Appropriation and institutional critique take a central role within Merlin Carpenter’s practice. In his work, Carpenter analyzes the boundaries between art and its market whilst blatantly mocking the institution itself through physical works as well as performances, essentially attempting to degrade the pretentions of so called “high art” by means of polemical dialogue.
For his series,’The Opening’, Carpenter delivered stretched, primed canvases to the gallery, to be installed blank on the walls. He would then paint them during the exhibition’s opening reception, daubing cod-marxist slogans such as BANKS ARE BAD, KUNST = KAPITAL and DESTROY NEO-LIBERALS onto them, the text spilling off the canvas onto the wall around it. More recently an exhibition in Miami featured 37 knock-off Burberry-pattern rugs stretched as ready-made canvases, in a succinct gesture of self-critique.
Merlin Carpenter was born in the UK in 1967. He lives and works in London. He has had solo exhibitions in major institutions in the United States and in Europe, these include the Bergen Kunsthall in Norway and the Vienna Secession. Carpenter has also participated in numerous international group shows, such as at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, the Whitechapel Gallery in London and the current exhibition at Kunsthalle Düsseldorf (SONIC YOUTH etc.: SENSATIONAL FIX), which will run until 10 May 2009. Published monographs on the artist include Nueva Generación, (Distrito 4, Madrid, 2004) with an essay by Melanie Gilligan and As a Painter I Call Myself the Estate of (Secession, Vienna, 2000).