The Logic of Neoliberalism

The logic of Neoliberalism (2010)
biro on paper, 70X110cm
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 I wanted to depict my deep concerns about living in this type of world which has become even more neoliberal since the economic crash, even though it was neoliberalism that caused the crash. I am deeply concerned about the suffering I think this system is causing, and the further suffering I very much believe it will continue to cause. As always with my artworks, all my concerns relate to the environmental destruction of the world. This is caused by the same system, because it is one that so rapidly consumes and destroys the planet’s resources for reasons of profit. I wanted to depict a system that I think is disastrous for the human race and the planet

The landscape in The Logic of Neoliberalism is dominated by these massive human-like figures. I suppose these figures are supposed to represent a mixture of things. They do have a slight similarity to the way the rich, or capitalists (those who become powerful through the market competition) were caricatured (or drawn) in the 19th and 20th centuries, and although they are supposed to represent the centre of the accumulation of the wealth, they aren’t so much supposed to be individual people, but more representations of the individual.

This is because basically, we live in a society which doesn’t just encourage, but forces us to compete against each other, in a time where there is no longer any emphasis placed on solidarity/togetherness between people, and communities, whilst at the same time all that used to bring people together is taken away from us by companies and sold back to us. What rises up in such human environments is the power of corporations under the disguise of the individual person’s pursuit of economic success. And in a way, this is what these human-like figures are: corporations; like institutions with no one person controlling them and justifying their actions, but based around the idea of the individual having the right to aim for economic success/the right to be wealthy. And this is why they look like empty shells of human figures.

Wrapped around these large human-like bodies are individuals trying their hardest to make their way through this world; trying to achieve a comfortable life. But they look so tired and fed up. This is because they are getting nowhere no matter how hard they try, because only these larger bodies which contain all money (the corporations from which only a small amount people on the planet benefit) continue to soak up the rest of the riches of the world, and expand and expand. These figures are travelling up and down these roads in their isolated vehicles (which I tried to make look like something between a car and an I Pod; which I would argue are two devices which isolate us from our surroundings). They are all alone, in their ‘daily races’ trying to compete with each other in order to just stay afloat, rather than climb up. Below them are small green areas that are fenced off from the places which are even worse off in these times; the people inside want to be secure from the outside; they don’t want to reminded about it because they know that if they don’t keep trying and trying harder, they too could end up at the wrong side of this fence. Also they don’t want to feel threatened by it, knowing that the people on the other side are in much more desperate situations. The people inside have been made very lonely. But these are the people who have at least had the chance to be in the neoliberal game. They are more fortunate that the ones outside these gated areas. The crueleness is captured within the contempt and condescending stance the heathly-looking plant on the right side of the fence has for the battered, dying plant on the wrong side.

Outside, people are even more desperate, they migrate long long distances in search for a living, and security, and the chance to support themselves and their families. These people can either be seen as migrants trying to escape desperate situations, or they could also be seen as the unemployed in richer countries who have little hope of finding work to sustain themselves; either way, the plights these people find themselves in have been caused by the logic of neoliberalism. They are the biggest losers in this world based of competition. This area is also an area environmentally damaged by the logic of a system that exploits and consumes anything and everything in search of profits.

My concerns that not enough was being done to challenge the threat of climate change, brought me to realise why this is as much a socio-political issue as it is an ecological one. Climate change used to be at the foreground in my drawings, but the more I questioned why it was happening, and what little action was being taken, the more the peculiarities of the human world under this system took centre stage in my drawings, and climate change began to loom, threateningly in the background, whilst we humans carried on making our mistakes.

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About John Ledger

A visual Artist, eternal meanderer and obsessive self-reflector by nature, who can’t help but try to interpret everything from within the tide of society. His works predominantly take the form of large scale ballpoint pen landscape drawings and map-making as social/psychological note-making. They are slowly-accumulating responses to crises inflicted upon the self in the perplexing, fearful, empty, and often personality-erasing human world.

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