On the second day of the contested hearing of the charges of production and possession of child pornography against Paul Yore. Magistrate Amanda Chambers will decide if the case at 9:30am on 1st of October.
Mark Newman Delany, commonly known as Max Delany, the senior curator at the NGV had prepared a report for the court on Paul Yore and his art including the his installation at Linden Gallery. It was labelled defence exhibit #4.
Max Delany explained to the court about collage and assemblage. He explained that the crucial factor in collage is that the cut is obvious, that it is evident that it has been taken from one source and placed in a different context. That the cut does violence to the image, it is unnatural; by removing the the image from its context the image no longer functions according to the context. That advertising images in a collage do not function as advertising.
Max Delany was asked by the police prosecutor, Acting Sargent Kirei Wall about the artistic merit of the pieces of cardboard that the police had cut out with a Stanley knife. Max Delany told the court that they were not now part of Paul Yore’s art work and were in the context of a court of law. He would only comment on Paul Yore’s work as a whole and went on further about the artistic merit of Yore’s work. When he was asked would it have artistic merit if the art was made by anyone else, Max Delany replied: “This art couldn’t be made by anyone else.”
The magistrate then asked the very difficult question of what factors constitute artistic merit. Max Delany’s list: professional discourse and recognition, technical and formal qualities, conceptual and historical qualities, poetic (creating new meaning in the everyday) and context.
Summing up the case for the defence barrister Neil Clelland asked the court if the material constitutes child pornography at the time that it was part of the installation, Everything is Fucked, between the 14th and 17th of May. Clelland made arguments about how images are produced and how they depict.
What is it to produce an image and how is this different from making art. That the artist does not produce the images in a collage but does make the collage.
What is it for an image to depict and that this does not depend on intent or that it is perceived as but that it is seen as depicting by a reasonable observer.
The police prosecutor, Acting Sargent Kirei Wall argued that Australian Classification Board only classified the submission on Paul Yore’s installation and not the whole installation. She also argued that the children were hurt because their images were included without their permission and that their photo was placed with a photo of adults in sexual poses or a sexual context without respect for their rights and reputation.
August 20th, 2014 at 12:11 AM
Did the police deface the artwork? I’m not familiar with this artist’s work but isn’t there a difference between rage over the sexualisation and abuse of children and the abuse of children by institutions? Your description of the court room sounds like the sort of sick voyeurism the artwork was depicting. Rage and irony is lost on the public.
August 20th, 2014 at 8:43 AM
The police did cut seven sections out of the art work. I wouldn’t even want to use the term “sexualisation” to describe the work, references to sex would be more accurate. I didn’t want to depict the court as engaging in voyeurism because that would imply that there was something anything being depicted. The court was implicitly recognising that the video was harmless and inoffensive.
August 20th, 2014 at 9:51 AM
I’m surprised the police couldn’t recognise the art work was harmless and inoffensive before cutting it up, but they are probably acting on the instructions of others. This is a very disturbing case for artists in general.
August 20th, 2014 at 10:32 AM
Yes. The police were being encouraged by some right wing wanna-be politicians. See my post https://melbourneartcritic.wordpress.com/2013/06/04/political-motivation-behind-police-raid/
August 20th, 2014 at 12:10 PM
So Jackson complained about the artwork because he found it offensive, and not just a complaint but resulted in the police defacing the artwork? Spillane collects nice art works, but art often isn’t nice, which is the point of it.
It’s not just stifling freedom of expression, but also misappropriation of tax payers money (not the council’s or government’s money) for a handful of people in power to control what art is. It’s not staying true to what is right and decent, but arrogantly pushing THEIR view of what is right and decent onto the public.
We all know that the culture and coverup of abuse of children by state and church institutions is neither right or decent. You are correct in saying there was a wall of silence when the abuse was reported, which shows absolute power corrupts absolutely.
I hope Paul Yore gets compensation for the destruction of his work, preferably out of Jackson’s and Spillane’s pockets, and a public apology. I also hope that the survivors of child abuse are able to call to account the state and church perpetrators with the support of these same self-appointed pillars of decency.