The Beast With Three Backs

Lane Cormick Tony Garifalakis Matthew Griffin
Project Space RMIT
23-27 Cardigan St Carlton Melbourne, August 2005
I find myself in front of work by Tony Garifilakis comprising a mass of framed pictures of faces; smashed, bloodied, chromed, brutalized. I catch myself in their spectacle, unable to remove myself from the imagery of fresh wounds. The faces are triumphant, defiant; moments of material made palpable. Then I wonder; who are these people? Where do they come from? By what circumstances has life inscribed itself upon them? They mock the specter of middle-class-ness. My banality.
Bianca Hester
see Griffin's comment


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The flip side of the coin, is that this is the same sort of portayal of Australia that we exported to America. There are any number of Australian films that incorporated even more gruesome felons than the Latino, white supremacist types in Garifalakis images from the internet. Walk down Elizabeth St near Coles Express and you'll be asked for your daily savings. I bet no one dares photograph these fellas. Best to stay in the nice suburbs.
But then again there are some people who only look intimidating.

"Yet everyone fears a psycho"
Quote from Chopper

4:27 PM  
Anonymous Geoff Lowe said...

hey Anonymous
why don't you use your name?
I don't get what you mean, you seem to be attacking?
are you saying these works avoid reality by dealing with image and metaphor?

2:29 PM  
Anonymous ALWAYS ALREADY READ said...

The ghost of middle-class-ness (or is that the peril…mmm…I hope it’s the ghost), nice suburbs, white supremacists, the internet, Coles Express: who gives a damn. I do not wish to deride or champion Garfilakis or any other work in this exhibition, I have looked at this show everyday since it opened and I have no idea how nostalgia for an Other life has anything to do with it. Nostalgia—maybe this is what you are writing when you make reference to your own lives after looking at a photograph of a skinhead. look or leave break the record, I will be more pleasant next visit.

7:52 AM  
Anonymous Geoff Lowe said...

I went to see this show today and they had taken it down. It's finished
I can't tell whether you mean the middle class are shocked by white suprematitsts or they are white suprematitsts.
Is anon saying that the artist wouldnt't photograph these people in reality only download their image?

12:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank god lane didnt make his van out of terracotta

2:31 AM  
Blogger matthew griffin said...

Hey all, long time reader first time writer. please forgive my spelling. When tony and i were installing the show he told me that his girlfriend was disturbed by the picture of dude on the invite for the show (the image on this blog). Irene had expressed concern that he might turn up to the opening and cause trouble. We laughed, as i am laughing now thinking about it. At first i thought it was funny because Irene thought that it might happen, then i thought about how funny it would be if it did happen. It didnt, he never showed.

i must have read these comments 20 times and i have no idea what is being said here. Is it positive/ negative/a reflection? Tony has never claimed himself as a sort of "dances with streetkids" type of charater, and i never saw that as the point. When we spoke about them we talked about the history of the individuals shown "what must have happened for that guy to get arrested half way thru getting his hair braided" "what the hell is that stuff on her face" or as simple as pointing out pictures that looked like artists we knew "Damiano ha ha" these are snapshots of people in a fucked situation and thats the only way i can relate to them. but thats kind of the point isnt it? I dont get the chopper qoute, i dont get the nostalgia bit, i got chills there multiplying. im starting to think Irene was right. Maybe he did turn up....maybe he has walked past everyday

9:39 AM  
Anonymous Bianca Hester said...

I’m not interested in championing or deriding work. Boring. I’m interested in how art work works…..how it hooks into you, connecting with things, ideas, events. It makes work of us. This project did that to me, it affected me and asked something our relation to the world. It seems that each post on the blog affects us in different ways, and for that I’m glad that it exists. (On that note, I have no ethical objection to anonymous posters, accept for that it’s kinda annoying to not be able to connect your comments to your contexts. Your context brings with it a bit of a texture that helps make shape of your words. Your anonymity seems a bit un-generous, but also understandable at the same time).

I don’t think that dealing with ‘otherness’ has to be about nostalgia for that Other (in terms of positioning it in an idealized site). Surely encounters with anything other than ‘ourselves’ is an encounter with Otherness. (Even dealing with ‘ourselves’ is to deal with otherness to some extent). The spectacle made of this otherness, and its perpetual commodification and consumption is the idea that this work has sparked for me….the haunting force of the consumption of anything and everything.

3:49 PM  
Blogger lyndal said...

I found this show quite perplexing, in a good way. I like all the questions it raised about being voyeuristic of fucked up people. Why do we feel justified in deriding junkies on Smithy when we're all PC about everyone else?

I feel the answer to that is obvious, we have to deal with them in our face. Tony's dudes are safely from the innernet and 'framed' (oh shit, so art wanky)

All these issues are most interesting but the burning one for me was the bucket with mouldy fish. I think it was fish, what was that all about, hey Griffo? Or Hesto or anyone else who can throw some light on this smelly issue.

2:53 AM  
Blogger matthew griffin said...

that was my piece Lyndal. the bucket had a pollywaffle in it. I was thinking about that pool scene in "caddyshack". Burn no longer.

5:12 AM  
Anonymous Brendan said...

I thought the show was awesome, it was just a shame that everyone I sent there to see Mark's work in the back couldn't get in. The story about Lane's van is a crack-up. The tow truck driver asked if the work was finished when he heard it was, he said "so is his career".

What a pearla.

And the pollywaffle is disgusting.

5:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey there, me again.
I just thought I'd sit this one out until all your steam had blown out. I really liked Tony's work. He's one of Australia's best artists and I'm not going to run him through the ringer based on a series of images from the internet. The quip about Elizabeth St is in reference to the fear I face every day looking at these crazed people on their way down the road to oblivion. The characters in Garafalakis work have nothing to lose and that is the one thing which I fear the most.

P.S don't assume that an anonymous comment is negative.

6:08 AM  

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