A Melbourne City Council email advertising a Vintage Sale at Phillips Shirt Factory in Little Lonsdale St piqued my interest. Gasp! a post industrial factory, hidden in a Melbourne laneway, not accessed by the public for aeons, selling vintage shirts and retro fabrics. Sounds like my dream come true. It was!
Vast quantities of vintage garments, dishevelled, abandoned sewing machines and garishly printed cotton. The only problem, it was all mens wear. Sigh.
I managed to bag a few small sized shirts which I will alter to fit my frame with the help of Mum’s old Singer sewing machine. A remnant of vivid seersucker also came home with me to be transformed into a nice frock.
The fittings and fixtures are straight from the 1950’s, and provided endless fascination to my creative eye. The building has been sold, I don’t know what will become of this treasure trove of fashion and nostalgia, her heady days as a doyen of the rag trade clearly behind her!
Each short film has a different theme, character and exploration of a different manifesto. Rosefeldt has edited and reassembled a collage of artists’ manifestos. The work draws on the work of Dadaists, Fluxus artists, Situtationists and Futurists , and the musings of individual artists, architects, dancers and filmmakers.
I particularly liked the reading of the Dada manifesto intoned by Blanchett, dressed as a middle aged, middle class woman mourner complete with sombre clothing, hat, and makeup standing beside a coffin at a funeral which was about to be lowered for burial. It was an effective juxtaposition of images, the positive yet absurd nature and clarity of the doctrine, against the ostentatiousness of the funeral and the ridiculousness of the burial process.
Its an exceptional installation, one I would recommend seeing.
My fellow artist Lauren Kennedy, was exhibiting her four piece neon installation at Ne Art Exhibition 2016. Its located in downtown Collingwood at the gritty end of Smith St. I caught the packed 86 tram along gertrude st to make a foray northside. An old converted shop space with upstairs rooms its an artist run initiative. I talked to several of the exhibiting artists including “Teloc” a diminutive vocal man who expounded on the virtues of neon.
The man whose factory made all the artists neon pieces, Steven Cole, is a third generation “bender”, industry speak for manufacture of neon. He said his industries early work was in signage but laterally it has been in art installation, and he shyly showed me his piece.
Lauren’s panels were proudly on display in the third room placed strategically next to the “Ziggy Stardust” piece. I wondered if this piece had been created prior to the great man’s demise. Her work brightened the dim space, gleaming iridescently and invitingly in the small space. As a body of four panels it made a bold statement addressing her creative intentions of depicting the inner angst a creative mind struggles with.
Dominoes, no not the age old game I played as a child, but a living art installation played out in Melbourne’s CBD, on a hot, lazy summer afternoon last Saturday.
My niece was in from out of town for a few days and cajoled me into going. I’m glad I did. The circuitous route of the domino path embraced parts of flinders lane, the Melbourne Town Hall, St Pauls Cathedral, Degraves St and even beat a path through the Crumpler store.
The domino pieces, which were blocks of chalky, lightweight concrete mix had been placed in perfect symmetry along the route, some lying, many upright but all in perfect accord of the overall plan. This plan was for each to tumble onto the other, causing all to fall in a sequential order. Volunteers were placed along the route to hand out information and guard the blocks. From my vantage point our “marshall ” complete with walkie talkie told us when they had started and how far away they were. A victory yell went up from the crowd as they tumbled toward us. Yes they fell in perfect formation, spectators stood transfixed, and it was evidence of an art installation involving all that captivated and engaged the audience.
These and other pieces by working Australian artists are featured in the “Lurid Beauty Exhibition” currently showing at the NGV’s Ian Potter Centre, Federation Square. Many of my favourite Australian artists are showing including Pat Brassington, a Tasmanian photographer and printmaker whose work features disembodied parts of the female body.
Exhibitors include Rosslynd Piggot, whose massive white bed imposes an improbable and powerful presence above the space inviting all to dream.
The gorgeous black and white photography of Max Dupain of the 1950’s models portrays images of a graceful and bygone era.
Early collage work by Sidney Nolan and David Noonan are featured. A taxidermied black cat waves goodbye to us at the end of the show. It looks like a stage prop or TV show persona and not a gallery piece. Such is the depth and wonder of this show my eyes were opened to works by artists I knew but didn’t know were part of the Dada and Surrealism movements. Being removed from Europe and the USA these artists created their own version of the movement. It is a brilliant show and many of these influential artists are currently teaching and working in Australia.
I found particularly poignant and whimsical the installations by Judith Wright in the foyer. They are assemblages of found objects of childhood relics eg horses heads, child’s toys and a rowboat. These works depict the loss of her child, and are the artists imaginings of how her child’s life would be if she had lived and grown through childhood.
This exhibition educated and exposed me to a vast area of work by Australian artists working in a wildly inventive field of exploration.
Brilliant Dilletantes, Subculture in Germany, in the 1980’s, is on at RMIT Storey Hall Gallery now until 27 February 2016. I liked what I saw. Tonight, 3rd December at 5.30pm a talk is being given about a new book by Australian writer and Berlin resident, Stuart Braun, discussing his new book “City of Exiles:Berlin from the Outside In” with Dr Peter Milne.
I believe both are worth a look.
I walked to Caulfield, from my home in Elsternwick to see the MADA Graduate Fine Art and Visual Art Exhibition. I wasn’t disappointed. The work on display was extremely innovative, explorative, and visually stunning. It covered a diverse range of visual practice including installation, photography, painting, printmaking, sculpture and drawing.
Spread over the entire floors of the old, iconic, former CIT Building, in Dandenong Rd, it embraced a fine visual aesthetic and displayed a comprehensive skill base of the newly graduated practitioners.
Of particular interest was the area where the Honours Students were exhibiting. This is the proposed 2016 studio space for the first year, Bachelor of Fine Art Degree students.
This comprehensive exhibition centred on the Boyd family, and their work, is informative and diverse. Historically interesting, it chronicles the work of one of the most influential, and significant Australian Art families. Working in the fields of painting, sculpture,pottery, ceramics, literature, architecture, poetry and music, there is much to see in the exhibition. Metric Boyd, Earthernware Vase, 1931
‘Polly’ , Arthur Boyd, oil painting, 1951
Arthur Boyd, Landscape, oil painting, 1969