I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realise that what you heard is not what I meant (2010)

One person exhibition
Temple Bar Gallery + Studios
Oct-Nov 2010

Text from Temple Bar Gallery + Studios Website:

Temple Bar Gallery + Studios is pleased to present ‘I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realise that what you heard is not what I meant', an exhibition of new works by Alan Butler. Butler is an artist who makes works by ‘remixing’ or amalgamating a multitude of different materials, most of which have been sourced online through websites such as Ebay, Twitter, Wikileaks, Youtube and Wikipedia.

The exhibition features a selection of new works including video remixing of appropriated third party materials, drawing, sculptural and installation works. The work engages with the crossover between political, philosophical and social ideologies and their global mediation, distribution and transmission. The title, itself an appropriated sentence (attributed to U.S. State Department spokesman Robert McCloskey at one of his regular noon briefings during the worst days of the Vietnam War), perhaps best describes the artist's use of visual and conceptual language, manipulating it through networks of signs and cultural artefacts.

Butler uses materials which ‘have symbiotic relationships with our ever disembodied existences – a reality where the truth itself, if there ever was any to begin with, has been hijacked by the inclusive internal logic of capitalism. Everything we consume has already been processed for us, our reactions already predicted and exploited.’ Black vinyl, a non-biodegradable substance made from the global economy’s lifeblood – oil, forms a predominant material in the exhibition, and other materials such as shredded American bank notes and plastic boxes that spew out Buddhist prayer chants simultaneously form the subject and the object of the work. Fine art paintings have been commissioned from Chinese painting factories and snippets of mainstream entertainment are appropriated then remixed and distorted to transmit new absurd and unsettling scenarios.

Butler sees these works as ‘art-cum-cultural-debris’. Expect maniacal processes, bright colours, conceptual feedback loops, the outsourcing of labour, ambiguous political/philosophical commentary and noise.