Two men sit at a table, sipping coffee and talking fitfully about art. The man on the right is thoughtful and anxious, wondering aloud what art is and whether he can legitimately call himself an artist. The man on the left, a more sceptical and irreverent character who has, apparently, little interest in either of those questions, tries at first to reassure his companion but soon loses patience and finally throws a glass of water in his face.
In Confession we find Devlin sitting in a darkened room, face obscured in the shadows. With muffled voice, Devlin makes a pathetic plea of victimhood like the reformed criminal in a crime investigation series: ‘I never intended to cause any harm to anybody… It was never my intention to mislead anyone.’ In a society that raises the bar ever higher for personal achievement and ambition, failure becomes an acceptable, even desirable outcome to hopes and dreams, and Devlin’s work relies on our ability to empathise with his constant failures. Yet when, like Devlin, one tries very little to achieve anything, failure becomes a reassuringly inevitability, an effortless alternative to the stressful expectations that result from accomplishing goals.