Social Distortion

©Peter Halley

Peter Halley
Social Distortion
243.8 x 236.2 cm
acrylic, day-glo acrylic and roll-a-tex on canvas

Peter Hally has been an artist and critic since the 1980s. This drawing has simple shapes such as squares and lines drawn in vivid colours on a canvas larger than two square meters. Even if one approaches the picture and explores colours that spread over the view, it doesn’t appear as if there is something specific, like people or flowers drawn. Yet, once reading the title “Social Distortion”, the impression of the work completely changes.

As we make some distance from the work to capture the entire screen that Harry named "Social Distortion," one might associate tubes extending from the red rectangle in the centre of the drawing to the screen rims (or to a dead end) to the foundations of electronic devices or a programming flowcharts that support information society. Others may associate the tube with the infrastructural network in cities. There might be people who resent society in the red colour of the rectangle in the centre and the black straight lines stretching out to express their resentment against society, interpreting the unfathomable power of trying to escape from the cell. “Social Distortion” might be hidden in various systems that make up and stealthy direct the society the viewer lives in, while it is seemingly orderly as if there is no distortion.

(Commentary: Kaoru Inoue / Translation: Emma Tsuji Harrison)