Hany Armanious

Ocular Lab
31 Pearson Street, Brunswick West, Melbourne, September 2005
Hany Armanious suggests that creativity, moments of change, all activity is a hot moment of friction then explosion. His sculpture Central Core Component from the Centre of the Universe models this combustion-reaction of new ideas. The sculpture is made of cast expander foam, cast pewter, polystyrene balls, carved and painted polystyrene pillars, a wax seat with candle, and a composite block of pepper corns. Like much of his work it intimates that alchemy and hallucination are essential. LSD, faith and hope are the beginning of all thought. It made me think, Is this how we generate an idea? Is this how the world explodes into being?
Rob McKenzie


Pawel Althamer

Works from the Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Collection
via Modane 16 Turin, September 2005
Mentre mi accingo a scrivere queste righe su Pawel Althamer - nella speranza di farlo in fretta, in fondo sono state sollecitate dal fatto che la mia amica ha colto, durante una visita a una mostra, la semplice fascinazione che una sua opera ha esercitato su di me - ho sulla mia scrivania, per caso, il volume archive in motion 50 Jahre / Years documenta 1955-2005. 50 anni di arte e 50 anni di mostre, anzi della "mostra delle mostre", mi fanno pensare a questa scultura autoritratto di Althamer, nudo, la pelle raggrinzita e ingiallita, sul naso ancora - solo – i suoi occhiali. In relazione allo scorrere del tempo, al deteriorarsi degli elementi, all'invecchiamento di uomini e cose Althamer affronta il rapporto fra ciò che era e ciò che è. In relazione allo specifico dell'arte contemporanea, il rapporto fra opera, mostra e documentazione. L'opera di Althamer si inserisce in questi passaggi, però, come un adunaton logico, qualcosa di impossibile presentato come del tutto verosimile. L'opera, contemporanea, nasce vecchia, archeologica, da bacheca di museo (delle scienze post-atomiche). Nasce per confrontarsi con il suo stesso destino di testimonianza, con la sua collocazione tra spazio espositivo e documento d'archivio. E l'essere che raffigura appartiene a un tempo contratto (o dilatato) che suggerisce l'eterno, il dopo, o il prima. Nasce in viaggio nel tempo. Non è un caso che Althamer abbia partecipato proprio a documenta X come alieno in visita sulla terra.
Andrea Viliani


Nick Mangan

Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces
200 Gertrude Street Fitzroy Melbourne, September 2005
The Colony compiled a series of objects and each object a crowd of bits hewn from a variety of woods. Op-shop finds including polynesian-styled-souvenir-salad-spoons, pacific-islander-shop-trinketry, teak side-boards and knitting needles accompanied hardware store items such as axe and hammer handles. Nick collected the already-constructed and cut it out, and into, material. Each bit was frayed, as it entered into the collective; implying that everything is always coming undone, and at every instant. At moments, it seemed that the crafting which gave rise to the object-conglomerates might not be an activity entirely proportionate to the movements of a single maker; but instead arose from processes connected to some kind of multitudinous force of labour (such as the insistent holes that emerge from the mouths of a million termites, or centuries of embodied knowledge compressed into a technique like knitting). Even though we know this is not the case, the works obsessive-compulsive hyper-crafting solidified and then burst into symbolic resonance, so that something like the re-enactment or third-hand appropriation of the semi-archeological, semi-ethnographic, held sway. At first encounter, the work seemed to yearn for a nostalgic return to origins; in which notions of the authentic (of the real, the ritual) was sited, and fashioned within an aesthetic of ‘the tribal’. But this work implies a post-faux-neo-tribalism, or an appropriation of appropriations (and so on); of an authentic that never-ever existed. This work tells us the real is so very un-real and it lives in the crevices of a souvenir spoon, or a gallery floorboard, or wherever.
Bianca Hester


On Demand

The Centre of Attention
67 Clapton Common, London, September 2005
On Demand, works by Oreet Ashery, The Guerrilla Girls, Ben Morieson, Eileen Perrier, Markus Vater: You may select a work by one of the artists and arrange for the Centre of Attention to bring the selected work to your home. If you wish they will discuss it with you, and with your permission document it in the environment it is viewed in.

I volunteered for Markus Vater to visit my home. Usually I experience Art outside my flat. This was different I was letting Art in. Now the visit has been and gone and Markus has left me with a homemade bomb.
He arrived on his bike, his plinth, of course, in an IKEA bag courtesy of Gary and Pierre (from The Centre for Attention). Markus spoke of his seeking to explore the notion of taking a photograph, the belief that the photographic act steals a little part of the soul of the subject that becomes trapped forever in the image. Gone forever from the control or will of the subject. It seems apt to unpick this idea at a time when the line between gossip and fact has been blurred by surveillance and opportune digital evidence. Everyone is a reporter, a maker of opinion. Look I was there! It’s documentary evidence! It’s on my phone!
I thought Markus approached the series of poses he made, with the things in the flat and objects he brought with him, as a series of drawings, each mark (pose) inviting the next. Markus began the process by stealing a few bytes of light from the computer screen. He explored the space, he set up the shots, I colluded in the acts, I pressed the button, I took the image. My flat is awash with accumulated trash, retrieved proof of extravagant consumption, things that might still be recycled, repaired, maybe remade. I gave Markus carte blanche to move or use anything in the flat. Finally he separated a partly trashed alarm clock, battery exposed, he found some coiled BT wire and chose a couple of refilled water bottles. Somehow with his black tape they could become this other fearful object, and before he had left he'd made the bomb.
Elaina Arkeooll



Blakatak event #1

Museum of Contemporary Art, Circular Quay, Sydney
Saturday 17 September 2005 1.30 - 5.30 pm
Dominant doctrines of beauty: informing expectations of aesthetics in blak art practice and the market.
(click on the link above for more information, comments and discussion)