Aman Sandhu @ CCA, Glasgow

In 'NO MORE ARTISTS', Aman Sandhu's sparse display of works offer impactful insights into the reasons that in 2019, "artist" is an outdated misnomer.

Review by Adam Benmakhlouf | 04 Oct 2019
  • Aman Sandhu @ CCA, Glasgow

A mounted revolvable tin is a prayer wheel. It’s one of a series, that comes from Sandhu’s many service jobs in Glasgow. Mounted on the corner beside the large mantra 'NO MORE ARTISTS', it’s a dignified acknowledgement that the position of 'artist' is more likely to suggest someone working illicitly across a series of jobs to earn a living. 

'NO MORE ARTISTS' is emblazoned across a scanned image of Buddhist sculptures. A juxtaposition is made between sacred artefacts and 'artists', and in the comparison there is the reminder of Modernism’s rabid cultural appropriation of African and Eastern. Contextualised like this, 'NO MORE ARTISTS' is a mantra for the retiring of a politically incorrect professional association with the Western supremacy of Modernism and its simultaneous denaturing and erasure of Eastern, African and Middle Eastern cultures.

A series of three looping videos show Sandhu playing sax with a battle-joy on the Scottish shore as the inclusively named Storm Ali blows in, then he exhaustively slumps in his studio behind a John Baldessari-esque ultramarine dot, and finally hitting himself in the mouth with a prayer wheel and a pained expression. The looping images are of labour: against the gale, to stay awake, to catch the ball of the prayer wheel in his mouth. 

In place of the identifier of 'artist', that more often comes as a release from responsibility (ethical, social, political, civic, historical), what might emerge instead is the necessary hard work for each member of homogenous mass of 'artists' to self-identify and have a clear sense of the parameters and impact of their actions. On the way out by the door (easy to miss), a stack of A3 handouts further furnishes some alternate imaginaries of post-artist practice. In sum and in all caps, number 13 of 49 pieces of advice from curator-founder of the platform Instituting Otherwise, Meenakshi Thirukode: 'DON’T BE AN ASSHOLE'.

Aman Sandhu: NO MORE ARTISTS, Centre for Contemporary Arts, run ended