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– Autumn/Winter 2001

Style and Council: Cerith Wyn Evans and the Devastation of Meaning

Liam Gillick

Cerith Wyn Evans, 'has the film already started?', DVD projector, CD, CD player, helium baloons, brick, string and potted plants, dimensions variable; installation, Georg Kargl, Vienna, 2001. Courtesy the artist and White Cube, London.

Cerith Wyn Evans, 'has the film already started?', DVD projector, CD, CD player, helium baloons, brick, string and potted plants, dimensions variable; installation, Georg Kargl, Vienna, 2001. Courtesy the artist and White Cube, London.

Paul Weller in mid-career, at a turning point in relation to his music years, but earlyish in relation to the kind of generational timing common around art. Paul Weller in a Style Council moment, in his early twenties but bearing the light weight of a nostalgia trick that helps him to look both older and younger simultaneously.

Seen on television, in one of those clips-and-cuts programmes that very occasionally suspend you and leave thoughts hanging towards a moment where the details take over, where it is possible to define some pop-cultural time schedules and genealogies anew, when some slippages meld with temporal slides into brief flashes of inter-connectivity. There is little sense of quality in this television format, availability and half-researched meanderings overwhelm the pop-up video breakthrough, sifting with a nostalgia net that catches big ones as well as sprats. Eco-musicologically unsound. Highlighting a requirement for dolphin-friendly nostalgia. So here we are again, sitting in a small room in a small country. Paul Weller standing there, one leg vibrating in a tensed paroxysm of gender-specific neurosis. It will suffice in place of a more articulate body language. He speaks through his clothes and his loyalty to a plain but talented keyboard player. The background is vague and the audience mixed. The whole thing shows off a multiplied image of conflicting references, a pulsating portrayal of mimed intensity. And look carefully for a second at what Paul Weller is wearing. Some mod things. Things that can be worn by a thin person with conviction. A sweater, a piece of Italian knitwear. A resuscitation of that peculiar moment just after rock and before hippies, when Continental was mainstream, a