Lives of the Artists, 2014
Taking its title from the pioneering Renaissance work by Giorgio Vasari, Lives of the Artists investigates the concept of artist biography in the internet age.
Compiled from information returned by a six-month automated Google search, the grid of profiles comprises all (and only) those people who meet the search criteria, and presents them for our scrutiny. Further artists are featured as Good attempts to map out and make sense of the seemingly limitless amount of online content.
Lives of the Artists does not obediently follow the accepted categorical norms and subjective selectivity of conventional biographical compendia, choosing instead the equally problematic approach of inclusive egalitarianism and undifferentiated searching.
It Doesn’t Have to Be Like This, 2014
It Doesn’t Have to Be Like This, comprises a series of jigsaw puzzles painstakingly assembled into a new visual configuration, confounding expectation and disobeying the ‘rules of the game’. The resultant work creates a fresh and surprisingly pleasing visual hit, an abstract colour array freed from the need to make sense or tell a story. The pieces no longer fit precisely, but this tumbling looseness creates an openness and sense of new possibility.
At the heart of this endeavour is a refusal to accept the solution being offered. The construction of a new array of pieces is surprisingly difficult to do, so the work requires a stubborn insistence and perseverance, plus a belief that an alternative outcome is possible. The revised outcome may not be as structured or as coherent, but perhaps in some ways it is more honest, open and refreshing.
Robert Good works with image, text and installation to investigate the frailties of language and the treachery of knowledge.
Good uses strategies of both accumulation (collecting, assembling) and simplification (sorting, extracting, tidying) to prod and probe at systems and structures: blending doubt with a desire for certainty that creates a fault line throughout his work. Resisting the too-easy refuge of irony, however, his reluctance to commit is instead shot through with humour, celebration and optimism.