Norman Gekko is obviously a pseudonym, what can you tell me about him?
The name Norman Gekko personifies an idea. Norman could so easily be ‘no man’ and ‘Gekko’ can be seen as a reference to the small lizard that hides within its surroundings. To describe Norman Gekko as one artist is too simplistic. Norman Gekko should be considered as a concept…a collaborative project. Of course there is an individual who produces the pieces of art but other people input into the works and enable the creative process. So to define Norman Gekko in reference to gender, age or nationality would be missing the point.
What do you mean by “missing the point”? Why does Norman Gekko prefer to remain anonymous?
In today’s social media dominated society everything seems to be in the public domain; very little remains private. A shameless display of ego. In the art world this is also true. Increasingly the artist is placed (or places themselves) as central to or more important than the work that they produce. There is a hunger for information about the artist, fuelled by the media which in turn feeds the artist’s ego. This vicious cycle, where the public are given greater access to the artist and the artistic process; making the artist the very work of his work, creates an environment which is actually hostile to true creativity. As a result the artist’s background, personality and image are often better known than their art.
The greatest artists in history were relatively unknown within their own lifetime. The opposite is true within contemporary art. So in preserving the anonymity of Norman Gekko, the works of art are given back their rightful place. They can be viewed and interpreted without prejudice rather than through a lens narrowed by preconception based on personality and ego. Also this anonymity gives freedom to creative expression. There are no artificial restrictions when it comes to subject matter or style. Norman Gekko is free to explore. For an artist that is hugely liberating!
Does this mean that we won’t be meeting Norman Gekko at any exhibitions in future?
That’s exactly my point! What difference should it make whether someone has met the artist? Does that make the art any better? Will a piece of art be more beautiful or interesting just because you think I’m beautiful and interesting? This is the ridiculousness that pervades the art world today.
Let’s talk about the work then, is there such a thing as a signature style for Norman Gekko?
Certainly there are visual and stylistic similarities evident across the works. Usually we prefer to create three-dimensional works and present them as part of a series. We also work almost exclusively with recovered, recycled objects. The whole idea of giving objects a second life, enabling them to be viewed under a different light is entirely consistent with the concept of Norman Gekko. Likewise the use of trompe-l’oeil techniques, with the inherent difficulties, juxtaposed with the images and motifs which appear simplistic upon first view, fits well with our approach.
Some of the works appear deliberately provocative – does Norman Gekko simply want to shock?
Provoking a discourse is important but most of the works reflect real concerns we have in relation to the future of contemporary society and from this point of view it is right that nothing should escape a critical eye; pollution ("Toxic chance") recycling and ecology ("Beehives") radiation ("Dead planet") social networks ("Thumbs up"), pornography ("Choking hazard"), social or political criticism ("Black power" or " Gun control ") etc ...when it comes to subject matter, it really is a case of anything goes! And yes, some of the series can certainly be viewed as pessimistic or critical but others, such as "Beehives", display a desire to save ourselves from destruction and disappearance. We are not without hope after all!
© Norman Gekko