In this work, the ‘Blue Man’ – or 20th Century Man, appears as a sex tourist in the company of a sex worker, an all-to-familar scene in South East Asia. He represents a kind of anti-hero: a “degenerate, existential, ex-patriot..who moves gracefully, easily [as] a paragon of indulgence and ease”. Bickerton neither glorifies nor villanizes these characters, but seeks to present them as they are – in a petri dish of ambiguous readings on exploitation and moral or cultural bankruptcy.
Rising to prominence in New York’s East Village scene in the early 1980s, Ashley Bickerton spearheaded an alternative art movement alongside Jeff Koons, Peter Halley, and Meyer Vaisman, heralding a new style of geometric painting that rebelled against Neo-Expressionist trends. In 1993, Bickerton left New York and moved to Bali, Indonesia, where he lives and works today, having observed and experienced radical changes on the island over the last 30 years. Bickerton’s work explores the fantasy of a tropical island paradise and its reality as a de-cultured touristic locale that has been reconstructed to feed the westernized paradise ideal. Bickerton’s work has featured at the 1989 Whitney Biennial and the 44th Venice Biennale (1990), as well as in the public collections of MoMA, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art; and Tate Britain, London, amongst others.
oil and acylic on jute in artist designed wood frame inlaid with Mother of Pearl, bamboo & found objects
222 x 212 x 13.5 cm