Like the green fig tree is the third and final exhibition curated by M I L K, an artist collective based in Newcastle, as part of their takeover of Workplace, Gateshead. Drawing influence from a Sylvia Plath quote, this exhibition examines how, in a world where information is so readily available, we find ourselves in the midst of a precarious, confusing and uneasy global situation.
The selection of artists involved make works that reference the failings of society and the culture of illusion, confusion and desensitisation that pervade it. In Like the green fig tree the breakdown of image, technology and political systems all come under particular scrutiny. The framework in position whose job it has been to explain and clarify has failed us, and left us where we are now, unsure of the future and of our place in history – resonating the uneasy feeling that we might, in fact, be at the end of it altogether.
“I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this figtree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.”
Sylvia Plath, excerpt from The Bell Jar