Its Called Art Mum, Look It Up
UNTIL 22nd AUGUST
The 21st century girls who feature in Polly Nor’s popular illustrations are ‘facing their demons’. Or hugging their demons, or trapping their demons in a cage and hoping no-one sees the crazy.
The title It’s Called Art Mum, Look it Up is inspired by the hoards of, usually teenage, girls who’s mums wouldn’t let them buy Polly’s ‘weird’ merchendise. It builds upon her first solo show, Sorry Grandma: An Exhibition of Obscene Illustrations by Polly Nor, in 2015. And it’s not just the teenage girls who heavily relate to the behind-closed-door versions of themselves, scrolling through instagram on the toilet, and the sassy titles they come with: Learned How to Hide my Crazy , The Devil Wears Nada and Babe You’re Going to be Fine (illustrated above) which unquestionably must be pronounced as ‘baaaaaaaabbeeeee, youre gunna be fiiiiiiiiinnnneeeeeeeeee’
Polly Nor credits the ‘gram for her gateway into the art world, “you no longer have to be some old rich guy represented by a big gallery for people to see your work”. Instagram allows artists such as Polly to self-publish, self-curate and make their own decisions on what they want to make, thus totally circumventing the big boys art club.
The current exhibition at Shoreditch’s Protein Studios features the illustrations that Polly is known and loved for, as well as a few more experimental sculptures; Shedding Skins is a rack of latex human skin suits which hangs in the middle of the room, whilst papier mâché giant devil arms Tempted to Touch make a nice accompaniment to the digital illustrations- as if they’d come to life. Of course the cherry on top is the installation Green Room – a recreation of the bedroom straight from Polly’s world, which was also shown at Secret Garden Party. Exhibition go-ers have fully embraced the spirit of this bedroom; rifling through the wardrobe and the human skinsuits that hang within it (also spot the chia seeds and the Veet – it’s like she’s peered into my soul) getting into bed and taking selfies in the mirror.
Female sexuality, a topic that is covered heavily in Nor’s illustrations, is still a taboo subject but in this exhibition it becomes a taboo that everyone can talk about. Polly, who once refused a proposal from PornHub to work together on an adult colouring book, has really peered into every one of our bedrooms and invited everyone else into hers.
See Polly’s insta here
Check out her supercool phonecases here.
The Green Room (Installation, 2017)
The Green Room, 2017