If You’re Feeling Arty Farty…

June 27, 2008 at 3:44 am (Uncategorized)

I’m still unable to post from my home computer, which is causing all sorts of problems and interrupting the floooooow, darlinks. It’s actually a serious pain in the arse. Mike recommended downloading Firefox, which is exactly what the WordPress people suggested too, but I’m concerned my computer won’t survive it. Put it this way. When I took it into a Mac store recently, staff gathered around excitedly, whispering and pointing at it like it was something straight from a time capsule. One of the younger staff members had never seen one before; he was just happy the rumours were true. So yes, my equipment is a little dated… on its last legs. It actually groans in the night. All of which makes me loath to attempt to force advanced software on it now. It’s like asking grandma to start dressing like a Gen Y-er – embarrassing for all involved, and doomed to failure.

So until I can afford a new computer, we’re just going to have to keep muddling on. I’m now writing myself emails on my computer at home, then dashing up the road to post the content as a blog. Not very efficient, but at least it works.

Anyway, my generally positive reception to the 2008 Biennale of Sydney continues. I went to the MCA with my friend Liv yesterday and we both agreed there was some excellent, intriguing art on display. Leon Ferrari’s La civilizacion occidental y cristiana (1965) is shockingly prescient. Executed partly in response to the USA’s bombing of Vietnam, it could easily have been created as a critique of the war in Iraq. In terms of revolutions, forms that turn, how disturbing to see what comes around again and again, and with it all the lessons we fail to learn.

One of the most recognisable works is Maurico Cattelan’s Novecento (1997). You won’t draw a single comment on communism VS fascism from the suspended taxidermied horse’s mouth, but that’s apparently part of the inspiration for the piece. It’s faintly ludicrous – absurd, really – which is certainly an effective subversive political critique in my book. It’s also simply funny, as well as being disturbing. This once majestic creature (Cattelan’s Italy?) is left hanging, humiliated, and unable to salvage its dignity. It’s certainly a sight to see.

I love Attila Csorgo’s Slanting Water (1995), especially the surprise story of how the image was captured, and Natascha Sadr Haghighian’s I can’t work like this (2007), which is amusingly agitated, really like a frustrating task abandoned. Julie Rrap is always provocative (Liv told me yesterday something I hadn’t known: Rrap is Mike Parr’s daughter, and Rrap comes from Parr in reverse… these artists are such tricksters… Cattelan used to send a friend in his place to interviews, confusing his identity and playing with the presumed integrity of an artist’s interpretation of his or her own work), and Giuseppe Pinot-Gallizio’s Senza titolo o Rotolo di pittura industriale 1958 anticipates Warhol’s commodification of art through consumer products and replication. Pinot-Gallizio spray-painted a long roll of canvas, which unfurls from high above the wall just like a gigantic, carelessly unspooling toilet roll, which could be cut and sold by the metre; unlike Warhol’s screen print repetitions, since each metre is unique, but wholly anticipating the later artist’s interest in factory line, de-romanticised interventions into notions of artistic “Purity.” Good stuff, in other words, if you like that sort of thing (and I do).

Of course, there’s also the usual selection of disappointing shit, but you get that.


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