Daily Archives: March 22, 2008

Is the Art Alright?

Saturday, 22nd March, ABC news reports that the Degraves Street underpass has been damaged by road works overhead on Flinders St. The road works set off fire extinguishers flooding the shops in the underpass. I hope that this has not damaged the art or exhibition space of Platform as it is an artist run space that can really interact with the commuters using the underpass to get to Flinders St. Station. Please post comments if you have any more news about the underpass and Platform. I was just writing about Jen Addison’s exhibition at Platform.

Jen Addison exhibition Curio is fun, sometimes kitsch, or sentimental, or from a different perspective but that is what a curio is. There is a lot to look at in the scatter-style installation but it does add up. Addison has used many different materials and techniques, from sewing to sculpture. The Sample cabinet, where Addison is exhibiting is by the western stairwell in the Degraves St. underpass with Platform. I understand that this cabinet of Platform is for young artists, aged 15-25, but I don’t want to discriminate on the basis of age, when I say I enjoyed Curio.

Sleepless by Bonnie Lane is a video installation within an environment; the back room of Seventh Gallery has been turned into a bedroom. There are glowing stars on the ceiling and a bed, with pillow and sheets in one corner. It is dark and someone is singing a lullaby. A face projected on the white pillow is staring up, eyes open, sleepless. The conflict between a sleepy environment and the sleepless is not explored or explained. The viewers, like the video projector, are left to project their own sleepless thoughts on the room.

I want to try defining the technical art terms that I’ve used: ‘installation’, ‘environment’ and ‘scatter-style’. An ‘installation’ works with three-dimensional space of the gallery, or other exhibition space, such as the cabinets at Platform. The term ‘video installation’ is used to describe videos that are incorporated into the exhibition space. An ‘environment’, also works with the three-dimensional space, but alters the gallery or exhibition space to creates a new environment, like Lane’s bedroom environment. ‘Environments’ started with the Dadaists and Surrealists and returned with force in the 1960s. Installations started in the 1960s with Minimal art and Conceptual art. You won’t find ‘scatter-style’ in any art dictionary; it is my term for installations where there is an informal scattering of elements around the space, on the walls, floor and ceiling. It is an exhibition trend that started with Art Povera and informal exhibition styles in the 1960s. It became a real trend in contemporary installations.


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