Burn the Furniture to Heat the House brings into relief the brief glimpse of stability that occurred between two defining moments: the fall of the Soviet Union and the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In this optimistic time, a disconnection formed between the precariousness of the world and ourselves, and we became complacent, imbued with a false sense of security. The sculptures in this exhibition are about the abrupt end of this complacency, the surge in ad hoc/insecure modes of living, a scrabble for resources, and the artists’ place within all this.
Joe Shaw (born 1990, Mansfield, Notts) is an artist based in Newcastle upon Tyne who makes performative sculptures and installations. His works use recognisable, everyday objects and often plastic or low quality materials to comment on the mechanism of disposability built into post-millennium society. Shaw’s lo-fi aesthetic and materials draw attention to the increased precarity surrounding modes of employment, housing, politics and our natural environment. The sculptures are used as a vehicle to both scrutinise the art-world and spoof fragile masculinity using a language of dry wit and black humour.