Self absorbed, self obsessed, self destructive – all in the rather large small print most artists come with. Except, annoyingly, Jason Shulman.
One night/ early morning sat round a table with the last dregs of a night, while everyone looked like deflated balloons on their way out, Jason and I spoke about his latest instalment for The Door Gallery. The installation titled 'JASON SHULMAN’ is a fairly simple, bit over dramatic, interactive idea. A comedic nipple of a big red button, no one could resist pushing, then following a sudden bolt of light, illuminating a hidden image behind the two way glass and off you trundled into the labyrinth of the piss smelling, neon smog that is lovely Soho, with this ‘word’ etched into your head. ‘It’s meant to sear your retina, strain your rods and cones…it’s what good art should do, I’m fast tracking it, you know. Get there how you can!’
That word was (well I thought) undecided when Jason and I were dribbling vodka and cranberries down our tops the said night. Jason had already created a similar piece with a Solpadine pill ‘I've done 20 years of work from that one pill.’ This new installation could have any word, he had said ‘it could be any three letter word; like dog, for instance.’
Anyway, the conversation went on, and the table around us became more involved in ourconversation. It was decided that Jason wasn’t arrogant enough for an artist; in fact it was unanimously voted on that Jason needed to be decidedly more cocky. And so, when Jason told me the image he decided to burn people’s eyes with was his own name (capital letters he couldn’t find lower case sticky letters) I was euphoric. People would walk off from his installation, with his name being slapped across their brains every-time they blinked – like when you say a word continually so many times it looses its meaning and turns into just a weird noise rather than real digestible language.
‘It was always my intention to use my own name’ Jason told me yesterday when I visited him in his studio. Oh.
That’s the thing about Jason he may be (on the surface) arrestingly nervous; but he’s a silently confident self proclaimed recluse, on numerous occasions I've left his company thinking; ‘How the fuck did he do that’ or just ‘fuckkk’. He’s a brilliant illusionist, a poacher of the imagination, he distorts and sticks a finger right through the rafters of your brain, without you releasing, sans pomp and splendour with the accuracy and precision of a scientist. Actually, come to think of it, bemusing, confusing and side splittling-ly amusing. Jason Shulman and his work is all a bit of a head fuck. And there is nothing more addictively masochistic than art that’s a head fuck.