We didn’t start the fire

2020, VOLT, EASTBOURNE

IMAGES COURTESY  Mitsi Moulson

VOLT is delighted to present a solo exhibition by London-based painter and installation artist Bex Massey. We Didn’t Start the Fire brings together a selection of recent paintings and site-specific work that explore the disparity between the sexes from its inception in Ancient Greek myth to its pervasion of celebrity culture. 
 
The title of the exhibition is a riff on the classic song by Billy Joel, and the story of Prometheus stealing fire from the Gods. As a punishment for this impertinent act, Zeus created Pandora and her eponymous Box.  Zeus knew that no mortal could resist the temptation of opening the box which contained a plethora of evils. As anticipated Pandora unlocked the vessel and its ignoble contents launched out into the world. Despite the roles of men as instigators in the story, the blame has been firmly cast on Pandora and therein womenkind forevermore. 
 
This myth acted as a catalyst for many similar iterations and as such created a gender-biased culture.  For thousands of years the flames of inequality have been burning, and The World Economic Forum predict a further 257 years until gender parity is achieved. Massey uses motifs from 90’s nostalgia, popular culture and unlikely inventors to document why none of us will see equality in our lifetimes.   
 
We may not have started the fire but how do we extinguish it after so long ablaze?