In a 2014 text published by the UK’s Institute for Precarious Consciousness, titled ‘We Are All Very Anxious’, it is posited that the dominant affect prevalent in contemporary Western society is anxiety. ‘Today’s public secret is that everyone is anxious’, the Institute informs us, going on to say that anxiety – equated here with precarity – ‘leads to generalised hopelessness; a constant bodily excitation without release’. We Are All Very Anxious brings together new and existing works by two native Londoners, Emma Charles and William Mackrell, with that of Haiti-born, London-educated artist Manuel Mathieu. The works of these three, which span the media of video, painting, and installation, investigate the concept of the hypermodern megalopolis, and use London as a springboard to explore how the contemporary City correlates to anxiety and precarity, leading to both bodily and emotional exhaustion.
Emma Charles, William Mackrell, Manuel Mathieu