When I was at the White on White opening I remembered an idea I’d had before when at exhibition openings — photographing a series of people’s shoes. The idea of portraits of people’s shoes interests me, and it’s interesting how many people feel braver in wearing colourful/wacky accessories like earrings or shoes than in their clothing. I think the photos give a good sense of the event as well…
Presenting the first installment of a series:
White on White: celebrating 20 years of the Fiona Myer Award at Victoria University, 18 November 2019.
A selection of work from the Blake Prize is showing at Wangaratta Art Gallery until 8 January 2017. Highlights for me were 1. a marble sculpture by Robert Hague, ‘The Messenger’ which depicts a severed head veiled in drapery. It is reminiscent of funeral monuments and quite beautiful, and also a bit creepy. A small bird is carved the figure’s throat.
2. ‘Kenosis’ by Yardena Kurulkar, which won the prize. A series of photos showing the disintegration of a terracotta heart. The heart is a replica of a human heart and is shown in stages of weathering until it dissolves. An interesting and powerful concept.
3. ‘Kurtal’ by Tom Putuparri Lawford. I thought this looked like a cross, a traditional looking indigenous object with a black body and white feathers sticking out from the top. It’s made from human hair among other things, and is actually a headdress to be worn during rain bringing ceremonies in the desert.
4. A collaboration between an Australian and a Balinese artist. I didn’t take note of the name of the work or the artists, and I haven’t been able to find it online. The work is dominated by traditional Balinese paintings of the nine gods that protect the island. Small paintings of tourists have been added, basically ‘partying’ and exploiting the native population in their search of a good time. It shows the ugly side of Australian tourism to Bali, but it looks like a beautiful tapestry until you start looking more closely.
The Blake Prize was started in 1950 to encourage religious art, and conversations about faith, spirituality, religion, hope, humanity, social justice, belief and non-belief. The entries are not restricted to works related to any faith or any artistic style, but any work entered must have a recognisable religious or spiritual integrity.
Untitled (I will show the world how brilliant I am), 2014, David Shrigley
David Shrigley’s black humour is on display at NGV International until 1 March and I highly recommend the show for those who like a bit of absurdity in art. You will LOL (I did). His crude cartoon-y drawings comment on the everyday banality of modern life.
I particularly enjoyed the ‘general store’ and merchandise, including several wonderful books explaining his dystopian world view. Just reading the titles was amusing. Unfortunately, the tshirts were not for sale.
In 2009 at MoMA, the Chinese artist Song Dong exhibited a collection of objects: furniture, books, kitchen utensils, shopping bags, clothes, plastic bottles, shoes, empty toothpaste tubes; in fact, everything that had accumulated in his mother’s house in Beijing over a period of nearly 60 years.
His mother, Zhao Xiangyuan, lived in a tiny house with her husband and two children. She came from a wealthy family that lost everything when one of its members was imprisoned as an anti-Communist spy, and lived through the poverty of the 60s and the Cultural Revolution. She was obsessively frugal and refused to throw anything away, or move out and part with her possessions, until Song Dong proposed an art project to meaningfully recycle and preserve them. Continue reading “Collecting, hoarding and making art”