Wednesday, 7 July 2010


Ed Young, Still from It's not easy (2004)


25 January – 9 March 2008

Hollywood Remix presents the work of South African artist Ed Young and Mexican artist Artemio, both of whom take material from Hollywood blockbusters and re-fashion it to novel or comic effect. Appropriating sound and images from mainstream cinema, their humorous re-workings create thought-provoking, irreverent videos.

Young’s video It’s not easy (2004) takes scenes from the Superman films of the late 1970s and early 1980s to depict the super-hero as a real man wracked by anger, despair and self-doubt, and subject to the familiar hardships of family breakdown and heartache. The video plays to a soundtrack of It’s not easy by American band Five for Fighting, a song that became an unexpected hit in the United States when it was taken up as a popular anthem following the terrorist attacks of September 2001. Acknowledging that 'one cannot neglect the global political climate', Young has also described how the video had a more personal significance: 'It was meant to be a sort of apology for all the bad art I had shown in Cape Town; it was a self portrait.'

Artemio similarly plays with popular or culturally iconic images. Working in photography, performance and video, he characterises himself as ‘a pirate, a thief... more of a punk rocker than a pop singer.’ For Hollywood Remix, he presents two short videos, Apoohcalypse Now (2002), a re-working of the epic Vietnam movie as told by Winnie the Pooh, and Gladiator (2004), where a demented Russell Crowe fights a phantom opponent in Rome's deserted Colosseum.

Both artists exhibit deeply ambivalent attitudes to American culture, and use humour in their work as a vehicle for re-aligning our perceptions or launching subversive critique. For Ed Young, comedy is a means for ‘creating discomfort’, while Artemio views humour as ‘the inevitable and most central factor in my work’, serving to undermine the dominant influence of American popular culture.

Ed Young was born in South Africa in 1978. He lives and works in Cape Town. Artemio was born in Mexico in 1976. He lives and works in Mexico City.


Hayward Gallery / Southbank Centre website

Ed Young feature at

Watch Artemio's Apoohcalypse Now

Artemio, Still from Apoohcalypse Now (2002)