Spanning works mostly created over the past five years since his last solo exhibition with Gajah Gallery, Junk Anthropologies (2014), Bickerton’s upcoming solo exhibition at Gajah Gallery builds on and incorporates new, fascinating elements to his oeuvre, expressing more complex provocations into the artist’s slippery position as both observer and participator on the island and the intoxicating tourist culture he is perpetually witness to, having lived as a foreigner in Bali since 1993.
Three-dimensional forms fluidly converse with two-dimensional pieces: from relief-like paintings adorned with frames inlaid with actual pearl and bamboo, to refined, haunting sculptures that command presence and unsettle in their ethereal elegance. Yet, arguably the most vivid feature in the show is Bickerton’s audacious assertion of himself in his pieces in the form of an electric blue, alien-like man, depicting himself actively enjoying and indulging in the luxurious, consumptive tourist culture he rejects. Hypercritical of the exoticism pervasive both in his present environment and within western art history, Bickerton implicitly deepens a wedge between himself and his signature ‘blue man’—leaving audiences mystified and questioning the limits of that complicated distance.
Ashley Bickerton, T17nEXP, 2018. Image courtesy of Gajah Gallery.