Concrete Stuff

Will Coles “I Fucking <3 Melbourne” at Dark Horse Experiment; Coles is being ironic with the title of the exhibition – he is based in Sydney. And Coles’s exhibition has a cement mixer sized load of irony.

I have to declare a conflict of interests in writing about Coles’s exhibition because Catherine and I bought two of his small works at the exhibition. Coles cast concrete objects made me laugh (really), it made me cry (not really, but there was some sentimentality in some of the works) and it made want to buy. It made a lot of people want to buy; there was a queue of buyers at the desk. Will Coles was also giving away 40 prints to the early birds along with 1 trillion dollar bills with a portrait of him smoking a cigar, so lots of people at the exhibition were going home with some of his art.

Will Coles "Might Is Right" and small works

Will Coles “Might Is Right” and small works

As this was Will Coles’s first exhibition in Melbourne it was a bit of a mini retrospective with a sample of his well known works from the crushed cans to the TV sets. The small work, the cans, phones, remote controls, etc. were grouped around “Might is Right”, a large gold Buddha holding a gold Kalashnikov. The “Memorial to the Unknown Armchair General”, an armchair and pouffe cast in concrete, provided another focal point. His gallery editions are cast various colours of resin and cement. I hadn’t seen Coles culture jamming prints before but although competent and ironically funny, they aren’t as good as his sculpture.

Memorial to the Unknown Armchair General

Memorial to the Unknown Armchair General

You can read my article about Will Coles in Trouble magazine about Coles work in relation to Jasper Johns and the history of sculpture. For more images see Land of SunshineWill Coles Hits Melbourne”. And there are still more of Coles works to find on the streets of the Melbourne.

Will Coles Crushed Can on Melbourne street.

Will Coles Crushed Can on Melbourne street.

Will Coles mask in Rutledge Lane

Will Coles mask in Rutledge Lane


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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