Extravagant European art duo Dormice (pronounced door-mee-chay) make their debut at The Outsiders London gallery in October 2012.
‘Principle 54’ is the first time Dormice have exhibited the paintings that the pair have kept for themselves rather than distribute through galleries. Dormice’s paintings are heavily influenced by the international style media and often use its high-impact cover pictures for inspiration, contrasting these images’ own augmented reality with dreamlike background vistas. In other instances Dormice transpose the sybaritic visual language of 21st century lifestyle photography into their own adaptations of iconic paintings, such as Manet’s Olympia and Déjuner sur L’Herbe. “It is intended as if Manet, for example, were alive and painting these pictures today,” says one half of Dormice, Heinrich Nicolaus. The artists’ contemporary contrasts are arresting to say the least, ret-conning the historical shock value of the original paintings.
The exhibition’s title ‘Principle 54’ refers to a clause in the artists’ own working charter. “Our ‘principle 54’ states that we should do the opposite of what we are ‘supposed to do, going against the flow, stealing from other artists and directly including their work in ours,” says Heinrich. By glorifying high fashion and the commodification of the female body, or comparing modern pornography to the erotic work of master painters, Dormice provoke the more priggish elements of the metropolitan art scene. Equally, they provide a red-blooded celebration of contemporary living. “We are just here, like animals, living the moment,” say Dormice of their work and their process which they compare with making music: spontaneous and joyful but with grooves and melodies that are not only designed to appeal, but also form idiosyncratic and memorable compositions.