Studio Voltaire presents David McDiarmid’s Rainbow Aphorisms, a series of public works shown intermittently across sites in Clapham and Brixton, in partnership with This is Clapham and Art on the Underground. Over the course of a year, artworks will appear at various locations including neighbouring LGBTQ+ venue Two Brewers, the façade of Studio Voltaire, Brixton Underground station, and other temporary locations.
David McDiarmid (1952–1995) was an Australian artist, designer and activist, recognised for his prominent and sustained artistic engagement in issues relating to queer identity and history. Rainbow Aphorisms are a series of printed multiples, produced from 1993 until the artist’s death in 1995 of AIDS–related illnesses. McDiarmid produced these works in response to his own, and his community’s, experience of the AIDS crisis, and the multiple forms of devastations it manifests –political, emotional, intellectual and medical.
In the Rainbow Aphorisms’ series, the artist was fascinated by the power of the aphorism to contain a whole conceptual and cultural world. Bold san–serif texts are superimposed on a ground of full spectrum rainbow colours. McDiarmid’s pithy textual observations are used to evoke the coded world of gay male subcultures in large western cities. The works employ an encoded camp and hip sensibility to convey ferociously witty messages, foregrounded by sugary colours. Whilst some works reference the virulence of tabloid newspapers responses to AIDS and become ironic statements, others are poignant and melancholic observations of the devastating effects of the disease.
This is the first solo institutional presentation of McDiarmid’s work in the UK, and the inaugural art in the public realm project delivered by Studio Voltaire in partnership with This is Clapham.
Rainbow Aphorisms is on at Studio Voltaire, 1A Nelson’s Row, SW4 7JR from November 1st 2017 – November 1st 2018. Times: Wednesday – Sunday 12 – 6pm. Admission: Free. Phone: 0207 622 1294
Plus: Two Brewers, 114 Clapham High St, London SW4 7UJ; Brixton Underground Station, Brixton Rd, Brixton, London SW9 8HE