24 Oct-31 Jan 2004. Marcel Duchamp, with incomparable French wit, destroyed the age-old conventions of western art with one masterful stroke: he planted a moustache in the middle of the face of that most cherished icon of beauty of the west the Mona Lisa. But dear folks, he started acting up well-nigh a century ago. His onslaught on the conventions has now itself become a convention. We've been rattled out of one complacency for so long, we've sunk into another.
So when horse manure in one gallery, and artist's urine in another appeared in Rome all in one week, we yawned. But there is one show, well visited by the with-it crowd, where the post-Duchampian would-be shocks are a wee bit more tickling. There is a fillip, a blunt childlike attack, which satisfies something deep down we didn't know we wanted.
First there was dark-eyed Tracey Emin with the lop-sided smile and funky outfit in person; her monotypes and one of her embroidered blankets on which jittery figures in splintery gawky line are paired with enigmatic titles. Then Kiki Smith who used to make bronzes of hanged or defecating people, then plain tableaux of Little Red Riding Hood, here shows bronzes of weird little children, like demented garden dwarfs. There are also purposefully awkward pencil drawings, of fiercely hoity girls staring straight at you like the inmates of a nut house or as if done by the crazy themselves.
An artist with the lovely name of Cerith Wyn Evans likes to make unlovely and inscrutable colour photos of graffiti and uses other urban detritus.
Of course Ontani is in a class by himself, a latter-day dandy, a one-man art movement. His self-portraits, tinted photographs like religious oleographs, are both melancholy and mischievous. Here he shows himself in ferocious or demure situations - as breasted tiger, as covered by a fleece of chrysanthemums, with beasts in the desert, in voluminous drapes, as a saint, as a mother-wolf sheltering the twins.
On the whole this show provides a kick for the sophisticated: it's dumb, it's mundane, but it's bright and visceral. We're grateful for post-Duchampian fare that's a bit less academic.