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Anarchy in Mayfair: ashes of punk on show at gallery

Coffin full of burnt remains of punk-related artefacts is response to movement being ‘hijacked by corporations and the Establishment’

04 May, 2018

A coffin full of the burnt remains of Joseph Corré’s punk artefacts

GOT £6 million to spare? Fancy buying the most punk-ish bit of art such funds could buy?

If so, head down to the Lazinc Gallery in Mayfair, which has on display a rather fetching piece of art created by Joseph Corré with a little help from Alabama Three musician Nick Reynolds and a box of matches.

Corré had commissioned death mask sculptor Nick to cast one of his father, Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren – and this is part of the show that features a coffin full of the burnt remains of a collection of extraordinary punk-related artefacts.

Corré, the co-founder of clothing firm Agent Provocateur, used the 40th anniversary of the release of Anarchy in the UK in November 2016 to set alight his entire collection of punk memorabilia. It included plenty of bondage-style outfits, Johnny Rotten’s trousers and a Sid Vicious doll.

Malcolm MacLaren’s death mask

Corré had always been critical of the way punk had been shamelessly exploited and commercialised, so he torched the lot. At the time, he said: “With Virgin punk credit cards, Punky McNuggets, punk Fairy Liquid, bondage trousers from Louis Vuitton and punk car insurance, something needed to be done to put a stop to the rot.”

His answer was to commit to flame various knick-knacks he had collected down the years.

But now the pile of ashes has been recast as a piece of art, Diary understands.

Joe Corré

“This expensive pile of ash commemorates the demise of punk but also society as we know it,” Corré states. “Punk was hijacked by corporations and the Establishment, its potency rendered meaningless,” so now he says he has “hijacked it back” by torching it all and putting it on display.

He says his punk artefacts needed to be “destroyed”, adding: “Punk is dead, it is used by corporations to offer people an illusion of an alternative choice to sell them something they don’t need. It’s been hijacked but I’ve hijacked it back and we can now use that opportunity to see things for what they really are. Now we’re talking about the value of ash.”

And if someone should come along and cough up to buy the odd artwork, the money will go towards anti-fracking campaigns and to youth work charities – perhaps not that punk, but still, a very good cause to burst forth from the ashes of Johnny Rotten’s drainpipes.

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