CONTENDER : A Debut Solo Show by Corbin Shaw | It's 2020 For F*ck Sake – A Thirteen Artist, Back-to-Back Solo Exhibition Marathon
ConTender is an ode to my adolescence and the spaces that shaped it. Boxing gyms and football pitches, the pub and streets.
ConTender is an ode to my adolescence and the spaces that shaped it. Boxing gyms and football pitches, the pubs and streets. These works appropriate the traditional male rites of passage of Northern England, reorienting and rearticulating the pressures of male conformism. Growing up in a post-industrial city like Sheffield, one cannot escape a sense of nostalgia – the city pines for its past in the coal mines and the steel trade, industries now lost in post-Thatcher Britain. The result is an unfulfillable legacy, one which rests heavily on the shoulders of the city’s residents. The younger generation of men — my generation — has had to find new ways of expression, but in the ruins of industrial greatness since-past, we have only our cars, our clothes, and our music; that which threatens self-destruction, if it does not promise it outright. This show aims to explore this experience of trying to “fill the boots that have come before,” and the weight of that task’s impossibility, having already been destined to be history’s runner-up.
Corbin Shaw’s work explores the performance of masculinity in heteronormative spaces dominated by men. He makes work from his own personal experiences growing up in spaces such as football grounds, boxing gyms, and his dad’s metal fabrication workplace. He looks at the rites of passage of manhood in England, the obstacles which men impose upon each other in our society, and male conformism. He looks at how public notions of masculinity shape our outlooks, and how the traditional standards of masculinity that are hereditary in our culture can have effects on our mental health.
Shaw is interested in the enforcement of gender roles by the father figure. His practice tries to understand the invisible authority of our peers that tells us we should be conforming to strict rules on what our gender should or should not be. He wants to understand how gender norms become established, how they are policed, and how best to disrupt and overcome them. By documenting the spaces he grew up in, Shaw aims to understand his own idea of masculinity, and what masculinity means to people in similar environments. He documents these spaces by using photography and film, before translating ideas into sculpture and painting.
Guts Gallery and Soft Punk Magazine are proud to collaboratively present “It's 2020 For F*ck Sake”, a thirteen artist, back-to-back solo exhibition marathon, running from 24 September 2020 to 21 December 2020, first in a railway arch under Haggerston Station, and now with a return to lockdown, online through VR content.
Born from a desire to refuse the conditions of silence, paralysis, and erasure brought on by our current social and political climate, this exhibition series has been conceived as a means of exhibiting some of the most promising practitioners of the new generation, creating space for display, experimentation, and artistic ownership in an otherwise compromising market.
Actively aware of the scarcity of shows for underrepresented emerging artists, each artist exhibiting has been given full license over the space. However, this is an exhibition marathon founded in community — while each artist has a solo show, the broader ethos is one of collaboration, accessibility, progress, and collective shouldering of one another.
Once more returning to “lockdown” as of Thursday, 5th November, the remainder of the solo exhibitions will be launched and viewed through virtual reality, a viewing room via Guts’ upcoming Artlogic website and of course, Instagram. All of these platforms will be made live at the same time each week on the date the private views were due to take place. We would like viewers to engage with the works as you would in our physical space, curating an environment specific to each show and artist.
At a moment when the arts sector is on the brink of a major crisis, we are committed to continue putting our community first, paying fair wages, and providing sustained support for artists in any way we can.