January 13 -23, 2022
Five Years Gallery, London
Curated by Tom Cardew & Aled Simons
When I was at primary school, I would walk around in a little suit and tie carrying a little briefcase and demand that the kids in my class sign contracts placing themselves in my debt financially, materially and most importantly, spiritually. I would bang my fist on the table at the same time as making my way through those gobstoppers that were, realistically, too big for an eight year old. I was a strange boy. SPaG (spelling, punctuation and grammar) wasn’t my strong suit. I was better at compound interest and quantitative easing. The contracts with my ‘clients’ quickly backfired. My form teacher found a loophole in the small print. I remember that big, wide grin on his face. I thought I’d recited the Welsh poem, “Mynd i'r Dre,” correctly. Little did I know, then and there, that I would be in the debt of my classmates long into the future. But, rather than quit whilst I was marginally behind, I did it all over again. And again. And again. Year 5. Year 6. Year 7. It was a heady drug. A compulsion. I loved nothing more than shouting “deal or no deal” into the faces of the other pupils in my formclass. Through those years, my interest in smallprint, unfortunately, did not flourish. I was too busy getting those sweet deals. I couldn’t resist. My debts swelled. I ended up in the pocket of hundreds of little, yet proportionally similar sized bastards. They’d won. I’d lost. But, I always tried again. Always on the wrong side of success. Always with my little briefcase in hand. You might have realised that I’m not great at describing curatorial themes. You might take the above as a subtext of sorts as to why I have brought together this group of artists working in performance of improvised and scripted stories that dance with failure, and repeat their own interests.
Childhood debts by Tom Cardew.