I know, I know: “Drawings to make me think? I hate thinking! Can’t I have some drawings that’ll help stop me thinking?” But look, hear us out.
These fifteen drawings by Al Margen are all stylised, surrealist portrayals of what the artist views as the ills of society, and if you’re going to think about stuff, they’re not a bad choice of stuff to go with. For one thing, they’re pretty cool drawings in and of themselves – lovely but disturbing, beautifully rendered but quite unsettling in effect.
For another thing, they are marvellously pithy visual summaries of the issues that Margen is taking aim at. The old “picture worth a thousand words” adage really true here – the ability of an image to be so much more impactful and succinct than elaborate verbiage demonstrated.
Some are more obvious than others, of course: the man lighting the wick of the bomb inside him, or the woman climbing a staircase of cash to a giant’s crotch, are probably going to smack you in the face with their message harder than, say, the woman picking a face off a coathanger or the schoolboy with the giant finger on his head that is protruding from a mass of school subjects or…something. Some will indeed make you go “what’s all that about?”
And some will make you go, “Know what, Al Margen? I reckon you’re a bit off-base on this one, mate.” I mean, not everyone agrees that nude selfies are the end of the world. But they WILL make you think. And let’s be honest, that’s not a bad outcome, all things considered.