Dark Side of Pink: Re-Psycho Re-Punk
This exhibition by Artist Iain Mckell shows 16 colour monographs of an all women neo-native performance tribe living in Tottenham – The RePsychos. Alongside this is an installation of 34 Black and white monographs titled Re-Punk which is a series of unseen monographs from Weymouth and London during the late 70s and early 80s.
Although social documentary is his premise in his work practice, these images transcend into fine art through his close working relationship with his female muses.
The contrasting black and white installation of the Re-Punk series is set against the vivid colours of the Re-Pyscho creatures. The portraits are set against a pink canvas backdrop along side other images shot in the Tottenham Marsh landscape where he has manipulated the sky to a pink hue in order to create a dream like, other worldly and magical atmosphere.
The early works in this exhibition are, imbued with its attitude of punk rather than the literalness of the ‘punk rocker’. This also permeates into the imagery of how that influenced him as a young photographer.
In many ways RePsycho : RePunk reflects Iain’s previous work depicting the attitude from the Punk era but with a Modern and environmental distortion, 40 years later.
Over a lifetime career in between other styles of work he has created a trilogy using the same craft practice and a central aesthetic theme involving a canvas backdrop in an open air / ambient studio with natural light. First the New Romantics with a mottled grey, second the New Gypsies with a turquoise green and now the final in the triptych, the Re-Psychos with a pastel pink.
Iain Mckell through this process aims to portray a celebration of what he finds beautiful. This has evolved out of Iain’s innovative ability to recognise talented individuals and creative qualities inside communities who share a collective consciousness. Through his own eye he enables himself as a portal through the lens into the other worlds of these individuals to whom he feels connected with.
We are the Re-Psychos. We come from future wasteland, the depths of the dystopia. Our planet is a seething landfill. We are consumed in mind and body by remaining filth. where all we have been left with is the plastic of the past. It has become our God, it is all we know. Our Religion is therefore a tangled dichotomy, we both worship it and fear it. Our costumes are scrapped and scavenged from the streets and skips and surrounding woodlands of Tottenham and beyond. From this our band of women has forged an eco-conscious cult with a mission. We have returned to these times to speak the story of our homelands. We tell tales in broken tongue, urge people of the present to re-examine, to recycle and rethink their consumption. To rework and reuse broken or outdated things and to waste less and to care more. To consider what kind of a World they wish to leave behind for the generations of the future.
About Iain McKell
Iain McKell is a London based photographer who having studied graphic design at Exeter College of Art and Design, at 22 decided to leave his job and become a full-time photographer. His first project dates back to 1975 in Weymouth documenting his own life and the environment he grew up in including family, friends, girl friends, people who worked or lived in Weymouth and holiday makers.
McKell has been photographing subcultures since the 1980s, and has since documented various other counter cultures, including Psychedelic Trance in Thailand, Fetish, Druids/Pagans, winter night carnivals in Somerset, London Dandies and American Rockabilly. He has also spent over ten years befriending and photographing a group of New Age Gypsies. The result of this project was the publication of a book and various exhibitions in New York, London, Paris and Milan. Over the years Iain McKell has been known for collaborating with artists such as Boy George, Madonna and Kate Moss and with equally prestigious brands and advertising companies. In 1985 The Photographer’s Gallery invited him to present his one man show exhibition titled LIVE! 85
The Dark Side of Pink: Re-Psycho Re-Punk features Iain McKell’s earliest work from Weymouth and his latest project Re-Psycho, tracing an evolution of subculture in Britain from the 1970s until today.