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Ray Cook - Money Up Front and No Kissing

18 March – 17 April 2011

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“I’m quite happy being a pervert. Equality seems like containment to me.”

This beautiful and enigmatic exhibition is an elegy for what is lost when the outcast becomes assimilated. For decades the gay liberation movement had struggled for egality on the basis of sexual preference. Ray Cook had lived through the underground hedonism of the 70s, the gut-wrenching loss of friends to Aids in the 80s and the accommodation of living with HIV in 90s. With these experiences came a radical Queer politics that celebrated difference and viewed this creeping legitimacy with deep suspicion. For him identity had become just another commodity in the Neo-Liberal economy.

So, while others were rejoicing in their new equality, Ray Cook made these evocative images in the shifting shadows of his secluded back yard. Celebrating the sexual potency of ambiguity and the freedom that lies beyond the pale, the images wrap a tough politics of resistance within a sensuous visual poetry.