Sunday, September 25, 2005


My brain is still very fluffy from the night before, so this will be a misspelt missshapen fluff.

oh well.

I'm getting Joy Lai in this week to talk about her wor which is at 4A at the moment.

Her work consists of big photographs of skin printed onto banners. I'll save the words for the audio verson.

The 4A opening was a multi roomed extravaganza. There's lotsa stuff on and the new partitions are cute.

The street level space is a room of mirrors and alfoil.


Its a great installation of Lachlan Warners hollow buddhas and mirrors. Lots of bright red easter egg foil on the walls and a real cool take on Yves Kleins blue man in blue easter egg foil. The infinity mirror set up is the best. I remembered the first time I got drunk in a Thai restaurant and felt incredibly happy.

silver, foil, light.

Upstairs I ran into Joy's big skin banners curtaining the space. Through the transparent curtain I could peek through to Main Tans projection/sculpture things.

I reckon there was a nice formalist synaestheisa with the ice katchang (mixture of stuff conveyed by a mixture of stuff - if only martell could find a cocktail version of kachang) but a little less swayed by the other two pieces......... Bags and fish were nice tho. I'm really into the latest fad for plastic bag art.

At the other end, the top floor gallery is split into two small rooms. I didn't "get" Nell's work at all, but what I REALLY liked, was how it inspired all these comments from the punters.... "$2,500 for THAT!? ..... my six year old could do better!!!"

Oh! how many years since I heard this one! for joy! for joy! - all you need to do to ge tthe old duchampSHOK social vibe pumping again is to write on a black cushion with some fabric paint. Her crosses of polaroids of roadside crosses were nice - and this could have become a nice cohesive installation wiht the brushes - but the weird vipassana piece on the back wall, plus the video - didn't add to a sense of cohesion - more confusion. And I am a bit 'over' the sweeping arabesque lines. They evoke Byron Bay, Brett Whitely and dolphins - so should be used with complete abandonment or not at all.

I'm saving the best for last. Our houshold has been sniggering all weekend over this one. Jonathon Vencore's fossils. Nicely arranged in a small red walled room in cute little sample boxes. He's invented a new geology for every day bits. this was very camp, and a bit abject and hence right up the mayhem alley of delight. There's a whole heap of sculpted/resined rocky bits, with titles like "Anusite", "Littlite", "Dentatite", "Erectite", "Bunnite", "Pantitie" "Rimmite". And punters got to match the titles to what was in fornt of the eyeballs. Yum Yum, and I enjoyed explaining why the rimmite looked like a bunch of tongues to some young things.

Crikey - its hard being a critic. Here I am showing that my critical judgement IS largely dictated by my peurile sense of humour. I am also really obsessed by looking at rocks. I can't explain why. Nor can I explain that the one time my mum and better half bonded, was by spending SIX HOURS staring at and sorting geology photographs - after a solid xmas dinner. I think rocks are kind of exquisite and mineral - but also have this evocative quality that feeds into my own anothropomorphising tendences. So I reckon Vencore (note new buzz words) has mobilised this affective register rather well.

Thursday was a biggie for art openings but I managed only two. Before 4A I'd been down at Artspace avoiding pies. I'd killed time before the show wandering out along the cowper wharf. My god its an odd part of sydney, wiht bolted marinas - and Cafe Otto - which was full of scary loking dudes in suits. No women. I kid you not. Is this the new colombian?

ahem. Back to the gunnery. Inside.
Mari Velonaki's animatronic installation pulled the punters into the biggest queue - as eveyrone lined up to enter the space two by two. Its a good piece whihc consists of two wheelchairs moving around and writing letters whihc get spat out like ticker tape on the floor.

sublimely cute

I used the s word with caution and a delicate hint of irony, coz I'm always prickly aobut pompous write ups. But the following link does have nough of the eyeball informtaion wihtout too much dross.......

I paced up the other end of artspace and eyed off the beverages on offer, and decided to decline. Strolling into Eugenia Raskopolous's 'there are no words" I was tempted to agree, and wished I'd imbibed a bit more. But then i left again and decided that I'm open for any challenge.

Her website bit has some nice words about filling up the dark cavernous bit of artpsace with more dark cavernousity.

We're in a region beyond speech, where there are no words, where there cannot be any words. There is only affect; consciousness gagged, choking down on a response which it will never articulate as such.

My own response, was to start looking at the exit sign glinting in the foyer to the toilets. This was probably not a great sign. It was light and polychrome. Her intervention was dark and gloomy. I'm afraid of the dark and quite claustrophobic.

I'm going to call that bit of artpsace - the dark cavern. Coz it is a dark cavern, and evokes emeories of artpsace as an old artists squat. It alos reminds me of an old squat in ultimo. Explosed beams, old bricks, DAMP. DARK. I go in there and can help but imagine old mattresses, bad goon and candlelight, so I'm always impressed when people can transform the space into something else (like Monica Bengoa) , or as the case of the lempriere - fill it with enough bright young things as to distract one from the gloom......

Anyway I saw something at artpsace a few years ago in the dark cave - which had all these projections onto double sided screens - and it was quite intriguiging and engaging. Eugenia's piece reminded me of that - but was less fulfilling. It's HARD to take people into the space of nothing especially when there's lots of other fund stuff happening around. I was reminded of the sensation of being at a warehouse rave without enough chemicals and I left.

Fortunately utopia was not far away. Telervo and Oliver Kalleinen have spent 3 months workign with old hippy communes in Australia, making stories based on experiences creating Utopian communities. As I live in the idyllic surrounds of an artists dystopia myself, I was pretty keen to see what they came up with. the main film is really interesting whacky coumentary amking that is somewhere between Australian Story and Lars Von Trier. I like the juxtaposition of projections of jumperclad old hippies and the black clad cool crowd of artspace. I like how the Kalleinen duo managed to make something unusual and odd, but not evoke a perjorative voyeuristic sensibility. There's the same sort of sympathetic engagement that Lucas's Kellerberrin blog had............. refreshingly free of cringe.

I reckon the Kalleinen's real genius was in creating the complaints workshop in BIRMINGHAM. Imagine that? Getting a whole bunch of whingeing poms to whinge into art. "Compalints
choir" is heartwarming chuckle material. Get info at or go and see the film at artspace - in the room near the counter.

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