmodern statement about how television rules our lives and how whichever way we face, we're all pointing the same way. Or maybe he and Nancy were simply sketching out how to rearrange their living room one day, and then decided to keep the evidence to flog to one of Vic's unwitting fans as art. Vic, if you're reading (yeah, right), I'd love to know.

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