Regarding Fear and Hope

Monash University Museum of Art and Faculty Gallery
Melbourne, July – August
Curated by Victoria Lynn
Spread across both Monash campuses, Regarding Fear and Hope reads like a mini-biennale – not surprising as it was developed at the same time as curator Victoria Lynn was working on Turbulence, the 3rd Auckland Triennial. The two projects included many of the same artists and used a similar curatorial rhetoric.

If you believe curators we must always be living in turbulent times. Perhaps curators are a particularly anxious or sensitive bunch, I guess travelling and hanging around artists all the time will take a psychological toll. Or perhaps it feeds from the ever-present notion of crisis in contemporary art. Or the expectation of these major biennale type shows to make some kind of internationally relevant zeitgeist statement – isn’t that what coca-cola does?

Avoiding these issues of biennale hype, the more focused and localised scale and scope of Lynn’s Monash exhibition allowed for a more direct and intimate experience of the artworks and the issues raised. The DVD triptych maang (message stick) by indigenous Australian artist r e a builds upon archival material layered with images of the Australian landscape and words in the Gamilaraay language. The multiple readings of history and myth overlap in this work dealing with the turbulence of colonisation. Collaborative works by Janet Burchill and Jennifer McCamley referenced the 1973 Fassbinder film (the story of an inter-racial and inter-generational love affair) in the neon piece Fear Eats the Soul.
Rosemary Forde
Regarding fear and hope, installation views, Monash University Museum of Art 2007, photography Christian Capurro


Blogger Kate Smith said...

yeah its so boring, and retro, that the only universal is post september 11 etc. Coke! Ha!

6:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the work that struck me in this show was the processesion of blackened 'products' most recognizable (and i hope i am remembering this right) to me was a chanel no 5 bottle

the work conflated 'images' of the dirty oil of capitalism sitting on a plywood sheet of colonialism on a death march of natural disaster

12:47 AM  
Blogger Rosemary said...

I think the work anonymous is talking about is by NZ artist Sriwhana Spong. Her work involved a kind of imitation Balinese shrine - a collection of small lacquered objects (including the perfume and coke bottles), installed in front of two projected DVD works - '7 Days' and 'Found Footage'.

5:49 AM  
Anonymous N. A. Braille said...

Kate Smith's comments recall the underwhelming response from many artists and non-artists to NZ's Turbulence. Although appreciation could be heard at sighting 'big works', like Phil Collins's Palestinian dancers, there appeared to be little sustained dialogue.

In terms of public discussion during the Triennial months, there was more debate over Matthew Collings' special mention of Eve Armstrong's 'pile of rubbish' at the Auckland Art Fair than any of the Turbulence works. The media scorn seemed in the tradition of the furore over et al in 2005 - fitting perhaps, since Artspace showed, around this time, a reworking of et al's 'fundamental practice'. With its google surveillance, the piece spoke as much to fear as the Turbulence works.

Presumably pithy generalist themes are intended as a device to widen the net of relevance to as broad an audience as possible. To what extent do they dissipate the potential provocative power of the enclosed works?

2:15 AM  
Blogger tao said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7:46 AM  
Blogger tao said...

Dissipate as a rule I think, and working to sabotage a works momentum, Well put n.a. brailie, And the total problem with any art marketing attempting to appeal to the general market the same collapse is found. Auckland's art gallery show, Mystic Truths; the title idea debased by an institutional context and rhetoric that it doesn't even try to recover from. A group of castrated works (excpt one). Reinforcing the title in this state was the only way to see a sign of success, like being the top uranium mine in Australia, whahooo! I think Art marketing should be uncompromising and elitist, just about always. ( i can't afford it) Why do our top institutions behave like first year design students. And can't comprehend let alone show a Paris Hilton level of savvy.

8:02 AM  

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