MONASH UNIVERSITY MUSEUM OF ART pRESENTS
REINVENTING THE WHEEL THE READYMADE CENTuRY
3 october – 14 December 2013 Ground Floor, Building F Monash University, Caulfield Campus www.monash.edu.au/muma Tues – Fri 10am – 5pm; Sat 12 – 5pm
Julian Dashper Untitled (The Warriors) 1998 courtesy of the Julian Dashper Estate. Photo: Kallan MacLeod
DAYLESFORD MACEDON RANGES OPEN STUDIOS
Discuss and discover the creative practices of 35 artists across the region
MEET THE ARTISTS IN THEIR STUDIOS Preview their work at the DMROS Group Exhibition St Paulâ€™s Church Hall, 26 Yaldwyn St, Kyneton
2,3,4,5 & 9,10 NOVEMBER 2013 10 AM TO 5 PM
email@example.com 0418 389189 www.dmropenstudios.com.au
Landscapes of the mind Image: Chris Nicholls Self-Portrait (detail) 1985 charcoal on paper. Private Collection
Saturday 28 September to Sunday 27 October
Art Gallery of Ballarat 40 Lydiard Street North | Ballarat Victoria 3350 03 5320 5858 | Open daily 10am â€“ 5pm | Entry free artgalleryofballarat.com.au
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Mildura Palimpsest Biennale #9 4-7 October 2013
What is... Palimpsest?
Juan Ford, The Reorientalist, 2013, oil on linen, 122x183cm. Photo: Juan Ford Courtesy the artist, dianne tanzer gallery + projects, Melbourne; and Sullivan and Strumpf, Sydney
Artists from all over the world making work about our region Palimpsest Symposium Saturday 5 October Keynote Speaker: Shamim Momin (USA) ARTISTS Fabrice de Nola (Italy) Tim Knowles (U.K) Giordano Biondi Geoffrey Brown David Burrows Rosina Byrne Clinton Cahill Domenico de Clario Bindi Cole Filomena Coppola Kate Cotching
Maarten Daudeij Eric Demetriou Beth Dillon Neil Fettling Juan Ford Alexandra Frith Mathieu Gallois Kristian H채ggblom David Haley Emma Hamilton Danielle Hobbs Matt Huppatz
Denise James Chaco Kato Ash Keating Martin King Rachel Kendrigan Riza Manalo Michelle Mantsio Jennifer Mathews Ricky Mitchell Colleen Morris Rohan Morris Joanne Mott
Dimitri Nickas Sara Oscar Stephen Pascoe Drew Pettifer Tamsin Salehian Raef Sawford Ella Sowinska Kerryn Sylvia Mary Teague Ian Tully Robert Watson Christopher Williams
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trouble oct 2013 FEATURES (11) COMICS FACE Ive Sorocuk (12) THE MADNESS OF ART
(14) SWEET SENSE Olivia Welch (20) POSTKARTEN AUS KUNST
(26) HEAD RUSH Inga Walton (32) OCTOBER SALON Or else (46) ACTEASE Courtney Symes (52) ADELOUD Cassandra Scalzi (56) MELBURNIN’ Inga Walton (62) 55TH VENICE BIENNALE PART TWO Tiziana Borghese (68) STRALIAN STORIES: CORAL HULL Neil Boyack (73) FIND IT FUNNY Darby Hudson (74) DEAR DREAMBOAT Dmetri Kakmi (76) GREETINGS FROM HIROSHIMA
COVER: Alex KERSHAW, Muscles and pears (detail) 2011 from Fantasticology Tokyo: faults, flesh and flowers 2011-13, production still, HD video and sound, 25:06 min, courtesy and © the artist. AGNSW Contemporary Project, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery Road, The Domain, Sydney (NSW), until 10 Nov 2013 - artgallery.nsw.gov.au Issue 106: OCTOBER 2013 trouble is an independent monthly mag for promotion of arts and culture Published by Trouble magazine Pty Ltd ISSN 1449-3926 STAFF Vanessa Boyack, administration (firstname.lastname@example.org) Steve Proposch, editorial (email@example.com) Listings (firstname.lastname@example.org) CONTRIBUTORS Ive Sorocuk, Jim Kempner, Olivia Welch, Carmen Ansaldo, Inga Walton, Dmetri Kakmi, Courtney Symes, Cassandra Scalzi, Tiziana Borghese, Neil Boyack, Ben Laycock, Darby Hudson. Find us on Facebook: facebook.com/Troublemag Subscribe to our website: troublemag.com READER ADVICE: Trouble magazine contains artistic content that may include nudity, adult concepts, coarse language, and the names, images or artworks of deceased Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people. Treat Trouble intelligently, as you expect to be treated by others. Collect or dispose of thoughtfully. DIS IS DE DISCLAIMER! The views and opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of the publisher. To the best of our knowledge all details in this magazine were correct at the time of publication. The publisher does not accept responsibility for errors or omissions. All content in this publication is copyright and may not be reproduced in whole or in part in any form without prior permission of the publisher. Trouble is distributed online from the first of every month of publication but accepts no responsibility for any inconvenience or financial loss in the event of delays. Phew!
new comedy series
season 1, episode 1: TONY Chelsea art dealer Jim Kempner interacts with New York’s eccentric art world in The Madness of Art. Webisode one features contemporary artist Robert Attanasio’s pithy analysis of the relationship between artist and dealer. Chicago Artist Tony Fitzpatrick drops by and tries to explain that old adage “time is money”. Jim Kempner Fine Art Gallery – where the absurd, the obscene, the glamorous and the routine converge! http://themadnessofart.com/2010/07/tony/
back to back
season 1, episode 2: The Wedding Gift The rent is due and Chelsea art dealer Jim Kempner helps a client find a fresh and original wedding gift. One Balloon Dog by neo-pop artist Jeff Koons remains in Jimâ€™s possession. Could this be the perfect gift? Or will the clientâ€™s dreams of attaining the perfect wedding gift be shattered? Watch now to find out! http://themadnessofart.com/2010/07/jeff-koons/
by Olivia Welch
SUGAR IS AN INGREDIENT IN MANY of our experiences and memories. Megan Fizellâ€™s upcoming exhibition Sugar Sugar at Brenda May Gallery explores its use in contemporary visual arts, and as a result reveals the effects of sugar as a medium in harnessing certain reactions and responses. This exhibitionâ€™s allure lies in its restriction to only including works exclusively made with sugar, dealing with it as a literal substance and not just an abstract idea. 4
Irianna KANELLOPOULOU, Bertie and friends 2008, moulded, handbuilt & hand painted Belgian chocolate, cocoa butter, food grade colouring, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist and Brenda May Gallery.
Sweet Sense / Olivia Welch
Oreo packaging 1912
4 A notion that arises through this limitation of medium is that the edible object can have certain powers without being digested. Fizell has included a number of works in the exhibition that seduce the viewer through their visual form, but are able to sustain a powerful engagement through the occupation of other senses. Judith Klausnerâ€™s Oreo Cameo series utilises the imagery and craft of the Roman-inspired Victorian cameo, but the unlikely medium of the Oreo cookie adds an involuntary experiential dimension. Despite visual alterations of the cookie into an artistic form, the knowledge of the medium stimulates the sense of taste, moving the experience beyond the purely visual by incorporating the viewerâ€™s stored oral sensory experience of the cookie. Synesthesia is a neurological condition that involves the involuntary coupling of the senses. Such connections exist within many of our experiences and associations, like pairing curves with deep soothing sounds and spikes with high-pitched jets of noise. These relationships, whether they are learned or innate, become powerfully instinctive. The American-born Klausner is mildly synesthetic, creating definite paired relationships between numbers and colours. It could be viewed that Klausner has harnessed an unconscious synesthetic response in her audience by provoking taste through sight.
4 Judith KLAUSNER, Oreo Cameo #9 (top) 2011 & Oreo Cameo #3 (bottom) 2010, Oreo sandwich cookie, 5 x 5 x .6cm. Photo credit: Steve Pomeroy. Courtesy of the artist and Brenda May Gallery.
Sweet Sense / Olivia Welch
4 The idea of a synesthetic response in regard to the use of food as art is particularly applicable to Australian ceramicist Irianna Kanellopoulou’s edible display. When previously exhibiting for Fizell in Art + Food, Kanellopoulou created a colony of chocolate bunnies in brilliant shades of red and orange. Without knowledge of the medium, it could be assumed that the works were made from slip-cast porcelain or a moulded plastic designed to emulate candy. However, once the edible medium is revealed, associations of the melt-in-your-mouth sensations of chocolate are instantly applied to the work. This effect may also motivate the recollection of certain memories, such as Easter. Prompting memories through a synesthetic pairing of taste with a visual stimulus is the activation of gustatory memory, a type of sensory memory. When discussing her sculptures made using fairy floss, Mylyn Nguyen explained that her attraction to this material was its link to carnivals and the overindulgent sugar consumption that occurs. While the engagement with Nguyen’s work may begin through sight and an unconscious activation of taste, there is the hopeful and probable conjuration of an episodic memory — a personal memory related to carnivals and their encouragement of excessive consumption. Nguyen’s use of a miniature scale adds to this nostalgic quality. The power that the medium of sugar has in these examples from Sugar Sugar is the construction of instant and involuntary synesthetic relationships between the visual and gustatory senses. Through this automatic association sensory memories can be stirred, revealing how sometimes the medium can dictate the message depending on the audience’s personal experiences. What Fizell has encouraged through her curatorial goals in Sugar Sugar is an exhibition bound to tempt the senses. ¢
4 Mylyn NGUYEN, A home made of roses 2013, fairy floss and found object, 30 x 10 x 10cm. Courtesy of the artist and Brenda May Gallery. Sweet Sense / Olivia Welch
BERLIN ART WEEK
postkarten aus kunst by Carmen Ansaldo
One of Berlin cityâ€™s most established and innovative interdisciplinary spaces decided to quiet the tone of Berlin Art Week with their official contribution to the festival, opting to exhibit their vast collection of mail art.
Joseph Beuys Kassel Klaus Staeck, Heidelberg, 08.15.1977, wooden postcard, printing, pencil on spruce wood, 10.5 x 14.8 x 3.5 cm. Collection Staeck © Edition Staeck, Heidelberg / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2013 Photo: Eric Chernov Arte Postale / Carmen Ansaldo
Arte Postale showcases the Akademie der Kunstâ€™s collection of postcards, letters, collages and other small scale works on paper, dating from the start of the 60s until today. It may come
as a surprise to some that the chic warehouse-cum-gallery space of the Akademie would commit to the development of such a low-fi collection in the first place, as the space has always prided itself on providing exposure to new and challenging artwork in cutting-edge mediums. However, this collection does a lot to provide context and perspective on the turbulent modern history of Berlin, whilst also maintaining contemporary relevance through the constant additions to the collection that the Akademie receives from contemporary artists around the globe.
Arte Postale includes over 700 works ranging from the more conventional interpretations of mail art â€“ postcards and letters â€“ to more interpretive entries such as posters, pamphlets, scrolls and collages. Some of the big names found within this massive collection include Joseph Beuys, Dieter Roth, Daniel Spoerri, James Lee Byars, Andy Warhol, Emil Schumacher and Jonathan Messe. The exhibition demonstrates a dynamic duality between these historically contextualised works (mainly correspondence between artists and galleries during the GDR years) and newer works which are concerned less with the specificity of time and place. 4
Instead, they prioritise the material qualities of the posted medium, examining its unique ability to facilitate expression between individuals situated across borders and nations. These newer works are part of a separate project within the exhibition which includes over 330 participating artists from 38 countries. Each artist has responded to co-curators Klaus Staeck and Lutz Wohlrab’s request for small scale works to be sent to the Akademie addressing the movement of mail art generally and the Akademie as an institution more specifically. Titled Academy/Akademie, the project ranges from established artists to hobbyists and enthusiasts (Daniel Dellafiora and Radio Ozone being the Australian participants) and the diversity of interpretations on display is indicative of this range.
Historical and material implications aside, what does an exhibition of mail art in 2013 set out to achieve? The press release for Arte Postale declares that the exhibition, “… illustrates clearly the extent of the need of and the pleasure gained by analogue networking and ‘small format’ artistic activity — even today in the age of the internet.” For sure, the quality and commitment demonstrated by the Akademie’s collection presents a strong argument for the importance of mail art as a historical art movement, a success which is to the credit of curator Rosa von der Schulenburg. The exhibition’s affirmation of the ‘pleasure’ that is to be found in tactile medias and small format articles is evident in the care that has been taken to ensure the works are allocated adequate space and lighting. (Most works are installed in a museum-like set of table-top glass cases.) However, what is not apparent is Arte Postale’s ambition to affirm the current ‘need’ for mail art, if we can say that such an ambition could be fulfilled in the first place. Although the project of Academy/Akademie ensures that the collection will remain a work in progress into the foreseeable future, the mail art on display clearly functions as a gesture of homage to an art historical movement well past its prime. It does not, and possibly cannot, provide a continued sense of mail art’s original urgency and importance within the new context of contemporary art today. This is particularly the case when it is presented to the viewer more as an artifact than as a counterpart of the technological mediums of choice that now define the contemporary arts. Read as an act of homage, of historic documentation, and a testimony of the ability for personal narratives to stretch over international boarders, Arte Postale is a powerful and unavoidably heartwarming affair. The involvement of new artists exhibiting alongside the correspondence between modernist artists creates a sort of call-and-response from future to past that is both meaningful and delightful. However, the original urgency and purpose of the movement was not able to be sustained in the contemporary examples of mail art on display. For this reason, the gesture of Arte Postale becomes a nostalgic and sentimental one. Although it does not fulfill every purpose ascribed to it by its curator, an exhibition which provides you with such an experience surely cannot be considered an unsuccessful one. < Joseph W. Huber, The Importance of MAIL ART in the history of art 1982, Mail Art card on photo paper, 10.5 x 14.7 cm. Guillermo Deisler Collection, Academy of Arts, Berlin © VG Bild-Kunst , Bonn 2013 Arte Postale / Carmen Ansaldo
Einsendungen zur internationalen Mail Art-Aktion Academy/Akademie von Klaus Staeck und Lutz Wohlrab anlässlich der Akademie-Ausstellung ARTE POSTALE, 2013 Foto: Lutz Wohlrab
Arte Postale / Carmen Ansaldo
HEAD by Inga Walton AUSTRALIA’S MOST INTERNATIONALLY LAUDED AND WIDELY RESPECTED ACTOR is the subject of a sprawling exhibition of memorabilia, costumes, photographs, and artefacts, The Extraordinary Shapes of Geoffrey Rush, at Arts Centre Melbourne (until 27 October, 2013). Curator (Theatre) of the Performing Arts Collection, Margaret Marshall, worked closely with Rush to realise the project, which begins with his formative years growing up in Toowoomba and Brisbane. Talent-spotted at university by Alan Edwards, the newly appointed (English) director of the Queensland Theatre Company (QTC), Rush began his career there in 1971 the week after his final exam, at just twenty years-old. In 1975, he went to Paris for two years and studied at the L’École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq. We learn from Rush’s framed tribute to Lecoq (192199), read at memorials in France and Washington, DC, that “[He] taught me how to fall over, get slapped, and be a failure. As an impoverished student, I handed over a fair sum of money for him to do this. I couldn’t even question him about it at the time because my French was so lousy...He expanded my ignorant and rigid sense of creativity to such magnitude that his influence on my life still reverberates, spiralling upwards and outwards, twenty-two years later”. The exhibition structure organizes Rush’s professional output into six sections: ‘Clowns, Fools & Ratbags’, ‘Antagonists’, ‘Dames & Dandies’, ‘Harried Men’, ‘Famous, Infamous & Forgotten’, and ‘Fantastical’. Rush and Josh Nelson have compiled a fifteen minute loop of excerpts from forty-three roles, starting with Rush’s film début in Claude Whatham’s Hoodwink (1981), up to his most recent stage performance in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum at Her Majesty’s Theatre (2012), for which he recently won the Helpmann Award for Best Male Actor in a Musical. A compilation of ‘novelties’, edited by Rush and Michael Borthwick, includes two sketches Rush wrote, one being the 2011 parody of film critics Margaret Pomeranz and David Stratton of ABC’s At the Movies. Performed in their presence by Rush and Cate Blanchett, his co-star in the Sydney Theatre Company production of Oleanna (1993), and the Elizabeth films (1998 & 2007), the dialogue and the spot-on delivery has the honorees and the studio audience in stitches. 4
Geoffrey Rush as ‘King Berenger’ in Exit The King (2009). Photography: Hugh Hartshorne.
Geoffrey Rush with his costume as ‘Captain Hector Barbossa’ in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) & Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007). Designed by Penny Rose. (Courtesy of Walt Disney Enterprises & Jerry Bruckheimer Films © Disney Enterprises, Inc.). Installation photo: Shane Bell.
4 Many of Rush’s most acclaimed roles have been biographical in nature, including
his Oscar-winning role as troubled pianist David Helfgott in Shine (1996). He received subsequent Academy Award nominations for Best Actor as the incarcerated libertine and writer Donatien Alphonse François, Marquis de Sade (1740-1814) in Quills (2000), and for Best Supporting Actor as embattled theatre-owner and entrepreneur Philip Henslowe (c.1550-1616) in Shakespeare In Love (1998), and as Australian actor and elocution therapist Lionel Logue (1880-1953) in The King’s Speech (2010). The BAFTA for Best Actor in a Supporting Role went to Rush for his performance as the sinister ‘spymaster’ Sir Francis Walsingham (c.1532-90) in Elizabeth (1998). Rush received the Primetime Emmy Award (Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie) and the Golden Globe (Best Actor - Miniseries or Television Film) for his portrayal of the erratic actor and comedian Peter Sellers (1925-80) in The Life and Death of Peter Sellers (2004). Rush’s Tony Award in 2009 for Best Actor, in Eugène Ionesco’s absurdist drama Exit The King (Le Roi se meurt), is one of his few accolades for portraying a fictional character. Rush is the only Australian to join the select group of twenty-one performers to have won the so-called ‘Triple Crown’ in competitive acting categories: an Academy (1997), Emmy (2005) and a Tony (2009) Award. These are on display atop a vintage Ronaldi upright piano, along with Rush’s gong as Australian of The Year (2012) and the Raymond Longford Award (2009), the highest accolade bestowed by the Australian Film Institute (AFI). Like many artistic children, Rush bemoans that, “All through my academic high school studies I failed in the eyes of my school because I had no sports trophies”. His yawning trophy cabinet now includes another Golden Globe (1997), four Screen Actors Guild Awards, two further BAFTAs, two Helpmann Awards, two Green Room Awards, the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Award (1993), an AFI Award for Best Actor (1997), and their Global Achievement Award (2003), among others. In 2011, the AFI authorised a subsidiary to act as its industry engagement arm, the rather more pompous-sounding Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA), of which Rush is the inaugural President. Viewers can pore over Rush’s annotated scripts, notes and speeches, and catch a glimpse of his famous friends. Congratulatory notes on his Oscar win from designer Calvin Klein, director Steven Spielberg (whom Rush would later work with on Munich, 2005) and a gracious Woody Harrelson (who was a fellow nominee for Best Actor that year with The People vs. Larry Flynt) are displayed. A delighted note from John le Carré about the film adaptation of his 1996 book The Tailor of Panama (2001), assures Rush that it was, “better than any of us could have dreamed!”, and that, “... if we ever meet – which I much hope we shall – the first, second and third [drinks] are all on me”. Le Carré, who served as Executive Producer on the film, signs it under his real name, “David (Cornwell)”, the endearing brackets presumably in case Rush was unsure! Probably the oddest item is a birthday message on Rolling Stone letterhead from a “Colonel J. Depp”, whose official title is given as “Opium Inspector for Mr. [Jann] Wenner” [the magazine’s publisher]. Addressed to “My Dearest Hector” [Captain Barbossa, Rush’s character in the Pirates of the Caribbean films], Depp proffers “some of France’s finest”, and signs off as “Capt. Jack”. How’s that for staying in character? • Gallery 1, Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St Kilda Road, Melbourne (VIC) - artscentremelbourne.com.au Head Rush / Inga Walton
Geoffrey Rush as ‘Archbishop Wilfred Bigge’ in Shepherd on the Rocks, State Theatre Company of South Australia (1987). Photography: David Wilson. Head Rush / Inga Walton
1. Peter DAVERINGTON, Construction Drawing #1 2013, paper collage, acetate and marker on foam core, 81 x 60 cm. Image courtesy of the artist and ARC ONE Gallery. The 2013 Banyule Award for Works on Paper, Hatch Contemporary Arts Space, 14 Ivanhoe Parade, Ivanhoe (VIC), 18 October – 14 December - banyule.vic.gov.au/arts 2. Pip STAFFORD, A Rat’s Nest 2013, copper and crystal structure with crystal radio. Mona Scholarship 2012 exhibition. Image courtesy of the artist and MONA Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. The Red Queen’ curated by David WALSH, Olivier VARENNE and Nicole DURLING. MONA, Museum of Old and New Art, 655 Main Road Berriedale (TAS), until 25 November 2013 - mona.net.au
3. Richard GIBLETT Bauhaus De Stijl Block 2012, steel set-square, MDF, enamel paint, 20 x 30 x 16cm. Construction/Development. Incinerator Gallery, 180 Holmes Road, Moonee Ponds, (VIC), until 10 November - incineratorgallery.com.au
4. Graeme PEEBLES, Big Midden (detail) 2013, mezzotint. “Archaeologists recently found a cave system in Europe that had been occupied by humans 25,000 years ago. They had a high proportion of shellfish in their diet and used to throw the discarded shells down the back of the cave. After an estimated 600 years they had filled the entire cave with shells and had to find another place to live. ‘Big Midden’ is a homage to teenage bedrooms everywhere.” The Art Vault, 43 Deakin Avenue, Mildura (VIC), 9 – 28 October - theartvault.com.au 5. Rosalind ATKINS Once were trees 2012, wood engraving; edition 6/12. Reproduced courtesy of the artist. Geelong acquisitive print awards, Geelong Art Gallery, Little Malop Street, Geelong (VIC), until 24 November - geelonggallery.org.au NEXT SPREAD: Penny BYRNE, Tea for Two in Tuvalu 2011, vintage porcelain figurine, vintage Action Man accessories, vintage coral, glass fish, epoxy resin, epoxy putty, retouching medium, powder pigments. Courtesy of the artist and Sullivan+Strumpf Fine Art, Sydney. Made to last: the conservation of art, a NETS Victoria exhibition in partnership with the Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation at the University of Melbourne and supported by Latrobe Regional Gallery. McClelland Sculpture Park and Gallery, 390 McClelland Drive Langwarrin (VIC), 20 October 2013 – 2 February 2014 mcclellandgallery.com/
PREVIOUS SPREAD: Daniel CROOKS, Static No. 19 (shibuya rorschach) (detail) 2012, single-channel High Definition digital video, 16:9, colour, sound, 6 minutes 3 seconds. Courtesy Anna Schwartz Gallery. The Samstag Museum of Art, 55 North Terrace Adelaide (SA), 10 October – 20 December 2013 - unisa.edu.au/samstagmuseum 6. David MURRAY, Gatherer, 2003, lost wax cast glass. Ranamok Winners Collection 1995 – 2012 (Ranamok Prize for Contemporary Glass), Hawkesbury Regional Gallery, Deerubbin Centre -1st Floor, 300 George Street Windsor (NSW), 4 Oct ober— 1 December 2013 hawkesbury.nsw.gov.au/gallery 7. Jeff WOODGER, The Force that Compels the Deep Sea 2012, oil on canvas, 101 x 76cm. Courtesy the artist. Channelling Romantic Landscapes, Post Office Gallery, University of Ballarat cnr Sturt & Lydiard St Ballarat (VIC) 2 – 12 October 2013 - ballarat.edu.au/pogallery
Robbie ROWLANDS, The fountain be still 2013, working shot (main), installation (inset), two pianos, Rio Vista Historic House drawing room. Mildura Arts Centre, 199 Cureton Avenue, Mildura (VIC), until10 November 2013 - milduraartscentre.com.au
ACTease DATELINE: OCTOBER 2013 Courtney Symes
I’M NOT A CAMPER, SO I CAN EMPATHISE with the shock that Belconnen artists Carolyn Fitzpatrick and Carole Osmotherly would have experienced as they reluctantly left the comfort of their Canberra homes to venture on a nofrills camping trip into the outback to capture the natural beauty of the Northern Territory’s Ruby Gap and surrounds. A camping trip lacking creature comforts such as a bathroom, running water, mobile phone or the internet was the first step in the journey towards the development of exhibition, Roughing it at Ruby Gap and Beyond. In spring 2012, Fitzpatrick and Osmotherly embarked upon their Northern Territory art adventure, organised by NT artist Deborah Clarke and her partner Charlie, a retired Botanist. Camping (even bushwalking) was unfamiliar territory for these two Canberrans (much to the entertainment of their family and friends) but the breathtaking scenery discovered at Ruby Gap (a remote un-serviced area 150kms into the Eastern MacDonnell Ranges) far outweighed the short-term mild discomfort of sleeping under the stars. The purpose of their trip was simple: “They spent their days exploring and making art. The Ruby Gap campsite was visually spectacular, sited beside and within the wide dry sandy riverbed of the River Love. A glowing ridge of red ochre cliffs towered over the river as it meandered through the landscape. The river was lined with majestic river gums and studded with huge white rocks. The experience of living and making art in the landscape proved to be enormously rewarding and pleasurable and the privations surprisingly liberating.” Both artists were taken by the colours they observed on their trip, “The red ochre ridge that glowed golden, orange through red depending on aspect or time of day, features in many of their works.” Fitzpatrick and Osmotherly were also taken by the native flora they observed: “trees; gleaming white river gums, burnt scarred gums, and scraggy trees of the many native varieties capable of enduring such a harsh environment.”
ACTease / Courtney Symes
4 Carolyn FITZPATRICK, Mpwelarre Vista No.3 2013, coloured inks on paper.
Both artists work with different mediums and it’s interesting to observe the contrasting interpretations of their experiences. Fitzpatrick works with coloured inks, and sometimes gouache, on thick watercolour paper. “Most of her works were commenced in situ, where she aimed to imbue them with her intense sense of being in that very particular place. The drawings were then completed back in the studio.” Osmotherly loves working with silk, “The nature of painting on silk, wherein black linear elements can be etched onto the broader colour landscape image allows Osmotherly to ingeniously capture the random, rugged aspects of the Australian landscape.” Most of Osmotherly’s work was completed “in her space in Canberra pulling from her memories and feelings as well as her drawn and photographic records made while on the camp.”
Runs until 13 October at Strathnairn Gallery - strathnairn.com.au Inspired by “reflections on the life of her grandmother, and women like her, who made homes in bush towns, the nature of women’s domestic activities and the secrets which lurk behind closed doors”, Susan Wood’s latest exhibition, The Days of Their Lives aims to explore the everyday lives of bush women. Wood is a Wagga Wagga based textile artist who has utilised materials such as bush dyed cloth that she has transformed with traditional needlework techniques, such as patchwork, plain sewing, and hand and machine embroidery. Wood explains that “Central to the exhibition is a collection of eight wall pieces based on traditional patchwork techniques. Each piece is constructed from 365 bush-dyed hexagons, representing one year in a life.” The works have been titled: Lazy Days, Dusty Days, Play Days and Summer Days to “reference the activities of daily domestic life”. Visitors can also enjoy the collection of artist’s books included in the exhibition. This is a touching tribute to the triumphs and challenges experienced by these unsung bush heroines as Wood encourages us to step into their shoes for a few moments. Don’t miss the exhibition opening at 6pm Wednesday 2 October and Wood’s Artist talk at 2pm Saturday 12 October. Runs from 2-13 October at ANCA Gallery - anca.net.au Also at ANCA, Created from Ego is a vivid, colour-rich collection of new paintings from Canberra-based artist, David Kim. Kim is an established, prolific artist with over twenty-five years of experience (over 100 of his artworks are held in private and public collections). Created from Ego is Kim’s first Australian exhibition since he moved to Canberra from Seoul. Kim describes his work is “pure abstraction” that “comes from an unconscious and intuitive part of myself, and to express the work using too much language or words would distort the genuineness, and directness, of the work.” Created from Ego opens at 6pm Wednesday 16 October 2013 and runs until 27 October - artistdavidkim.wix.com/abstract
ACTease / Courtney Symes
4 Susan WOOD, Faded Flowers 2010, bush dyed silk and linen, hand stitched, 52cm x 87cm.
Elizabeth Paterson’s latest exhibition, Paradox in a paddock at Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre raises an interesting question of how we balance “our open spaces with the population density and activity of a city”. After considering Walter Burley Griffin’s design for Canberra, “which created not a city surrounded by paddocks, but incorporated the paddocks into the city”, Paterson was inspired to explore ‘the paddock in the city’ notion further. Paterson’s resulting work consists of a cardboard and papier-mâché installation that considers both the country and the city. The linear format of this installation encourages viewers to ‘follow’ the path of the work as it curves around the gallery and embark on a journey with Paterson.
The Very Sad Fish-Lady is a beautiful story – quirky and humorous – that has been brought to life through an illustrated children’s book, puppets, models, sketches and storyboards. The story explores various themes such as home, community, identity, fear, separation, isolation, and asylum seeking as it follows the daily life of an old woman resembling a fish, who reconnects with her family in Australia. McDonald is an established artist – she’s been a professional puppeteer since the 1960s (she toured Australia with the Tintookies and appeared on Playschool) and has been making her own puppets since the early days of her puppetry career. McDonald is also a skilled ceramicist and visual artist. I personally loved the storyboards included in this exhibition. The simple sketches accompanied with narratives are like a personal invitation to step inside McDonald’s mind and observe her original vision for this project, as well as the changes she made along the way. Both exhibitions are on at Craft ACT until 19 October 2013 - craftact.org.au Supporting artists between the ages of 18 and 30 years, The Macquarie Digital Portraiture Award is on at The National Portrait Gallery until 13 November. Six digital portraits included in the exhibition were selected from numerous submissions by a panel of judges. “The works were chosen for their unique and striking explorations of identity” and are accompanied by artist statements. This year’s winner was Nik Lee with Our only concern is the void 2013. Lee’s work explores contemporary youth culture through a performance from eighteen-year-old actor, Henry, as he attempts to read and interpret a complex passage from Sartre’s novel Nausea. Lee questions the roles each of us play in this performance: Henry as the actor, Lee as the interviewer, and us as the audience. The National Portrait Gallery until 13 November 2013 - portrait.gov.au/site/exhibition_subsite_mdpa.php
ACTease / Courtney Symes
DATELINE: OCTOBER 2013 Cassandra Scalzi
IF YOU ARE STILL HAVING SERIOUS WITHDRAWALS from the South Australian Living Artists Festival, then hop over to Kangaroo Island this month from the 4th to the 13th, when wineries, galleries, studios, workshops, restaurants and outdoor venues host exhibitions and events to celebrate the best this island has to offer when it comes to food, wine and art. Thirty four venues will play host to a premier cultural event, with Kingscote promising to have the most ‘’adventurous opening night’’ to celebrate the 10th Kangaroo Island Art Feast in style. Now that sounds rather scintillating doesn’t it? This special South Australian destination can show off more than seals and camembert … not just high quality produce, but some seriously good art on show this spring in a natural environment, just a short ferry ride from Adelaide. Fine Art Kangaroo Island, will be showcasing the art of two friends, artists who share a passion for the place they call home – Western River – wilderness, weather and winding tracks. Caroline Taylor creates unique works in oil, mainly on paper, using a textured look with verdigris and rust oxide, which she says can be interpreted ‘’… as cloud or wind or whatever they like’’. It’s really up to you. Audrey Harnett harnesses some other unique beauty with her sterling silver jewellery, which is inspired by raw nature; the Western River to be precise. Her relief prints from lino cuts, some hand coloured with gouache, some black and white. Choice. Birds and bush to be blunt. It’s about connection and sense of place. Pom-poms adorning the local police station may appear slightly out of place, but it seems even the officers who are supposed to keep the streets of Kingscote clean, cannot stop the Yarnbombers from brightening up the place with their knitted and woven creations. There really is something for everyone. Even the seals, they say, in Nepean Bay, are prone to display. The Aurora Ozone Hotel is said to be home to ‘’some really wild things during Art Feast’’ showcasing many pieces of art by the island’s young people. It sounds interesting. I hope things don’t get out of hand. I have a vision of pompom bearing police officers storming into the pub and walking out with a lot of glitter on their faces. Perhaps just my wild imagination at work as usual. The art project at Pelican Lagoon looks pretty good too. Kangaroo Island Art Feast, 4 – 13 October - kangarooislandartfeast.org.au/ 4
4 A Brush With Art in the Flinders Rangers, is the only event of its kind held in this unique South Australian wilderness. Art enthusiasts, and those of nature alike, can travel across the region and see a different art exhibition each day. Seriously. Fifteen exhibitions spanning one thousand kilometres. Why not pitch a tent and camp out under the stars and surround yourself with stunning art and rugged, natural beauty, and see what has long inspired artists, filmmakers and musicians with its rich colours and ancient, unique landscape. The best time to visit South Australia’s beautiful Flinders Rangers, is indeed springtime when the temperatures are mild and the wildflowers come out to cause a riot of colour to inspire. Artists from all over Australia and abroad have travelled to this unique part of South Australia to draw inspiration for their work, many of them choosing to stay. Indeed, the communities of the Flinders Rangers have recognized the contribution of art to their local community and have increasingly supported artists with exhibition opportunities. A Brush with Art started in 2004 as an art trail in the region and the following year was transformed into a Spring Arts Festival that has continued to grow, becoming an eagerly anticipated, established event on the art calendar for participating artists, enthusiasts and collectors. The trail now stretches over 13 towns, offering a smorgasbord of regional artistic talent. Exhibitions include group shows by painters of the Flinders Painters, the Quorn Art Group, indigenous artists from the central desert and the Gladstone Annual Art Exhibition. This major annual event also boasts many solo shows featuring the work by established SA artists, including abstract painter, Bud Stephenson, Georgie Sharp with her stunning, bright pastels, portrait painter William Snell, and Judy Elliot with her wonderful watercolours. Flinders Rangers: A Brush with Art, to 7 Oct - abrushwithart.com.au/
Why wouldn’t you want to come to see art in South Australia? It’s all here. Including the world’s richest landscape painting prize, the Fleurieu Art Prize, $60,000 in fact. It’s winner is to be announced at the festival’s launch on 26 October. A record 1,226 entries have been received this year, including artists from the US, UK, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, New Zealand and France, as well as from around Australia. Respected names such as David Bromley, inaugural winner Robert Hannaford, Ann Thomson, Richard Bell, 2011 People’s Choice Award winner Jun Chen and a number of well known South Australian artists including Garry Duncan and Chris Orchard, along with many talented, up-and-coming artists to watch out for.
Judges for this year’s Fleurieu Art Prize include Nigel Hurst from London’s Adeloud / Cassandra Scalzi 4 Saatchi Gallery, artist Michael Zavros and the Samtag Museum’s Erica Green, who joined the Prize’s general manager, Karen Paris, in the
Robin ELEY, Immersion, 2013 Finalist for the Fleurieu Art Prize, 26 October – 25 November 2013 - artprize.com.au/ Adeloud / Cassandra Scalzi
DATELINE: OCTOBER 2013 Inga Walton
THE QUEENSLAND CENTRE FOR PHOTOGRAPHY (QCP) sponsors annual exhibitions in Melbourne and Sydney to support its affiliated artists, and is presenting Mark Kimber’s Chemical Moon at fortyfivedownstairs (8-19 October, 2013). Kimber, who is the Studio Head of Photography & New Media in the School of Art, Architecture & Design at the University of South Australia, builds small dioramas (about 40cm across) out of styrene foam, wood and paper in his garage and photographs them with an old plastic Diana camera lens that has been taped to a digital back. “I am very influenced by the way the movies had to build small-scale sets to mimic immensity before the digital age, and the suspension of disbelief that this required from the audiences of the time. We now have CGI that makes everything look like a video game and yet still requires another type of suspension of disbelief”, Kimber observes. Kimber’s works explore the potential for creative possibilities in the gap between wakefulness and sleep referred to as a Hypnagogic state, during which fantasies and hallucinations can often occur. His works are suggestive of mountainous valleys, wind-whipped oceans crashing against distant shores and rocky outcrops, flood-lit buildings looming out of swirling fog, as though the restless lens of his imagination travels without moving. “I’m interested in, to paraphrase poet Seamus Heany, ‘the arc between language and sensation’, the memory or trace of it, of places or events, intermeshed with the somewhat fluid state of flux that both photography and memory share with the concept of ‘truth’”. Kimber views making these works as a performance, the inspiration for which springs from events real and imagined, and from vivid memories of watching old adventure films and newsreel footage. “I like playing with concepts of scale and a sense of memory analogous to peripheral vision, worlds caught out of the corner of our eye, worlds that suggest vastness that are actually constructed from the most modest of materials”. • fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne (VIC) - fortyfivedownstairs.com • Artist site - markkimber.net
Mark KIMBER, Sea of Ghosts 2013, Giclee print on photo rag (ed. 6), 100 x 60 cm
Mark KIMBER, They Had Fallen Only to Rise Again 2013, Giclee print on photo rag (ed. 6), 100 x 60 cm Melburnin / Inga Walton
Since 2008, expatriate artist Kathryn Ryan has divided her time between Australia and the United Arab Emirates; first in Abu Dhabi, and from November, 2011 in Dubai, as her architect husband works on hotel projects. Having established a home studio in Old Town, across the road from the Burj Khalifa skyscraper (the tallest man-made structure in the world), and the famous Dubai Mall, Ryan has been working full-time on a series of atmospheric studies Shadow & Light at Flinders Lane Gallery (8 – 26 October, 2013). A three-time finalist in the prestigious Wynne Prize (2000, 2004, 2007), Ryan grew up on a dairy farm in Panmure, east of Warrnambool, and has spent much of her career immersed in documenting the landscape of South West Victoria. The vast tracts of agricultural land and rugged natural features have now been replaced by sand and soaring hyper-modern glass buildings, a startlingly different and quite extreme environment for Ryan to come to grips with. “With this climate of brilliant light all year round, my attention was drawn to the beautiful shadows made by all the plants, draping down the walls and onto the pavements. The Bougainvillea especially, make exotic shadows, their sensual organic shapes, their softened mystery ... I have become a shadow hunter with my camera!”, she reveals. “After spending a long time taking in this new environment, looking, seeing, photographing, becoming familiar, sifting what was inspiring to me, what I connected to ... I have now found a way in to this new world of mine through my artwork. My attention has been drawn to the intimate studies of nature in my close proximity”. Ryan’s studies of Frangipani, seed pods, local plants, and low trees, lanterns, water features and pools scattered throughout Old Town reveals a more intimate, organic side of downtown Dubai, somewhat removed from the manufactured glitz of the shopping and commercial precincts. Monochrome charcoal works and gauzy oil on linen studies reflect the exotic surroundings, “... sheesha pipes, outdoor cafes on a hot night, Arabic music piped through the pavement speakers, dimly lit mood lighting, highlighting and accentuating the water features and Arabic details on the buildings, souks full of spices, delicate pashminas and Iranian carpets...it’s all very heady especially on a hot night!”, Ryan explains. “Arabic Lanterns are spread throughout all of this, on all the walkway walls, building entrances, and cafes. Their patterns of light spreading out across the walls and ceilings, are as equally mesmerizing to me as the plant shadows. So for now, the Arabic lanterns and the plant life and their shadows, have become the world I am immersed in”. • Flinders Lane Gallery, 137 Flinders Lane, Melbourne (VIC) - flg.com.au • Artist site - kathrynryan.blogspot.com.au
4 Kathryn RYAN, Lantern #1 2013, charcoal on paper, 72 x 52 cm. Photography: Brian Donegan Melburnin / Inga Walton
It is not a subject the majority of its possessors particularly want to talk about, or have mentioned. When it is discussed, it is often in crude, scornful, offensive, or derogatory terms. Photographer Philip Werner refuses to conform to the pervasive societal and cultural cringe-factor. With the aim of providing a counterpoint to the proliferation of increasingly mainstream pornographic imagery, retouched advertising, airbrushed fashion and ‘boudoir’ shots, and prevailing negative body stereotypes, Werner has produced an exhibition and accompanying book, 101 Vagina, at Colour Factory (until 6 October) as part of Melbourne Fringe Festival. Werner’s initial inspiration came from Eve Ensler’s play The Vagina Monologues (1996), “[It] brought home to me how debilitating the vagina taboo can be on a personal and societal level”, he reflects. “It is a sad fact that an increasing number of women are seeking labiaplasty. Sad that so many women end up believing they are somehow not normal or attractive due to gross misrepresentation, in various media, of what normal is and where beauty lies”. The book’s anonymous participants range in age from eighteen to sixtyfive. In the accompanying panels, they offer varied and candid responses to participating in the session; accounts of past experiences, poems, affirmations, distressing memories, confessions, admissions, and what the project has meant to them. Random comments include: “shame is very insidious”; “cunt is not a dirty word”; “once you realise there is no ‘different’ you can be free to fully enjoy all that you have without an inner dialogue of anxiety or shame”; “think outside the box”; “please learn how to use me properly”; “I think the more art and film projects that show ‘real’ women’s bodies, and just how wonderfully different we are, the more educated and empowered women become ...” While the participants may have found the experience variously liberating, triumphant, validating, and life-affirming, the reaction in Sydney when 101 Vagina was exhibited is typical of all the book rails against. Redfern’s 107 Projects Gallery had four visits from Police in June this year after two complaints to the City of Sydney Council. Police continued to monitor the exhibition and make censorship suggestions, including that the gallery windows and a glass door be covered during the show, which was complied with. The promotional posters for the book, which prominently display the word ‘Vagina’ were also deemed offensive, despite no explicit content. For Sydney Fringe Festival last month, the full exhibition was displayed at Tap Gallery in Darlinghurst without incident. However, Werner was also invited to participate in the Fringe Arts Forum program held at the Italian Forum in Leichhardt. Months after arrangements were confirmed, management there suddenly decided that the exhibition was not ‘family friendly’. A compromise was reached whereby the seven images were covered with a QR code over the genital area. Via smart phone, these ‘modesty squares’ linked to a censorship-related website/article, or simply the original uncensored image. 4
4 Philip WERNER, 101 Vagina (98 of 101) (detail) 2013, pigment ink on Canson Infinity Platine Fibre Rag, 29.7 x 42 cm. Melburnin / Inga Walton
4 Born in Weisbaden, Werner grew up in Hamburg, then in East Germany; this may well have informed his abhorrence of censorship and institutionalised repression. He is now based in Brunswick, and is also a peace activist who organised last year’s solidarity march in honour of murdered ABC employee Jill Meagher that drew some 30,000 people to Sydney Road. This year’s commemoration drew a smaller, but determined crowd of around 8,000, including Victorian Premier, Dr. Denis Napthine and Cr. Oscar Yildiz, Mayor of Moreland. “I believe many of our societal problems are related in some way to sexual repression, including violence towards women and girls, if not violence in general”, Werner contends. He certainly believes that men must take responsibility for being part of the solution to this insidious problem, and participate in projects that affirm the value and status of women. Speaking of the 101 Vagina project, Werner stresses, “I’m so glad to have been able to create that space, rattle that taboo and facilitate the lifting of some of that shame. And I feel honoured and humbled by the courageous participation and trust placed in me by so many women”. Colour Factory has already received one handwritten complaint about the exhibition. An exasperated Werner says, “Complaints like this show that we still have a long way to go in the removing of this taboo, and in feeling comfortable with our bodies and our sexuality. We were all conceived and born through the vagina, vaginas are sacred, not obscene!” • Colour Factory 409-429 Gore St, Fitzroy (VIC) - colourfactory.com.au/gallery • Artist site - philipwernerfoto.com • Book site - 101vagina.com Melburnin / Inga Walton
Direct from Venice: For anyone who is passionate about art Venice is the place to be during Biennale time (June to November every alternate year). This is the fifth Venice Biennale I’ve been to and I never tire of travelling through those labyrinthine streets and alleyways in search of the next art hit: that definitive work or curated exhibition which will “blow my socks off”.
The 55th Esposizione Internazionale d’Arte: La Biennale di Venezia: Il Palazzo Enciclopedico The Encyclopedic Palace words & pics Tiziana Borghese
Venice! Venice! Venice! That Disneyland and wonderland of the visual image, that blend of the traditional and cutting edge, that sense of excitement and expectation, bewilderment and frustration, and that elated expectation of food for the soul just out of grasp in the narrow dark streets built more than a thousand years ago for altogether different purposes. In Part 1 I wrote of the compression of time and space I felt when walking in the footsteps of past illustrious icons. Although I was speaking then of Florence this is even more apparent in Venice. History and the “here and now” converge in a synchronic blend defying any lateral chronology. Here I am in 2013 walking the same streets and cobbled stones as had Tintoretto, Titian, Veronese, Giorgione, Bellini, Carpaccio, Canaletto, and in more modern times Peggy Guggenheim, Duchamp, Ernst, and Vedova. At every corner there are plaques on antique palazzos inviting you to partake of its history. This is where Mozart lived as a 15 year old, where Goldoni wrote and directed his plays in the Teatro San Luca, where Verdi’s La Traviata first opened in La Fenice, in 1853 (visiting La Fenice I watched a contemporary version of Carmen being rehearsed and noted that La Traviata opened the season here in August 2013), where Vivaldi played in San Vidal. (I was lucky to get front row seats in this very church to experience the Interpreti Veneziani give a passionate encore performance of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and Cello concert RV400 in C major. The Venice Biennale Part 2 / Tiziana Borghese
4 Venice has an artistic, intellectual and cultural vibrancy which is impossible
to miss. But one of the most interesting discoveries in my walks through this city of Renaissance glory was the house of the first woman to graduate from a university in the world. In 1678 Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia graduated in Philosophy (Theology) from Padua University. When other city states were dependent on courtly patronage, Venice was already opening up its doors to theatre, music and education to those beyond.
With such a wonderful setting as background it is understandable that visitors who only spend a few days in Venice can be totally overwhelmed. By the time this article is published readers will still have time to pop over to the 55th Venice Biennale which closes in November. But if you do, allow at least a week to fully embrace the spirit of Venice and the Biennale. In a month of dedicated research I was unable to see all the national collaterals and unofficial galleries organising exhibitions around this major art event … It is huge! In this article I have selected my personal favourites. For those coming over to the Biennale you need to allow at least one full day for each of the two major venues, the Arsenale and the Giardini, and as many days as you can for the many, many national and local collaterals scattered all around Venice. Then, of course, there is the charm of Venice herself (She is known as La Serenissima). This year’s Biennale curator is Massimiliano Gioni, one of the youngest curators to have been invited to head such an important global event. He divides his time between Italy and New York and has attracted a polarized response to his curatorial vision. Many welcome his fresh approach to exhibiting, which some say steers away from the theatrical, the polemic and the scandals of the past, in favour of the archival, the collectable and an emphasis on art as a receptacle for universal knowledge. Others comment that the feel of the Biennale is too scholarly, conceptual and ‘perfect’, or too much like a museum, with the works of more than forty dead artists on show instead of highlighting the living. In fact the theme of this Biennale is the “Encyclopedic Palace”, with its emphasis on the historic, the spiritual, the conceptual, the archival, and outsider art. Gioni embraced this idea based on a patent that Italian-born American, Marino Auriti, filed with the U.S. Patent office in 1955 of an imaginary sixteen blocks, a 139 storey museum in Washington DC, that was meant to house all worldly knowledge bringing together the greatest discoveries of the human race from the wheel to the satellite. In this Gioni has succeeded in bringing together a collection of known and outsider art, which is not the usual fare of such events. Compared to other Biennali, this year’s offerings have more of a museum feel than an art gallery. Walking through the Arsenale and Central Pavilion is like walking through a contemporary ‘wunderkammer’, a collection of wonderful and bewildering objects. Gioni seems to have tapped into contemporary debate initiated by JeanHubert Martin in the 80s when he curated Magiciens de la terre at the Pompidou Centre in Paris and more recently and closer to home the Theatre of the World exhibition last year at MONA, where the divide between high and low art, The Venice Biennale Part 2 / Tiziana Borghese
Pawel ALTHAMER, Venicians 2013
Levi Fisher AMES, Creatures
Morton BARTLETT, Dolls
art and craft, primitive and evolved art, and the introspective, private and personal versus the commercial, public and exhibitionist has been blurred, freeing the artwork from the restrictions of historical and cultural categorisation. 4
Some of the artists have never exhibited and have created their art privately from an inner compulsion that they kept secret. The Carl Gustav Jung’s watercolours were a delightful discovery, Shinichi Sawada’s clay figures and masks revealing a personal mythology from someone with severe autism, Peter Fritz’s 387 model buildings found in an op shop by artists Croy and Elser a serendipitous find, and Morton Bartlett’s anatomically correct, handcrafted dolls which he kept hidden are just some of the many secret collections which were brought to light for this Biennale. And there are other delightful inclusions of artists who have exhibited, or been part of major historical art movements but could not be traditionally categorised, such as Ed Atkins’ video of archival footage of Andre Breton’s personal microcosm – a voluminous collection of rare books, paintings and tribal artefacts – Levi Fisher Ames American Civil War wood carvings of fantastic, mythological creatures which he exhibited in circuses during the 1880s, or Spelterini’s black and white 1890s photographs of his hot air ballooning expeditions, which he exhibited as slide shows all over the world and, Rudolf Steiner’s blackboard drawings which seem to pre-empt and resemble the more famous ones of Joseph Beuys. Some blockbuster artists are also included but in a more minor role than in previous Biennali. Golden Lion award winner, Buce Naumen, is only represented by his 1991 Raw Material with Continuous Shift MMMM video. Richard Serra has three small sculptural blocks in tribute to Pasolini. Charles Ray has a scaled up sculpture Fall 91, and Cindy Sherman, featured last Biennale, has taken a curatorial role. Her exhibition in the Arsenale includes high profile art such as Rosemarie Trockel’s Living means to appreciate your mother nude (2001) and Paul McCarthy’s Children’s Anatomical Educational Figure (1990) and also a collection of her personal 1970s photographic albums found in op shops, featuring transvestites in domestic scenes. Other notable contributors to this year’s Bienalle are Robert Crumb and his ambitious graphic novel of all 50 chapters of the book of Genesis (270 pages of black and white drawings), Peter Fischli and David Weiss’s 250 humorous clay commentaries Suddenly, a Revelation, and three separate exhibitions of Ai Weiwei’s work. I could write many, many more pages about this amazing fest of art, but for the sake of expediency I have concentrated on a general ‘feel’ and my personal ‘best’ of the 55th Venice Biennale. You may nevertheless be interested to know that The Golden Lion went to TINO SEHGAL for his ephemeral human sculptures who continue the trajectory of aural tradition in art; MARISA MERZ for a lifetime achievement which began with the arte povera movement in the 60s; MARIA LASSNIG for her artistic investigations of over 60 years entitled The Body Awareness Paintings; THE ANGOLAN PAVILION, first entrants this year, whose photographic project captured the complexities of their capital, Luanda. And the silver medal went to CAMILLE HENROT for her video which linked the Big Bang Theory with rap culture. NEXT MONTH I will write about the Arsenale and Gardini in more detail, with a section on the Australians in Venice. The Venice Biennale Part 2 / Tiziana Borghese
stralian stories with Neil Boyack
the patron saint of Australian poetry
hen you read Coral Hull’s work you get a sense fairly quickly that she stands for things, and that she has experienced life outside the mainstream in situations that beckon risk. These events have shaped her life, her journey, and luckily for us, her skills as a poet. Hull is an outstanding Australian poet because of her “class-edge”, and her utter, absolute commitment to her own vulnerability on the page. Through analysing her life, she shows us she is prepared to flex and spread poetry, the art form, for maximum impact and different outcomes. Her work asks questions of herself: How far can I push myself? How much pain can I unpack? Poets and writers like Josephine Rowe, Geoff Goodfellow, can boast the same sort of “class-edge” in the Australian scene, yet no-one in Australian poetry can match Hull’s own commitment to analysing one’s life, history, and condition. From Bottles, (William’s Mongrels)
i would feel the black edge of mussel shells between my toes/ or shrimp nibbling my legs at the steep banks of river’s edge/ or big grey yabbies held in sunlight & air for too long squeezing tiny bubbles from their tender grey armour/ i released as much air as possible from my lungs/ enabling my body to sink in a standing position to the bottom/ once at the dark centre the currents slept/ & all the dry land worlds would drift away in tangles of floating hair/ beating low & still in my eardrums in murky brown throbs/
Born in Paddington, Sydney, on 12th December, 1965, Hull is well known for her animal activism, her directorship of The Thylazine Foundation. Hull has claimed the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award, has been published in numerous international and Australian journals, and her work has been aired on radio regularly. Penguin Books, Five Islands, and Salt have all published Hull’s works. After all this achievement she dropped out, dissatisfied with the constructs of the literary world. She has been diagnosed with Multiple Personality Disorder, as well as experiencing Autism Spectrum Disorder. She has penned extensive writings and views on her beliefs around religion and her journey into conspiracy. These are fascinating accounts from a skilful writer within the context of a mental-healthchallenging reality. 4
From Hospital Creek (William’s Mongrels)
six to a car on the road out of bre/ we cross the ghost grey bridge & turn our vehicles around/ we switch off our headlights & drive back over the wooden slats of hospital creek/ this will allow the min min lights to follow us back into town/ it’s local legend along the goodooga road & a supernatural thrill if you can’t hold your grog/
Hull’s subject matter much of the time is herself, her mind, her life, her projections, her relationships, her family, her attitudes, but never is it self-centred. It is more than analysis for the sake of poetics. Hull’s writing is, I would argue, her own therapy and catharsis, her own healing path from trauma: the love-hate relationship with her father, who was a cop, then a railway cop, and someone who towers over her as a draining, yet educative force; and then there is her uneasy relationship with her mother which is inescapably punctuated by shared experiences leading to a sense of empathy, loss and grief for a family that could have been. All this is coloured by magnificent portraits of the Australian bush, Hull’s adventures, her boyfriends, camps, travels, all of which seem a part of the same rich, mortifying, and beautiful life circle. From THE RITUAL KILL (Bestiary)
Stralian Stories / Neil Boyack
god wasn’t at the killing place/ the cow was created on a meat production line/ lived in hell a short time/ to be ‘stuck’ in the throat/ by a rabbi with a prayer book & blood stained apron/ the kosher shiver of a monster life draining away/ cows take sixty to a hundred seconds to lose consciousness/ as an australian public struggles with its dumb conscience/ bellowing from calves overpowers the rotary saws/ bewildered cows lifted by chains/ & those big broken hearts that just keep pumping
Hull’s views on animal cruelty and animal rights seep through the tapestry she weaves. At times it is an annoying, jarring, bleeding heart, yet readers should persist when working with Hull as there is great satisfaction and reward. Her later work starts to morph away from poetry into reportage and journal-like entries signalling a change in her “reality”. Conspiracy and actors within the world she inhabits collude to run her down, to double-cross her, to verbally abuse her, almost everything in the world being interpretable as a symbol connected to Hull’s wellbeing. On her website there are YouTube clips communicating paranormal experiences, which, presumably, correlate with Hull’s state of mind and her interpretations of reality. Some would see this as a turn-off, yet I think this is a brave continuation of lifelong record-keeping, and the work of someone who isn’t troubled by the wider expectation of a successful poet, who has always been driven to answer the deeper question of her own existence. Coral Hull is taking us along for every dimension of the ride. From Twin Rivers: Lightning, Thunder and Rain (How Do Detectives Make Love?)
i break cobwebs that hang like thick nets over his bed/ my father will wake as the first heavy raindrops hit the window glass like sobbing from the dry southwest/ the house has filled itself with the swelling of his throat & air through fan blades & through cheeks/ i shut the doors to his bedroom that have let too many landscapes in/ after two hours of working my face was not my own/ it had become my father’s face in the midday sun/ after the tough & stupid labour of clearing the yard of pigweed/ & of sharp balls of roly-poly bush that blew through the caged emptiness of the meat house/ lingering in the blazing determined blankness of amphetamine
The Canal Contemplations has special resonance and excitement for me as a welfare professional working with lost, neglected and damaged children every day. Never, have I seen this fertile, sad area of life subject to such artful scrutiny. Theory and the “medical model” extort the sector as the only prisms through which speculation can be filtered, yet here we find an illuminating, inventive and effective vehicle (the saint-like social worker) grapple with pervasive issues around attachment and trauma symbolised in “canal children” showing up all the faults of the imperfect systems and practices we apply to address such societal difficulties; the scientific and Kafkaesque ways in which focus ends up on compliance rather than the wellbeing of children.
Stralian Stories / Neil Boyack
From The Canal Contemplations (Holy City) 1. The social worker is sent to a canal to find and capture the lost children: This old city psyche is a thunderous voyage, In the stillness of the disquietening dawn and at a distance, approaching emergency sirens light up the clovers along drains and gutters. What will become of us once they arrive? Will the bridges to other events collapse? Yet, even here -- there are great advances, in the heart-breaking parentless love stories of children who glide the canals like sails. From HOW DO DETECTIVES MAKE LOVE? (How Do Detective Make Love?) how did my parents make love/ was it in the 1950s way/ in their pyjamas under the blankets/ could my father switch off from his job as he switched the light off/ when he made love with my mother in the dark/ did they laugh/ even though he told me he couldn’t bear to fuck her unless he was drunk/ did he still pick up the bits & pieces of people from under trains/ or leftovers from motorbike accidents/ the bloodied thighs & thighless women & eyeless torsos/ did he fondle the falling away breasts of bloated corpses dragged from rivers with concrete boots?/ As a writer Coral Hull is an inspiration to me, and any writer serious about their craft needs to investigate her as a priority. Her work reeks of commitment, innovation and contains an Australian essence that many fumble, and confuse with nostalgia and a dumb loyalty to a traditional form reciting the “the romance of the bush”. Sometimes you need to read her lines three times to work out the power behind her word combinations. Other times you want to hug Coral Hull, one human to another, in response to the disruption and the personal pain she describes so evocatively, or simply in thanks for what she has offered the world. References: coral-hull.com/
Neil Boyack is a writer, poet, musician, and welfare professional. He founded the Newstead Short Story Tattoo newsteadtattoo.org and all of his work, including audio, is available at neilboyack.com Stralian Stories / Neil Boyack
with Dmetri Kakmi
Dear Dreamboat I often have dreams about different staircases. I’m climbing the stairs and go to take a step and there is no stair or the direction of the stairs has suddenly reversed and it is very dangerous to get to the next step. I sense the extreme fear of falling from a great height. Often the stairs are rickety and old or extremely weird and going in all directions – Harry Potter style – and again I either can’t reach the next step or it’s going in a different direction. Monica Dear Monica The infinite, constantly shifting, bewildering labyrinthine staircase with asymmetrical planes and dead ends, designed to confuse and divert, is Escher’s contribution to our understanding of the human mind. His 1953 painting Relativity profoundly influenced popular culture, existentialist thought and modern psychology; and has a direct bearing on scenes in Harry Potter and The Name of the Rose. The staircase is a liminal space. It exists between states; it takes us up or down and facilitates movement between alternating states of mind. Stairs represent the high and the low. The word ‘stairs’ comes from the Old English words ‘stigan’ (to climb) and ‘staeger’ (riser). The implication is that stairs symbolise different types of ascent in slow stages through difficult steps. But they can also go down, from the attic (high states of consciousness/life) to basement (the unconscious/death). Your movements upward are subverted or threatened by the challenges that are placed in your path. They slow you down and threaten your well being. Fear of falling dominates your thoughts and guides your movements. Freud and Jung showed us that sometimes it’s advisable to descend to the deep cave of psyche — there is a lesson to be learned there as well. Next time you dream of disappearing stairs, step into empty space and allow yourself to fall. You may be surprised by the transformative stages that await. 4
Dear Dreamboat I was laying on an oriental rug. Standing above me was a man. He had long, dark hair. He was looking over me as we descending rapidly down a never-ending cement hill, on a street with no visible scenery. Everything was cold, smokey and dark. It was as if he was steering the carriage-like rug. As we went down the hill, he leaned over and brought his lips to mine. Smeared over his mouth was thick blood that I ingested. The vivid taste of blood is something I recall. I enjoyed it and needed the blood. I felt at ease, safe. I was not fearful, for the most part. The part that jarred me out of sleep, gasping for air, was when the man, bending down again to put his lips to mine, grabbed my face and said ‘Just a little bit’ or ‘Just once more.’ Instead of feeding me blood, he inserted his massive, thick, extremely long tongue into my mouth, down my throat, where it found my heart. I hadn’t seen his face clearly until this moment. Right before I awoke is when I saw the enormous, bulging, black eyes and felt the dark energy of this man/entity. I woke up, feeling like I had the wind knocked out of me. Nick Dear Nick Have you forged an alliance with a group or an individual or possibly an ideology? The dominant imagery in this dream and the accompanying feelings indicate high levels of distress with an exotic covenant or alliance you are thinking of entering. You want to dedicate yourself, but you are also afraid of losing your essential self. You feel that the blood brotherhood, let’s call it, will erase your independence. It will ask too much of you — more than you are willing to give? — and reduce you to a servant in a cause that provokes contradictory feelings. The dream also has strong sexual connotations. Blood because of its colour is closely associated with red — both symbolise extreme passions, the medium of life, procreation. This fertility is of the mind as well as the physical body. The dark figure in the dream requires a form of intimate sacrifice before it shares that which you desire. The fear is generated by your unwillingness to open up, to make yourself vulnerable. The outstanding body parts in the dream are all potent images: mouth, tongue, eyes, heart. The monstrous tongue’s phallic penetration of the mouth to reach the heart shows that you are afraid of being violated, of being broken into, in one way or another. The bulging eyes may see too deeply into a hidden self. Do you hide from others that which you cannot accept in yourself? You are not ready to enter this covenant. Your body rejects the alien intrusion into deepest self — the lotus of the heart. Darkness and descent threaten. Think before you act. Act wisely. ¢
Dmetri Kakmi learned to tell fortunes and interpret dreams by observing his grandmother when he was growing up in Turkey. Nowadays he combines that fledgling knowledge with Jungian, ancient and traditional symbolism. If you have a dream you would like interpreted email email@example.com
GREETINGS FROM ...
Hiroshima PART THREE: Your Intrepid Wayfarer Visits The Hairy Ainu
words & pics by Ben Laycock
First lesson in my Japanese cultural education is a trip to the Night Garden where all the most exotic plants you can possibly imagine blossom under the light of the moon. Then we retire to the Night Garden Bar to do this ridiculous thing called Karaoke, where otherwise respectable bespectacled businessmen get drunk and try to sing pop songs. Not really my cup of tea. Of all the myriad aspects of Japanese culture to tickle our fancy, why on earth did we westerners choose this one? 4
4 Next we go to a posh restaurant where you get to know your dinner on a personal basis
before you eat it. This is about as close as it gets to having pets for your average Japanese person. After a fond farewell, my friend the trout is placed on a bed of crinkled lettuce so it looks like it is leaping out of a mountain stream, but is actually already sliced into very fresh sashimi. After another fond farewell, I venture out alone to discover for myself the secrets of this seemingly impenetrable society. I head for the renowned Cherry Blossom Festival in Kyoto, the ancient capital and cultural epicentre. (If you will pardon the expression) I need do no more than stick out my thumb and I am escorted to my destination. Of all the peoples I have come across in this world full of people, the Japanese are by far the friendliest. Not only do they go out of their way to pick up hitchhikers, but they go to great lengths to get you to your destination. When we stop at a service centre my driver seeks out a number plate from Kyoto, locates the occupant and asks them to kindly take over his charge. Now that is service for you. One night way down near Kagoshima I am loitering outside a noodle bar, contemplating spending another night under another bridge to escape the ash from another volcano when a nice lady gives me a noodle box and says in halting English. “You hungry, eat food”. She then takes me home and gives me a bath and introduces the whole family (in that order). After a blissful night’s sleep she drives me to the train station and thrusts $50 in my hand. By this stage I am definitely warming to the local way of life. Now, where was I? Ah yes , I am off to Kyoto for the Cherry Blossom Festival: as well as the cherry trees, which put on quite a display, the locals have a quaint tradition of launching little lanterns down the river, thousands of them, all bobbing along and twinkling like little stars. Next I’m off to visit the Ainu, Japanese Aborigines with dark skin and big hairy beards (well the blokes anyway, the women have quite discrete moustaches), who eke out a meagre existence in the bleak far north of the country where they must share the unrelenting cold with wild bears. The Hairy Ainu have managed to tame some of the wild bears and make them do tricks. The ones that refuse to do tricks get put in prison. Luckily the prison is open to the public so I go to visit some of the refusenicks and watch them suffer. I try to convey to them as best I can that they are doing a lot better than their brethren being led around with rings in their noses and laughed at by small children. I am accompanied on my visit by just such a gaggle of small children who had soon grown bored watching bears being tormented and now wished to see bears being bored and demented. The spoilt little brats were constantly demanding ‘Ika’. In my country spoilt little brats demand ice creams, while over here their favorite snack is roast squid stuck on a stick, dipped in soy sauce. It makes me hungry watching the little brats devouring their squid sticks but the kiosk sells nothing but very dry, rather tasteless biscuits that make the kids snigger when I eat them. When we go to the bear pit the little buggers throw their bikkies to the bears who stretched up on tippy-toes to catch them, which make the kiddies laugh with gusto in between chomping their squid sticks. Altogether, a good time is had by all. IN THE NEXT EXCITING EPISODE your intrepid wayfarer discovers a secret Shinto Shrine and hopefully gets to Hiroshima in time for the big rally. benlaycock.com.au Greetings From Hiroshima / Ben Laycock