Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Interstitial Spaces

the 'true' artist is supposed to help the world by revealing 'mystic' truths about things

This was - scrawled (in jest) byt mathew hopkins, around some target style painted thing on the walls at SCA. If I was on a better computer I'd stick up the mobile phone pic I (illegally) took of Hopkin's socks that he invited viewers to imagine as a pack of ravenous bulldogs menacing them through those scary hallways of the painting block. Am I the only person in the world who finds the SCA painting block COMPLETELY TERRIFYING? Hopkins paranoid sockizo delirium was like blowing rasberries at the boeogeyman of scary pompous graduation show, like 'serious art man' and it made me laugh.

In contrast to the painting wing, I usually find the sculpture performance installation wing deliciously airy and crumbly and it makes me happy. It's hard for work to shake me from this state of contentment - and since I'd gone to see the works of two friends then I was practically BOVINE. I forgot to note the person who did the plaited hair microphone curtain installation, but it looked elegant and seductive, almost as much as the wall of empty frames... which scared me coz I was thinking that maybe I'd been reading griselda pollock too closely and was desperate to find meaning in anything.... anyway - climbing into Nick Strike's tennis racket coffee pot orgasmatron made me really delighted, on a totally embodied level and I forgot all about Lacan and any tumescent angst and just enjoyed the curves and shapes and coffee stains.... and this put me in the perfect mood to watch 'artist and theorist' Melissa Laing's airline blanket performance. Her performance consists in sitting with the work, and visible creating it, whihc in this case consist of window vistas constructed by painstakingly unthreading sections of woven airline blankets. One of the things I enjoy LOTS about textile artists is a haptic familiarity with the sheer neurotic insanity of spending HOURS ANd HOURS doing really painfully intensely minute actions on bits of cloth, and the way sweat, blood and fingerskin get imbedded into the work. Non-sewers probably don't have this appreciation so melissa's daily hours provided an accessable means for eyeballing punters to witness what made the work. time, patience, time, touching, thread, more time, and bloody sore fingers. I love the distracted prsence of studio conversations - while people are engrossed in work, so this was really nice. Meanwhile Nick Strike had some dillemma of someone asking what was the point of conceptual work.... oh... god.... concepts maybe?

Right now however I'm a long way from SCA and having regrets at not asking my dentist for a copy of my tooth xrays from this morning. He was giving me nice clear directives about the phenomenological joys of getting to know my interstitial spaces by a combination of visualisation and touch. I've spent the rest of the day flossing, rubbing my tongue in the newly polished surfaces, sucking air between each tooth, imagining the tear drop caverns between each squeezing molar... no infections, no new holes, I'm releived.

There is a very obscure connection betweent he dentist chair in rural NSW and contemporary art in sydney, and it is via Nick Bourriaud's book on Relational aeshtetics - which was published nearly a decade ago - so I'm not hyping it as the next big thing - just a set of criteria that I happen to like.

the big B - presents an attractive set of aesthetic criteria that incorproate the slick ease of negotiating the increasing squeeze on social mobility produced by rapidly intensifying hypermodernity.... am I using too many big words?

OK, once upon a time there were structures: them versus us: the avante garde versus the rear-garde, the bourgeousie versus bohemia. Artists could be edgy, there were more warehouse spaces, artists were poor, there werent' many dealers. then things got shaken up a lot, and things are still shaking.Bourriaud refers to insterstitial spaces as those slippery little nooks between established cutlurla and commercial isntitutions where creative cultural entrepreneurs slide together - this is WAYYY ore niche than niche - I'm talking extreme sports temporariness; of space, work and subjectivity. The squatspace collective (which sprung from a squatted gallery space on broadway) -which has thrived as a funny nexus of art, agitprop and community action is the best local example of Relational Aesthetics in action.

but relational aesheticis extend further such that local doyens like the artlife straw poll's artist of the year 'DMC' - shift constantly between various identities as academic, performer, writer, 'personality' paid curator, volunteer gallery manager, AND artist - with the straw poll reflecting not only his social popularity but the fact that pulling off all of the above is an art in itelf.

DMC aka Dan the Man has been involved in 2 wonderful projects of late - (of last week). One was the opening of the australiana (not) show at Hazelhurst Regional Art gallery - and I've only seen the catalogue so don't want to comment further. but the show pulled together a lot of nice notable emergings and establisheds to do some thoughtful and provocative eyeball wringing on Australia, the shire and all that jazz. (tho Scragg things Liam Bensons' alter ego might be turning her gay). so this was the serious side. the catalogue is great btw.

the other project coincided with the MOP xmas party where Mayhem DID get out to and did get really drunk and remembered why I avoid art openings.....ahem. the party of course was TOPS - and the best arty xmas party I've been too fer AYGES. the walls were festooned with $50 works by a plethora of notables and non notables, and the space reminded me so much of williamsburg on a good night I almost shivered with glee, and nearly wet myself having extended drunken conversations with some expat nooyorkans..... apart from the fun and funky art, what was tres BRILLO about this show - was the nexus between the space, the producers and the buyers, which shows how damnably delightful ARI's can be. Mayhem LIKES it A LOT when artists can afford to buy their own work and the work of their peers, and LIKE it a LOT when donated work supports a space that supports artists.

The drawcard of the evening was funeral songs...which I like coz it was collective and fun and I got to take something home, and the installation was great, and DMC's dance moves totally inspired me on the dance floor at the colombian later.... but also I really liked the poignant link to like, you know... death. It was not only an excuse for a bunch of artists and arty types to do a bit of facebook style tastemaking performativity - but coz the pretext was funerals, and coz DMC set up the whole thing by referring to the death of his brother - he actually made a really nice space for people to have some conversations about death, and losing loved ones and remembering them... and this is the magic of culture - not the content - but the connections, and making connections that don't exist otherwise.

speaking of connections, my Mum just told me about the latest dramas at the local art gallery, where one of the artists aka the Sappho of BiLo went up to a committee member in the supermarket and loudly declaimed her oringal compositions of lady lust over the loaves of wonderwhite. It's enough to give a girl THRUSH just thinking about it.


Daniel said...

Thanks for the review, ms Mayhem. I liked your take on Funeral Songs.

Who is Sappho of Bilo? Can you introduce me some time?

Skanky Jane said...

Tumescent is one of my very most favourite words.

I really enjoyed reading this post.

SJ xx