Neon Migraine: A solo show of works by Zandra Stratford

5 - 21 September 2019

Stratford’s new body of work, Neon Migraine, is a testament to adolescent onset urbanism. For those who grow up outside a small handful of major cities, we were each given our own New York, our own Los Angeles, our own London - a collage of music videos and adverts and film clips, complete with narratives and emotional relationships with landmarks. The pieces are reminiscent of the blur of a speeding tube or subway train you didn’t catch, hurtling past your out-of-the-loop emergence from childhood, accompanied by a chorus of impossibly saturated, newly mass-produced dayglo pigments. In the worst moments of the Cold War (we were even given our own Berlins to consume) Bowie defied the fallout-shelter-pessimism of the era with Let’s Dance and its embrace of an analog-glitched saxophone nostalgia, post-modernism, and Memphis leopard-prints. Stratford plays with that moment and brings its tensions and lines of inquiry into the present. Her earlier work was rooted firmly in a sense of space: interstitial zones of human passage, where advertising is stacked and obscured and abraded and revealed, the scuff of traffic and the tactile nature of “where” unpacked and explored in detail. With Migraine, she takes a similar approach to the notion of time – still irrefutably urban, with visible architectural skylines, but rooted in a moment as commercial and playful as a double handful of Swatch watches circa 1986.