Often
compared to Jean Michel Basquiat, Jonathan Meese’s graffiti-like
paintings are infused with rebellious zeal. Overlapping with
reference to modernist primitivism, and shamelessly colluding
in their own image-hype, Meese’s self-portraits play with
the concept of artist as both revolutionary and contemporary
anti-hero. Arising from a faux-puerile sense of play, Meese’s
colours seem haphazardly applied, forms etched out with a
staged adolescent malice. Furnishing his work with an amateur
aesthetic – equivalent to drive-in movies, and dime-store
thrillers – his work embraces the values of individualism
and anarchy as a political force. In Leninja Warmonch, Meese’s
satirical horns and nose ring don’t deface the portrait, rather
the image is a disfigurement itself: an authoritarian icon
of derision, gaining its power from its own ugly ridiculousness.

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