First Site & Platform

I haven’t been doing my regular day of visiting galleries in the past three weeks. I have been busy with home renovations and the Taoist Jihad exhibition at Brunswick Arts. Catherine has been writing a blog about our home renovations – Under Construction (emulating the diary of Samuel Peeps, in a small way but with more digital photos). I have been meaning to write something for that too.

Finally today I did get some time to go to the city. At First Site at RMIT I saw Kate Hansen exhibition “(re) surfacing”. Hansen’s paintings are beautiful surface textures inspired by the urban environment but that is all they are – surface.

Also at First Site Andrea Kaliviotis is exhibiting “Beyond the wall”. It is a boring example of what you can do with a piece of string; the most minimal exhibition that I have seen in a long time.

At Platform Bernadette Trench-Theideman “Eat The City”, is an exhibition of photographs and live plants growing in architectural models of the city blocks. The didactic panels are very didactic, educating the viewer with bits of information. The photographs are large format and look like staged propaganda. The message was clear; growing your own vegetables in the urban environment makes good sense. However, this was not supported by the choice of inedible plants in the exhibition – it is amazing that plants would grow under the fluorescent lights of the subway. Various northern suburbs organizations, Ceres and the ILma Lever Garden, were involved with the exhibition, along with Whitemoss, the florists. And even as I prepare lettuce from my garden for dinner I don’t think that it is art.

At Vitrine (part of Platform) artist and designer Paul Spence is showing great retro-futuristic night-lights. The centrepiece of the exhibition was the Vagyro; a night-light was a combined technology and eroticism. The exhibition space and the bed in the installation detracted somewhat from the elegance and quality of the night-lights.

In Sample (also part of Platform) Jody Cleaver ‘Flowered’ something to do with Pope Benedict XVI and, according to Cleaver “how faith and systematic beliefs relate to nature and sexuality in Australia.” The installation looked good with a DVD animation in a floral frame but ultimately had a confused or confusing message. Why a sculpture puppet of a pope on wheels?


About Mark Holsworth

Writer, independent researcher and artist, Mark Holsworth is the author of the book Sculptures of Melbourne. View all posts by Mark Holsworth

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