We are pleased to present new work by U.S artist Alex Echo. This exhibition features a series of linked pieces or ‘chapters’ that are partly autobiographical and partly reference the classic film 'It’s a Wonderful Life’.
Frank Capra’s uplifting, impressionable fable asks a simple question: "What would this world be like if I had never been born?" It is a gloriously appealing film that treads an uneven path between the sentimental and the profound as the protagonist, George Bailey (played by James Stewart) learns to recognize that he makes a significant difference to those around him. He is an optimistic analogy (or a pessimistic wake-up call) for the way we live our lives in the real world.
This work is a visual exploration of the reciprocal exchange between Capra’s film and the manner in which its message is embedded in Echo’s own psyche. How the concept of the protagonist extends beyond fiction and into the real world; how we are all protagonists in the narratives of our own lives. It is no coincidence that ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ is so meaningful at a time when the structural and moral integrity of Capitalism is being questioned and ‘relationships of self interest’ are in the dock. Echo has made this work within a complex framework of self analysis, shared cultural knowledge and global insecurity.
"It’s a Wonderful Life’ is a mush of sentimentality and implausibility and yet I cry every time I see it. I can’t help myself. If only I could be George Bailey, the character played by Jimmy Stewart. He’s a mess; a doormat of a man, a martyr, a sweet do-gooder with a giant heart and everyone loves him.
We all have favourite movies that feed our personal fantasies; looped continuously in our jam packed culture crazy craniums. Six billion fantasies play in six billion skulls a miraculous ballet of appropriation.... and a miraculous feat of universal disengagement around the world.
Meanwhile the global economy is careening into oblivion and the world is dark and ugly. I may as well tell the truth, say a prayer, and make some art before jumping off the bridge." - Alex Echo
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