In March, the ABSOLUT ORIGINALS series featuring pioneers of contemporary art and design throughout Europe will turn the spotlight on Angus Fairhurst, one of a group of multi-talented graduates who in the late-1980s launched themselves on the art world as the Young British Artists - with capital letters. Fairhurst was born in the English county of Kent in 1966 and studied at Goldsmiths College in London, the melting pot of creativity in British art which spawned a group of renegades who, in the words of one critic, "shifted the centre of cultural gravity away from the established gallery enclave and wrested the onus of publicity and display from the hands of official and commercial gallery culture." Their rise to fame (and sometimes infamy) was meteoric, and by the end of 1995, Fairhurst and his contemporaries - including Gary Hume, Georgina Starr and Tracey Emin - had taken their anarchic message across the Atlantic and were wowing the Americans with the suitably in-your-face entitled show, "Brilliant!". The spirit of collaboration lives on. Fairhurst shares his studio - and his home - with fellow artist Sarah Lucas, has made videos with Damien Hirst (A'Couple of Cannibals Eating a Clown), and, like all those who have appeared before him in the ABSOLUT ORIGINALS collection, seems determined to stretch the parameters of his art. Nowhere is this more apparent than in his Low Expectations series of works which merge music, new technology and the visual arts. His Low, Lower and Lowest Expectations paintings were worked out on his Apple Mac and conceived as track title videos for three CDs of the same name featuring looped rock and pop samples. The logical next step? To stage a live performance, of course and where better than as support band for art school-trained Jarvis Cocker's Pulp at London's revered rock venue, Brixton Academy? Fairhurst's group, Low Expectations, comprised a bunch of his artist friends who merely mimed to the music for a baffled audience. Their next "gig" added an extra dimension: a double-screen video projection of Fairhurst's computerised animations formed visual loops to correlate with the music. The resulting aural and visual assault drove half the audience away, but left the correspondent for the art magazine, Freize, happy: "By putting art into a more mainstream format, Fairhurst successfully made the jump between high and low, conflating the ivory tower of the gallery space and the mosh pit of the concert venue." Fairhurst's well-known "badly made and ill-fitting gorilla suit as a comic cipher" - an extension of the gorilla that appears in many of his often disturbing cartoon drawings - was the star of the video in the "Lowest Expectations" show, which managed to combine so many of the media and elements he has used and included in his work: computer animation, film and experiments with sound. Another of his favourite preoccupations, the plastic label tags attached to the merchandise in clothes shops, take on, in the words of the artist, "a life of their own" on April 5, when they are utilised in his interpretation of the famous Absolut bottle and Angus Fairhurst becomes the seventh artist in the Absolut originals series, which runs in TIME Magazine until the end of the millennium.
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