The Great Pepe Masterpiece
Pepe Moses wears his beard like GigaChad and wields his staff like a Shaolin monk, parting the Red Sea and splitting the Earth down to its molten core, which reveals a rotating-smiling Pepe head.
So begins The Great Pepe Masterpiece, a mashup of Matt Furie’s recent Pepe NFT animations, expertly chosen, sequenced and compiled by anon ‘sad pepe frog’ to create something ‘new’ which is much more than the sum of its parts.
The film is set to the pulsating, retro futurist vapourware beat of Marvel83's Golden Dawn, which imbues the visuals with an effortless, synergistic cool, simultaneously pointing both forwards and backwards in culture-time.
Furie famously abandoned Pepe to 4chan and the Alt-right, saying “Pepe’s a frog, why would he support white supremacists? That doesn’t make any sense.” However, the upsurge in the NFT market provided both the financial incentive and cryptographic means for Furie to (partially) reclaim his creation, both legally and ‘morally’, from its memetic usurpers.
But memetic chains, originally forged in the forum-fires of 4chan, are not so easily broken, and out of an amalgamation of Furie’s disparate, silent and fragmented NFT animated shorts, a veritable masterpiece has been created.
The Great Pepe Masterpiece is a hauntological fever dream of mythopoetic beauty-cool. It oscillates between juxtaposed visions of alternate realities and evocations of the altered states of recombinant reality contained within them. Everything seamlessly flows together into an integrated whole, which belies the creative origin / methodology of the film as a Neo Dadaist mash up. Instead, it registers as a surrealist exposition — an ascension to a higher level of consciousness for the Pepe meme.
Returning to the iconography of the film, primitive mystical Pepe’s create esoteric drawings and inscriptions of rare Pepe’s, while robed Pepe’s worship a stone-head Pepe idol, which cracks open to reveal a blue Zen Pepe of great power; Pepe warriors scale a giant Pepe and fall to their inter-dimensional deaths; another Pepe enters the lair of a blue dragon in order to slay it in battle, only upon victory to find himself surrounded by a sea of yellow and red dragon eyes; in a pink and yellow pastel-vapourware reality seemingly closer to our own, a beautiful young Pepe couple blister and melt in the atomic heat of an intense Pepe sunrise; meanwhile, in an operating theatre, a surgeon Pepe cuts into a quivering organ to revel a mini-Pepe breakdancing inside; maintaining the corporate medical aesthetic, we find ourselves in a laboratory while a scientist Pepe observes an organism through a microscope, before it suddenly attaches itself to him; next the scene / reality code switches once again, and reopens back in ‘our reality’ on an image of a suitcase closing, which contains several Pepe masks…
And on it goes, phase-shifting between levels of ‘reality’ before finally alighting on perhaps the most haunting and uncanny sequence of all, which concludes the final section of the film. Here a team of corporate scientist / psychologist Pepe’s observe an autistic Pepe trapped in a white containment chamber, he looks up, connecting with your gaze, and starts performing telekinesis on the objects around him. He generates a ‘clone’ of one of the scientists, and suddenly the viewer realises that everything which preceded this moment might have been a projection of his autistic savant-savage mind.
The Great Pepe Masterpiece is a hypnagogic hallucinatory tour de force. While 99.9% of the creative content was ‘found’ / reappropriated culture matter its the 0.01% ‘sad pepe frog’ added in an inspired act of curation / compilation, which constitutes the ‘secret sauce’ that raises everything to the status of sui genius.
Apostate Gallery is pleased to present The Great Pepe Masterpiece, perhaps the first great artwork of 2022.