“I believe in Capitalism” Exhibited in The Working Artist exhibition

 

 
 

 
 

 

“I believe in Capitalism”

It is hard to explain the motives behind my work without dragging the explanation into an intensely political and, sometimes, personal debate. My works are the tip of the ice-berg of my thoughts, and they take time to emerge in my mind; resulting in a feeling of great relief. My doodles have no choice but to become murals, as I try to match the size of my concerns. The act of creating for the sake of creating used to be enough to de-throne my looming concerns, but over the last few years, my work has taken a much more direct and polarised stance; as the act of creating, by itself, ceased to be enough.

The work for this show represents what I see as a realisation, and finale, of all my sketches and writings, from the past 10 years, becoming more direct and solid as I reached the decade’s end.

 

I believe in Capitalism” is almost a showcase of what I have become during the past 10 years. The large drawing piece is explicit in how direct it is, as it organises and crystallises the ‘budding’ of my thoughts and ideas from the past decade.

The title quote was taken from an interview with a banker on the BBC during this recession. Its usage is ironic. However, there remains a suspicion that my inner drives still do believe in Capitalism. Thissuspicion is consistent throughout the book Going nowhere, writing letters to nobody, which forms part of this piece of work. Nevertheless this accumulation of drawings and writings, which go far in explaining my becoming during the past decade, also leads to a conclusion of an apparent massive dissatisfaction with my life, and society as such, under this system and an urgent desire for a massive societal change; in doing this the book has become a manifesto of my life so far.

The School desk, the chair and the book, face the drawing as if it was a teacher’s blackboard. This suggests, an education system which rears a society’s children for the benefit of the growth of Capitalism, but it also suggests the possibility of re-learning; being educated to perceive the world differently; which, judging on humanity’s predicament in the early parts of the 21st century, may be essential for forthcoming generations.

 

On the drawing

My drawings require me to undergo shifts of manual labour; seemingly endless daily repetition. I could be almost undertaking a factory duty, and sometimes I feel like I am using a production method which rivals, in scale of input, that of the mass produce of the system I am trying to stand up to. For this task, the sturdy, bog-standard, office-like nature of the ordinary biro seems fitting.

The landscape of “I believe in Capitalism” shows the insanity of proceeding with a system which is only 
sustainable in the kind of dream-like world actually fabricated by the system to keep the masses as

“Glazed-eyed passive citizens”. The conglomerate of the richest cities’ skyscrapers looks for this very world.

Reaching into the sky, its searchlight looks out for a place that doesn’t exist, whilst destroying the only thing

we humans currently do have: a life on this planet. Directly below the skyscrapers, The Alpha Forest - a

habitat of rampant materialist individualism of a million voices all trying to be heard like a million trees all

vying for sunlight - blocks out any alternative, making the citizens willfully accept that “this is the only way”.

Below The Alpha forest, the advancing consequences of this all-consuming system become more and more

tragic, until we finally find the doom-laden waves which carry the Easter Island heads, reminding us of the

tragedies that befell their island when its inhabitants outstripped the island’s resources, resulting in conflict

and a deserted island. Are we recreating the Easter Island Catastrophe but on a global scale?







The Working Artist is a group exhibition currently showing in Barnsley town centre. 10am - 4pm, tuesday to saturday, MAYDAY GREEN.

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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