Puppets with Attitude

Riding around Brunswick enjoying the sunshine and looking for interesting things to write about I couldn’t go past the Brunswick Pop Up Gallery. Especially after I looked in the window and saw a giant pink dust mite and some other puppets.

Felipe Reynolds, Dust Mite

Felipe Reynolds, Dust Mite

The curator, Joe Blanck was gallery sitting at the time. Joe told me about the dark exhibition opening where they had covered up the windows and visitors were given lanterns like the International Surrealist Exhibition of 1938. Joe is evidently a fan of Surrealism with a Dalian soft watch tattooed on his wrist. In the darkness of the opening he had moved his puppets around the crowd.

There are 18 artists exhibiting in this exhibition and there is a lot of humor in the dark exhibition theme, like the puppet “Spanky, the manic teddy”. Some of the exhibition is in the realm of fantastic art; sculptures by Richard Mueck, brother of Ron Mueck, the paintings by Beau White and Isabel Peppard’s “Pupa” sculpture.

Chip Wardale’s “ installation “7 music videos, 7 questions and self-reflections” was effective and lived up to its title. The outside of the installation didn’t contribute but it didn’t really matter once inside. Watching industrial music videos inside a mirrored cube was like being in your own small private world.

Recently when discussing the architectural work of late 19th and 20th century sculptors I was asked if there were the same amount of work for sculptors today. Classical inspired architecture requires bas-relief and other sculptural ornaments. The Corinthian columns with their stylised Acanthus leaves on their ornate capitals all had to be designed and carved. Now with modern architecture eschewing ornamentation, where had all the work for sculptors gone? The Darkness Within provides ample clues to answer that question, there has been a growth of scenic artists for movies, theatre and advertising. Joe Blanck, for example, works at Creature Technology Company, the company behind recent arena spectaculars like Walking With Dinosaurs and How To Train Your Dragon.

(Brunswick Pop Up Gallery, it’s sort of, new Brunswick Pop Up Gallery on Albert Street, I’m sure I’ve seen exhibitions there over the years under different names. As if there weren’t enough galleries with “Brunswick” in their name in Melbourne….)

About Mark Holsworth

Arts administrator, artist, musician, philosopher and writer. Writes Black Mark - Melbourne Art and Culture Critic. View all posts by Mark Holsworth

4 responses to “Puppets with Attitude

  • erickuns

    That dust mite is wicked cool.

  • Chip Wardale

    Indeed, where has all the work for sculptors gone. In the modelling trade, 3d printing and powerful software has pretty much wiped out modelling sculptors just as CGI all but wiped out animatronics. Industrial processes replacing craft. Nothing new.

    • Mark Holsworth

      Good point about industrial process replacing craft repeatedly and the loss of work in each round. (And keep making those industrial music videos & viewing spaces.)

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