Matthew Griffin

We Get Tricks
Uplands Gallery, Studio 2&3 249 - 251 Chapel Street Prahran, Oct 2007
There are tricks all over this show, Magic Happens (bowling ball and sticker) being the clearest example. But the best trick is the one that made me feel like a flake (being a maker it’s inevitable) – the artist/the trickster and the audience/the tricked. Griffin does this by dressing up and acting it out.

At the front of the show, someone big on all fours modelled a sunshine made of shit and a video piece. The sun’s design was redolent of a kind of coastal scene. Griffin seems to think this is bad, well, shit. Or what this stands for is. Things like Nature and dream catchers with feathers, a sloppy rhetorical kind of activism, wearable and sold at markets. Griffin’s intention to tattoo a hippy on a dolphin has been well documented.

The sun piece set up another video in which Griffin appears as a kind of gathering eco-artist tinker. This shifts Griffin’s target from the general to art. The footage takes place in the bush and then the studio. Here Griffin mocks a current version of art’s default relationship to nature. Griffin as young creative has his naturalness exaggerated by his upsized comedy manhood, made out of some foul kinked bit of balloon and a wig – seemed a bit itchy. He chooses twigs in a dumb reverential way, holding them up to the camera/audience for examination or proof. Later he returns to the studio to interpret his experience in a crappy organic wooden sculpture that doesn’t work and just falls about.

I can’t help but spell this all out because I really like this work and set of things. Griffin’s silly/floppy taps of the hammer are the cherry. Watching I start to feel like a hypocrite and want to give up and be a nurse or something. But it’s ok I’ll take it because I have not found many things that house my annoyance and give me back humour like this, and that’s what I want.
Kate Smith


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Am not a "right-wing" person myself, in fact quite the opposite. But I do admire Rupert Murdoch and the fact he has built himself up from scratch, in a variety of media, expressing a variety of views, despite the undergrad half-baked self-masturbatory sludge you elite tossers call art. Keep the tissues handy you obscure non-entity. Sell the cum rags as well. They require more talent and artistry than your efforts. Get over the fact an Australian can achieve global success, and donates far more to charity than you carping unemployed scum with too much time on your hands litlerally ever will. Revel in your mediocrity.

12:32 PM  
Anonymous Geoff said...

Dear she-or-he-who has-no-name, yes I agree with you it’s not about left or right politics. Rupert Murdoch can scare or gift as much as he likes. Whereas someone like Matt Griffin is so fearful it seems he has dived into a table! This individual’s attempt to represent what he thinks or feels has you demeaning him as scum. It’s intolerable to me how you triumph the powerful position over some one who seeks to find a way to say what they feel or think, every individual has a right to speak.

9:02 PM  
Anonymous Jarrod Rawlins said...

Dear anonymous, lets begin with some simple facts: Rupert Murdoch is not self-made, he did NOT build himself up from scratch. He is from the privileged educated ruling class, he was groomed at Oxford University to become the ‘global success’ he is today (whatever that means). And philanthropy, are you really convinced by that, do you really believe Murdoch and co. are altruistic? The fact remains that this work by Matthew Griffin was not a personal attack on Rupert Murdoch nor has it anything to do with Australian’s achieving global success. It is in fact a joke on you and you fell for it. It does not make us feel better that you feel for this, nor does it make us want to wank harder. But it does reinforce the reasons for my own version of philanthropy (which could be seen as quiet mediocre) where support provided to express a thing is more valuable than ever before. See you at the Carlton launch of your self-congratulatory autobiography titled ‘Ex-pats rule: my three years in a Tuscan villa’. By the way, are you from the Hillsong church? Jarrod Rawlins, Director, Uplands Gallery, Melbourne

12:56 AM  
Anonymous michelle said...

Rupert Murdoch makes terrible newspapers and i find that very offensive. No body should be allowed to make crap newspapers and in Australia we seem to have a plethera of them...in fact more than the fake shit Matt Griffin seems to be aquiring.
The photos rock, Im a big fan of a man who can turn an art reference into a joke, then back into art. I hate being made fun of, but Matt does it so well it always leaves me hurting for more and wishing I never went there in the first place. The bowling ball and newspaper/bounty work is a stroke of genius. I always fear that I dont fully get the joke - but thats what I enjoy as well - good art is something we all learn from...I think Fischli and Weiss would be proud....Im waitng for the video when the shit explodes Matt?

1:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

all of you simply don't have the guts to realise what you think is over, nobody needs it, its badly done

4:17 AM  
Anonymous Geoff said...

Is this the same anonymous? Is this Matt Griffin? Surely it hasn't come to this?
I'm afraid I didn't see this show because I'm overseas achieving 'global success', looking for an environment where you can advance a thought. Now I see why so much defended and defensive work gets made. For me, Matt's shit is great.

4:33 AM  
Anonymous David said...

Finally some diverse points of view rather than all the same old ideas.

4:56 AM  
Anonymous Geoff said...

I can't tell if we are in some Helen Demidenko remake here? Quite frankly David, I find our bourgeoisie really sickening when they say I've-heard-it -all-before, which you often hear said about the Aboriginal question. We have become a disingenuous audience talking in codes.

5:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the point is who would want to buy all the crap anyway

4:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

art like this has no relevance to anyone let alone Rupert Murdoch

4:08 AM  
Anonymous simon barney said...

Anyone using the classic ‘wanker’ sledge could at least get it right – don’t forget the bit about ‘in your bedroom’.
I’m not sure that anyone who thinks the worth of an idea can be simply calculated by counting financial return and audience reach is ever going to have much interest in contemporary art of any sort.
That statistical method might work in business but applied to art it’s merely an alibi for an inability to handle indeterminacy. Conversations aren’t invalidated by their lack of a measurable outcome.
I haven’t seen the show either but I’m interested. As it happens some of my best friends
work for Murdoch. He started with one paper in Adelaide, but his ability to work that up into a global media empire shouldn’t quarantine him from criticism – his activities are important, we should be considering them.
I like the Bounty work. It has a deftness and lightness of touch absent from some of the comments about it. I don’t know what is intended. Is Matthew lampooning Murdoch or lionising him – the classic pirate who starts out with a bucket boat and after years of cutlasses and cannons steps his way up to the best ship on the seas? Maybe he’s lampooning the righteousness of protest art. Use of the wrapper itself asks me to reconsider a bit of ephemera I’d generally count meaningless. I don’t mind the idea that something previously unnoticed might be worth a look. Or that it might make me look silly.
Oh look, I’ve run out of tissues.

12:55 AM  
Anonymous Stuart said...

This work doesn’t depend on someone buying it to make it relevant. How can any artwork taking a critical look at Murdoch and his control over a vast worldwide media empire be irrelevant? Perhaps we should leave all the commentary to Murdoch-owned media outlets.

12:57 AM  
Blogger Tao said...

Perhaps Anon. is instinctively and inarticulately responding to what I found to be a nihilistic aspect to Griffin's humor. Though I don't think this is the right word, in the face of work that provides no answers or solutions, no easy outs, the happy go lucky Joey will bounce him self silly and really get quite upset with all the hoo haa

11:18 PM  
Anonymous michelle said...

thanks simon barney, this is the kinda conversation i want to have - what the hell is this work about. Im serious - i dont get all of it but im not about it write it off...anon - what do you mean by badly done and done before? - what is well done anyway? it looks pretty well cooked to me and i havn't seen another matt griffin anywhere - there are influences and styles but i think matt handles these in his stride. we all know that sales are irrelvent to interesting/good art - and if your onto a winner it usually works in reverse...or maybe you didn't know that before..but you do now...so you learn't something. What else can we learn? When i look at that bounty time piece..i think of the Bounty Ad from when i was a kid and there is something similar between the surface of Murdochs face and the shitty bar i know is beneath the wrapper...and that makes me not want to unwrap it. What i like most about this show is the use of collage as a technique to flesh out ideas - without using collage ala surrealist cut & paste tits and ass...and the way matt encourages us to use our imaginations to fill in the gaps...the photos do this for me the most - the table less...but i do like how it is a guy bent over ready to take it- not a chick.

1:20 AM  
Anonymous michelle said...

i wana take that back about the not selling/interesting art/works in reverse..im so jack of that conversation in australia - in todays economy everything is for sale.
what is more interesting is how much is the Bounty/Time piece? Can you tell us Jarrod? ..and is it as much as a Time Mag and a Bounty from my local Newsagent? If I buy my own from the newy then how can i guarrentee to stick the bounty in the same place?..cause thats poetry working..and can someone tell me why when i think of the Bounty Ad, I also think of the old Milk Ad where young femmes are diving off a yacht in white swimwear - and with Murdoch as a pirate with that smirk the whole imagery of this piece is working wonders for me.
Matt - I also know your reading this so can you shed some light on this work and tell us a little bit about it? and Simon the deftness and lightness of touch your talking - tell us what you see.

1:45 AM  
Anonymous deckard said...

Am the original anonymous. I respect most of the gallery's work, but do honestly think Matt Griffin's work is shit literally.

12:06 PM  

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