World's End

Carlton Hotel & Studios
Upper level, 193 Bourke St, Melbourne, March – April
Nadine Christensen, Ross Coulter, Greg Creek, Eleanor Crook, Leslie Eastman, Sean Loughrey, Max Mosscrop, Simon Pericich, PLPFA, Steven Rendall, Benet Spencer, Meredith Turnbull, Lisa Young. Curated by Steven Rendall and Meredith Turnbull
It’s probably because of the impossibility of making anything other than oblique reference to the outsized theme, that this exhibition seems to best fit together through the slightly chaotic and paranoid feeling you get from searching for connections between the works. And it’s probably because of this queasy feeling of meaninglessness that the more immediately personal works are the ones to stick out the most.

Ross Coulter’s Quartz for example, is made up of a basic wood frame supporting a TV, which displays an image of the artist’s head backlit by ethereal blue light. Underneath it a tiny monitor loops a few seconds of an animated human heart, set against a plain white background. At the bottom of the structure is another TV displaying a pair of feet, which dangle in mid-air as if levitating. Accompanying all this is a regular machine beeping noise. Although it looks like a half-serious, half-silly take on the phenomenon of the millennial religious cult, it could also be a high-tech, quasi-sacrosanct self-memorial. Closer to home it vaguely recalls the anonymous final message — “RIP Jodie & Steph” — posted by Melbourne teenagers on their myspace page just before they committed suicide.

Simon Pericich’s LAST DAYS SALE SALE SALE MUST END SOON similarly plays with this self-memorialising, this time with a real garage sale of his and several special invited guests’ artworks and personal junk — t-shirts, cans of beer, a side table that looks like it’s made of sticks, a pair of boots, a gas bottle, etc., etc. The small crumbling room and weak lighting, as with Coulter’s work, can’t help but add to the pathos. So instead of your immortal soul leaving earth for cyberspace, the bleaker picture here is that what’s left over after the “last days” is simply a collection of meaningless stuff. In other words, Pericich’s emphasis is less on the spiritual and more on the material: on what you’ve left behind, living-on after you, as dead weight.
Michael Ascroft


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