Michael Davidge

    My artistic practice is conceptually driven and takes on a multiplicity of forms. Intertextuality is major component of my work, which very often incorporates literary and philosophical allusions as well as direct and oblique references to popular culture. These “quotations” or texts are the communicative elements of my work, which is often formally constructed to impede or delay these communicative elements.

    Pretty Vacancy is a text in neon that marries the Sex Pistols’ song “Pretty Vacant” with a vacancy sign, but it is also the otherwise empty space that it illuminates, setting the stage for the monologue and gestural performance that is occasioned by the piece. Each Pretty Vacancy installation differs slightly from the last due to the conditions of its exhibition and the contingencies of time and space that will influence the extemporaneous characteristics of the monologue and performance.

    By picking up on a Sex Pistols’ phrase and redeploying it, I’m hoping in some way to carry on the tradition of punk rock. But rather than make a claim that there is a direct lineage, my quotation places more emphasis on the space between the Sex Pistol’s text and mine, establishing their difference. All text contains and creates a space between words and worlds, which the reader can inhabit, particularly in the margins. By opening up a space for viewers to traverse, I underscore their performative involvement with work, essentially as characters in the mise-en-scène who contribute to the production of its meaning.

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