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Ashley Bickerton challenges the popular global construction of the tropics as perfection, where surfing, drugs and parties in beachside tourist villas provide a homogenised experience of the exotic. Living on the island of Bali, he parodies this drunken myopia in his photocollages and sculptures, presenting such glut and excess as an artifice. Just as Gauguin ‘sampled’ Polynesian exotica, so do Bickerton’s caricatures ‘perform’ ideas of the tropical. An introductory essay by Nick Stillman highlights these themes in Bickerton’s work, while the artist’s conversation with artist, curator and writer Harland Miller explores the idea of the island as man, home and retreat.
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Ashley Bickerton was born in Barbados in the West Indies in 1959. He studied at the California Institute of the Arts before moving to New York, and became one of the ‘Fantastic Four’ along with Jeff Koons, Peter Halley and Meyer Vaisman. Their work, known as ‘Neo-Geo’, caused a sensation, and the next few years proved intoxicating for Bickerton. Over the last twenty-five years, Bickerton has exhibited throughout Europe and America and his work is in several public art collections.
Recent solo shows include Sonnabend Gallery, New York, 2004; Singapore Tyler Print Institute, Singapore, 2006 and Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York, 2008. Bickerton took up residency at the Singapore Tyler Print Institute where he created a series of complex works with multi-layered mixed media such as lithography, monoprint, digital print, cast paper and assemblage. His work was also featured in an East Village USA retrospective at the New Museum of Contemporary Art New York, 2004; Tomorrowland: CalArts in Moving Pictures, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2006; The Fractured Figure, Deste Foundation, Athens, 2007 and SAND: Memory, Meaning, and Metaphor, The Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, New York, 2008.