Art | Need To Now

The artistic upside of the financial downturn

An exhibition of cutting-edge art, made from newspaper clippings

96f604c0-37da-4123-aa4d-5cba142b74f0_sixty_square Ed3feb11-5e6e-4d0f-8298-5288f37d0bd5_sixty_square
The artistic upside of the financial downturn

July 04 2011
Vicki Reeve

How To Spend It introduced the artist Natasha Archdale’s work to its readers over three years ago. Back then, her speciality was expressive and graceful nude portraits of women that used fragments of our very own pink newspaper to build up fleshy tones, often with news clippings that were in some way significant to the sitter.

Now, Archdale is about to mount an exhibition at The Royal Exchange entitled The Financial Animal, which will showcase her latest works, again drawn and collaged with cuttings from the Financial Times (and yes, some other business/financial news journals that we’ll gloss over lightly here). But Archdale has new subject matter and she is tackling weightier subjects, literally and metaphorically: the creatures that dominate our financial landscape. Take her proud, confident, 40in x 60in Bull (first picture; made from FT cuttings), which evokes the swagger of bull markets, while The Bear (second picture; also of FT clips), paws down, reflects investor pessimism during a declining bear market – here you’ll spot famous faces such as Cameron and Osborne, as well as the explosion on the BP rig Deepwater Horizon.

Archdale says: “Whenever possible, I include relevant words and sentences in every cutting. I recreated Gordon Brown’s resignation face using clippings from articles about his political downfall on the day he stepped down.”

But the overall mood of these impressive images (priced from about £5,000 to £15,000) is surprisingly ungloomy and leaves this observer feeling that at least the financial crisis has made for some absorbing art.