March 2, 2020

What will society sanction?

Simon Humphreys

Oil on canvasRock and Roll pt 2, 202046 x 36 cm

What will society sanction? “Rock and Roll pt 2” as an image coming on the back of a major movie invites discussion and consideration of the strength and impact of both public opinion and sanction. In the recent blockbuster film ‘Joker’ we see an impoverished and disempowered society sanction and celebrate murder. Although based within a comic universe, one which is expectantly dark and foreboding it is important to consider the links between art and culture both positive and negative. The painting depicts the character Joker at a pivotal point within the film. At that moment Joker has stepped into an elevator and is about to descend. Rock and Roll pt 2 by disgraced pop star Gary Glitter begins on the soundtrack. The viewer knows that the Joker has become comfortable with murder and plans to harm himself and others. All is very negative. However the audience has learned a back story, there is sympathy for the Joker. What will society sanction? Can murder be justified. Can the music of convicted criminals be celebrated, depending on conviction. Does society excuse an individuals behaviour should it decide the individuals experiences, reasoning and context inform their actions and give sympathy then sanction?