ASHES TO ASHES: Never one to shy away from publicity, Joe Corré has taken pieces of his punk memorabilia that he burned in 2016 and created works of art that are on display at the Lazinc gallery in London.
“This expensive pile of ash commemorates the demise of punk but also society as we know it,” said Corré during the opening of the Ash From Chaos exhibition on Thursday. “Punk was hijacked by corporations and the establishment, its potency rendered meaningless. 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.”
Two years ago, Corré joined his mother in West London to set fire to his punk memorabilia collection. The burning ritual took place in the year that London celebrated the 40th anniversary of punk, with a calendar of events from institutions including the Museum of London, the British Library, the British Film Institute, the British Fashion Council, the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Mayor of London.
There are four works on display, including a triptych of framed pieces filled with the burnt memorabilia and slogans such as “Apathy in the U.K.,” “Ash From Chaos” and “Know Future.” There is also a coffin filled with charred fragments that’s set alongside a screen playing a video with scenes of fire and environmental destruction. The works will be on display until April 28.
Corré stated that the lot would be priced at six million pounds, but he wants to see how it goes and is also thinking of hosting a traveling exhibition. Proceeds from the sale will benefit Humanade charity, which helps the fight against fracking. The money will also go to support London youth organizations and environmental protection.
Corré said he wanted to have a conversation about price and value “by saying you’re going to burn something worth five million pounds, and then turning it into something more potent worth six million. We know the price of a house, but we don’t know the value of a home, and I take that metaphorically to think about our home as our world, natural environment, our children’s future and the responsibility we have to look after it.”
Separately, he said he’s working on a film about the punk memorabilia burning project, which he hopes to unveil this summer. “That would be the thing that really explains the detail and all the reasons for what’s happened, and everyone’s reactions to it.”