Lana De Jager - '(un)civilisation'

Wednesday 18 July - Sunday 12 August 2018 

Click here for artwork by Lana de Jager

‘Modern civilisation’ feels like an oxymoron in an age where inhumanity seems to be more widespread than ever before. Within the broader culture of our civilisation, our subcultures can serve as havens from cruelty but are, sometimes, also places of even more pressure. These pressures are applied in subtle and not so subtle ways within family, work or social groups.

We face a daily negotiation with the rules and structures within our subculture to ensure we fit somewhere in this civilisation. Combine that with our individual experience of our upbringing as well as a personalised relationship with social and corporate media and it becomes clear just how complex our environments are.

Privately, we have an ‘internal civilisation’ - ways we believe the world works, fits together and what refinement looks like. Publicly, it’s as if there’s a script and we’ve all agreed to act from it together. Even to rebel against it has a script-like feel. It has become increasingly difficult to identify non-essential behaviour proposed or determined as essential by our subculture.

Part of the feeling we get from the grind of our specific subculture is that we are helpless to break away from that grind: that we’re somehow trapped within it. We make all sorts of excuses not to have to think for ourselves or fight for a new way that would benefit us and ultimately others caught in this grind. We are held hostage by a culture to which we contribute. We take part in rituals that might ultimately exploit us.

In this collection of works, Lana de Jager has magnified or objectified objects in the way of the media or advertising poster. These are some of the pressures of her ‘internal civilisation’. These are things that make De Jager wonder: how do you dismantle an internal civilisation without being irresponsible or undoing yourself?