New Order

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By Romeo, Johnny size: 101 x 101 cm code: H31426 Medium: Acrylic and Oil on Canvas Genre: Painting

Something strange stirs under the moon of the Devil’s Night in Johnny Romeo’s gloriously surreal slice of gothic Kitsch Pop, New Order. Inspired by the dark 1994 cult superhero thriller, ‘The Crow’, the painting portrays the unsettling hybrid of a deer with Brandon Lee’s iconic Crow makeup and the body of a crow amidst a field of dusky, crimson hues. Looming in the background is the crossed-out word passage ‘Burn’, a nod to the tribalistic, gloomy single ‘Burn’ by 80s Goth Pop miserablists The Cure which featured on the ‘The Crow’s’ soundtrack. Romeo slyly subverts the bleak nihilism of ‘Burn’ into a desperate declaration of hope as he transforms the word into the text assemblage ‘Yearn’. Looking wistfully into the distance, the hybrid creature yearns for an older, simpler time, but deep down recognises that it has reached a point of no return and transformed into a completely new beast. Similarly, many of us long for a time before the Corona virus, but realise that the world to which we will return once we overcome the pandemic will not be the same. Renowned for his penchant for savvy Pop culture references, Romeo continues evoking the melancholic alternative music of the 80s by recalling iconic synth pop pioneers New Order in the title of his work. New Order captures the way in which Covid-19 has dramatically altered our lives, forcing us to adapt to changing circumstances like working from home or attending school via Zoom. The surreal symbolism of Romeo’s hybrid creature, in which the deer has adapted to fly and the crow has developed antlers, therefore acts as the perfect analogy for the way in which we have morphed and changed to survive pandemic life.

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