Stamps of Mass Destruction

James Cauty
Microzine, Bold Street
From 4th August 2006

Reviewed by Alicia Rose

Will Big Ben blow? Empowering visual questions are rightly (and not before time) being generated through concomitant object of arts here in Liverpool city. The Microzine Art Space, Bold Street is at the forefront of this up-to-the-minute arousing provocation as it welcomes new dawn philatelist James Cauty.

Founder member of The Orb, The Jamms, The KLF and The K Foundation, Cauty now rears his vivifyingly artistic head in grand form to exhibit his body of limited edition printworks that push entrance over worn out popular ideas and ‘earth angry’ institutions. James has produced a series of ‘stamps’ of varying shapes, colours, sizes and prices depicting striking imagery such as the three series ‘5-11’ Gunpowder:Treason:Plot, which parades the bombing of London’s Big Ben in ‘blockbuster’ austerity. There is a fantastic image of Her Royal Highness, (better referred to by Cauty as ‘Definitive Liz’), adorned by a gas mask. Will she be the first to get one on her face when the button is pushed? She’s further illustrated quite fetchingly in ‘Full Metal Jacket’ attire.

There are many more extraordinary representations toward a planet ready for ‘burn up’. The stark quality of this exclusive exhibition speaks volumes, and if you want some ‘awakening’ stirring of the old grey matter you would do well to check it over. There’s a twist in the tale too; the artwork had to be taken down when exhibited in London because Royal Mail cited infringement of copyright, however as the story unfolds it is written: ‘Royal Mail have since accepted the copyright issue, perhaps coming round to Cauty’s way of thinking’.

As James says, “Artists steal or borrow things from other artists and shops all the time, its part of the evolution of ideas and normal practice. Copyright was invented by two Belgian lawyers in 1827 as a way of making some extra cash and is now an outdated concept.”

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