i’ve been rather busy lately with my own stuff – making work, being part of exhibitions, writing [successful-ish] proposals and doing uni presentations. with all that, i haven’t had too much of a chance to really absorb other shows, other than any that i might be involved in somehow. the right segue would be ‘and so, in the interest of being non-biased, i went out and saw a bunch of shows not connected to me, my uni, or my friends’. unfortunately, it would be an out-and-out lie, so you’ll just have to put up with it.
for the last 2 weeks to saturday, various members of the RMIT design research cluster have been occupying craft victoria, using it as an art/design lab of sorts and researching what the true parameters are of an interior space within this ever-growing urban environment. so far, i’ve been to:
opening occupation, tuesday 9th september. the gallery, usually full of objects, was completely devoid of them, making room for people to define the space. there were just people in there, talking, drinking, discussing stuff and finding out about the range of ways that the occupationists are going to be working with the space until the 27th.
nomadic archive, wednesday 10th september. moving some of the archives from the frances burke textile library, the works including textile swatches,
visualising air phase, thursday 11th september.
if i’m really honest, i thought this was going to be lame, but went because, well, i’m an open-minded kinda gal sometimes. turns out it was fucking amazing! it was a cross between a rave cave, tron and a 3D digital visualisation exercise. it was quite amazing to see ‘air’ in the form of CO2 being highlighted with lasers, shaped through various perfomance-based movements and the creation of space with the horizontal lines from the beams. it was hella trippy, but in a good way.
stockhausen: nachtmusik für zwei and the ephemeral urban room, thursday 18th september
the huge projections by rochus hinkel and ian de gruchy completely transformed the space from the relatively sparse place it was last week. the exterior of craft victoria was projected within the gallery – producing the inside outside, outside inside. it also took up the whole space and as a result gave you an experience of a building, up close. the added projection of the view up flinders lane added a moving image element to the room, which was great – especially the times when huge delivery vans would drive across the back wall and fuck with your sense of perspective and space.
the stockhausen performance by michael fowler and collaborators was amazing and ended in me having a cut eye: schmerzen für stockhausen! in an attempt to contribute to the performance, my friend and i ran to the mic situated outside the building, on the fire escape. in carrying my bike up the stairs, in order to ‘play’ the turning spokes, i bashed it against a down-pipe i didn’t see, which in turn bashed itself against my head. result: blood and bruising. mission: only half accomplished – the outside mic had been turned down during the performance and we weren’t as part of it as much as we thought! ha!
colloquium and closing occupation dinner, saturday 20th september
this was a bit of an extended wrap – each of the occupationists spoke about their particular occupation, amongst a group of invited guests, their peers (and 1 gate-crasher, ahem). ross gibson was a guest presenter and he spoke about his ‘occupation’ as part of the biennale of sydney, in terms of a series of ‘co-‘ words: complexity, conversation, complacency, cosmopolitanism and conviviality. i found it quite interesting to hear everyone speak, although i was a bit confused as to the purpose of the presentations – whether they were academic, or intended as a more audience-based artist talk. they seemed to be a little in both camps, and thus a little alienating.
after the presentations and some interesting discussion about everything that came up, we had a lovely dinner, made by the same peeps as the ride-on dinner crew and a chance to chat with everyone. it was such a nice way to finish a pretty intense ‘residency’ and something a little different to anything i had seen previously at craft vic.
belle bessin/natalie ryan/rob mcleish/
i mostly served people drinks at the opening for this show, but i did get a chance to have a quick peek, thankfully. natalie ryan is my new favourite thing this year – i think i’ve now seen her in 3 shows this year: Kings and in 2 at West Space. her show here was the flipside to the black works at Kings – a white light room, with a strange museological installation of 3 animalesque stuffed figures, covered in flock. strange, distorted and slightly frightening creatures, they reminded me of something in between a matthew barney prop and something that michael zavros might paint. it was eery and beautiful at the same time – which i think is surely the definition of grotesque, right? in fact, it’s work like natalie’s that completely supports the theory going round that we’re now in a phase of the neo-baroque. perhaps i will write on that another time.
i liked rob mcleish’s works, his boy humour still holds its weight with great works, and i love a good chunk of melted plastic in a work, but unfortunatly it suffered from the swarm of i-read-three-thousand-and-i-wear-oversized-shirts-and glasses-with-undercut-hair-hipsters. i’m getting too old to have a high tolerance of the 80s again.
belle bessin’s work was OK, although it didn’t really engage me personally. the drawings were exquisite, but, well, meh. sorry.
i think lamington drive is going to be a regular haunt for me. it’s not far from work and the shows they’ve had there so far have been pretty tight. i think the thing i love most about the place is the display case in the middle of the show, which has ‘support material’ related to the show, but not objects for sale. it’s the artistic version of ‘showing your workings’. the paintings by niels are beautiful – nothing too complex, but not simplistic or naive either. niels is part of the letterbox crew, so it was nice to see another side of his creative work.
this was just a small show, based around the idea of sound. and, actually, i wasn’t there long – but it was a good show and sometimes a quick game’s a good game. having said that, a large reason that i wasn’t there for long is that i was starving. the other reason i didn’t stay long is because there was a work there that fucked with my head. literally. a series of fibreglass pregnant ladies emitting a high frequency and my ears and brain just couldn’t stand it any longer. Not that i didn’t appreciate the artistic merit, it was an involuntary reaction. The other works there were pretty cool too – a great mixture between sound and ceramics: tapes playing out of mini amps made from broken pots and sound equipment mushed into towers of fired clay. then in the little room a cute little installation about architecture/place – a bit of a leaning homage to the bits and pieces that make place, especially in terms of memory. formally, it looked a little like a rem koolhaas pisstake, which i’d give extra props for.
that’s it for the moment – but fringe started last night, so expect a rash of reviews about cool shit i’m seeing over the next couple of weeks!