Carey Young: POWER PLANT CONTEMPORARY ART GALLERY

Article excerpt

Carey Young's Everything You've Heard is Wrong, 1999, documents the artist at the Speakers' Corner in London's Hyde Park, a place practically synonymous with free speech. Standing on a small step-ladder in the middle of a crowd peppered with other orators, including a gesticulating Muslim cleric in white, she distinguishes herself by wearing smart executive attire and attracts passersby with a lecture on how to speak in public. This video--the oldest of the twenty-one works on view in "Counter Offer," Young's recent solo show at the Power Plant and her first major survey--encapsulates the aesthetic strategy for which she is best known: the appropriation and detournement of corporate ideology as critique of the financial, political, and cultural relationships of global late capitalism.

A number of works in this exhibition explore branding and manipulation, such as the video Product Recall, 2007, in which a psychotherapist asks a reclining Young to match from memory names of multinational corporations (many of which are sponsors of art fairs and biennials) with their respective advertising campaigns. Simulating a session of analysis, the artist and her interlocutor exchange words--he pronounces a slogan and she searches for an answer--in a succession of failures that disturbingly prompt the viewer almost involuntarily to come up with the correct responses. In this video Young underscores the economic sector's co-opting of artistic values and creative practices to continually renew and perpetuate its domination of the social world.

Other significant works on view from Young's decade-plus career include Inventory, 2007, a framed graph representing the natural chemical elements present in the artist's body on a particular day, and, on an adjacent wall, the figure [pounds sterling]13,003.23 written large in vinyl, indicating the sum of that day's market prices for the graphed chemical components. (The valuation is also the buyer's price for Inventory.) In the video I Am a Revolutionary, 2001, set in an empty office space, a motivational coach shows the artist how to say the title phrase with the conviction of an activist--needless to say, without success. …