Joshua Petherick

Joshua Petherick

Work from his oeuvre.

“Joshua Petherick has created a body of work that throws objects and images into orbit around the position Mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur – translated from Latin to mean ‘The world wants to be deceived, so let it be deceived.’

Petherick pulls together a selection of falsities and conceited performances (like a simple magic trick expressed with a silver coin or a glass), and in relation to each other these scenes form an exposition of the substantial human tendency to engage with reality in disguise. Imagery of white magicians’ gloves, upturned drinking glasses and liquefied coins all refer to a human culture of willing self-deception. The collaged material is framed in wooden wine display boxes, a place usually reserved for one of the world’s greatest social lubricants and fertilisers of narrative – alcohol. Petherick conjures references to the surrounding context of Mirka, including in the work a subtle conversation about the bond between aesthetic pleasure, amoral judgements and taste.

Mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur is a dictum credited to the Roman courtier and author Petronius, who lived during the reign of Nero and was described by his contemporaries as an elegantiae arbiter, or an arbiter of taste. He was devoted to sensory impulse and, according to Tacitus, finely skilled in the ‘science of luxury living.’ Petherick discovered Petronius’ short text about deception on a coin held in a collection, coalescing some ongoing interests of the artists, including the use of coins as an object with both determinate and indeterminate features, that attempt to establish meaning through design and repetition, and symbolic tokens of the instability and malleability of currency and value…” – Liv Barrett

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