Conservatism kills

Ash, graphite powder and primers on linen canvas
41 x 75 x 24 cm
Courtesy of the artist

Utilising three pre-stretched and pre-coated commercial canvases, typically favoured by hobbyists or weekend artists, joined together, Conservatism kills emulates the style of mandatory warnings found on cigarette packs. It is a spin on the notorious ‘Smoking Kills’ phrase, recontextualised to critique a pervasive and arguably more perilous mindset.

The canvases, once unified, were further treated with several layers of diverse primers (incorporating five different types). The inscribed text was crafted from a blend of cigarette ash, graphite powder, and a transparent acrylic medium to secure the pigments to the painting.

The triptych, emblematic of classical art, paired with the statement ‘conservatism kills’, presents a delightful juxtaposition. The restrained use of black and white colours, coupled with the Helvetica typeface – which, though now ubiquitous, was once a rare find in typesetting and thus became a symbol of culture during the second half of the 20th century – further underscores a discourse of conservative standardisation masked as elegance.


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Special thanks to Béatrice & Alain Fouray.

Copyright © 2023 Arthur Fouray.
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