Daily Archives: June 5, 2009

@ Seventh Gallery

In Seventh’s front gallery there is photographic exhibition by Vanessa Van Houten’s “Remembering What’s Lost”. The photographs are very stylish juxtaposing a portrait photograph along with handwritten confessional notes by each of the subjects exploring moments of loss. I think that recognize Ghostpatrol and Miso amongst the subjects. However, the quantity of subjects, notes and unspecific loss made it feel a bit self-indulgent.

Sary Zananiri’s small exhibition “On the road to Jerusalem” at Seventh Gallery is located in the nook between the two main galleries. It is a small marginal space, narrow and confined, much like the space allocated to the Palestinians by Israel. Artists have used bullet holes before, notably by Niki de Saint Phalle and William Burroughs. In this exhibition Zananiri’s uses the readymade bullet holes in a wall in the West Bank, on the road to Jerusalem. The bullet impact craters were cast in glass and represented in topographic photograms; there are 11 in total, ranging in size from 15 cm to 1cm. Most are the size of my fist.

Maybe it is just because I live in Melbourne’s north with its large Muslim population that I think I can see evidence of a shift in opinion about Israel. It is not just the posters with the Palestinian flag on the street, or the collection boxes for the children of Gaza in cafes; it is in the political graffiti when writers make the distinction that anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism. It is also in Melbourne’s art galleries and theatres. There have been protests and misdirected controversy over a recent performance of Caryl Churchill’s play “Seven Jewish Children” and in 2004 when Azlan McLennan’s installation “56” was exhibited briefly at “24 Seven” in Melbourne before being censored by Melbourne City Council. These protests have only demonstrated a hysterical and manipulative aspect of Zionism. I haven’t heard of any protests about Sary Zananiri’s exhibition, even though the Australian Government and the Australia Council sponsored the art; maybe “On the road to Jerusalem” too small to attract controversy but each of those bullet holes packs a punch.

The back gallery of Seventh Gallery has had a window added, that increases the light in the small room. The window might be part of the installation of Sapna Chandu, “Mural #001” from the “The Living Room Series 2008”. Sapna Chandu, like the German artist, Gregor Schneider, makes rooms as works of art. “Mural #001” is comfortable and modern living-room with a retro-70s style in black, umber and chrome but the photograph that fills one wall (another 70s style feature) is of a wall in a burnt out house. The wall is made even more poignant by the 2 abandon paintings by a child still taped to the wall. The contrast of comfort, relaxing on comfortable lounge furniture, with faux melancholy view of the derelict wall is a contradiction art continually encounters from baroque paintings of beggars to contemporary issue-focused art.

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