Thursday, August 9, 2012
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Saturday, July 21, 2012
Thursday, June 21, 2012
Thursday, June 14, 2012
The project began after both discussed their mutual interest in endurance based performance works, particularly the work of seminal performance artist Chris Burden. Burden’s work is marked by both his endurance based performances, but also mortal danger and physical pain. While the McMannon & Hegan were interested in creating endurance based works, their interest lay primarily with the subsequent experience of pain. Rather than doing an action which would be purposefully harmful to themselves they sought to reach a point of uncomfortable pain.
By choosing to stage such performances in a public space McMannon and Hegan were also engaging with art historical references to controversies involving art in the public sphere, most notably Richard Serra’s seminal Tilted Arc (1981). Tilted Arc was a public sculpture commissioned by the United States General Services Administration’s Arts-in-Architecture program for the Federal Plaza in New York, NY, USA. After intense public debate the work was controversially dismantled in 1989. Both artists agree that while the work was a successful sculpture, it did not succeed as a public sculpture, due to the fact of the environment in which it was placed. The work obstructed the path of those who had to interact with it daily. The yellow men project was founded upon this idea of obstructing the unknowing viewer’s path and thus forcing them to both engage and participate in each of their works however fleeting this engagement may have been. In doing this the Yellow men project was perhaps subconsciously aligning themselves also with the ‘Living sculpture’ works by Gilbert and George. This kind of confrontation had a varied response, but by the mere ritual of having to do a weekly performance this enabled both artists to refine their practice in the safety of the institution.
At the Qubit contemporary performance series at the Anteroom gallery, the Yellow men performed for the first time in a gallery space, with interesting results. Blow consisted of the simple act of blowing up an inflatable swimming pool and deflating it over and over again. This mundane act challenged the viewer’s engagement simply for the fact that the viewer immediately became aware of what both artists were doing and largely disengaged. Did it change? Or did it largely remain the same? This subtle performance did change over time, with both their bodies twisting and contorting through the uncomfortable process of squeezing air out of their lungs. Blow gradually became more physically grueling for both artists. But because of the majority of audience’s disengagement did this mean that the performance lost meaning, because of it’s repetitive nature? Or was it success in proving that repeating the same action can dislocate meaning? Wet, the second performance by the Yellow men initiated a completely different response, although it largely followed the same principal. It was utterly gut wrenchingly difficult and captivating to watch. Wet involved both McMannon and Hegan filling the paddling pool used in Blow with water. Then both artists sat cross legged in the pool, faced each other and then took turns at pours cups of water on each other’s heads. At first the atmosphere within the gallery was that of disengagement, but as the performance progressed the room became transfixed by the figures before us, as we watched them shiver in a self-perpetuated agony. I wanted to make them stop and drag them out and shove blankets on them, but I sat and watched this silent ritual and mediated upon the associations of such an action. My immediate response was that it reminded me of the process of baptism. It also communicated a collective frustration at both wanting to make the performance stop, yet remaining absolutely magnetically glued to their every movement.
Currently both artists are working on individual projects, with both continuing to look at both ritual and endurance based performances. They will both also be a part of a group show reconceptualising the current Mural show of New Zealand expressionist works, curated by Aaron Kreisler and Fiona O’Connor at the Dunedin Public art gallery in June.
Photos: Lucy Fulford (lucyfulford.co.nz)
Styling: Hana Aoake (bellaandmadeline.blogspot.co.nz)
Clothing: (Modern Miss Vintage Clothing, 21 Moray Place, Dunedin firstname.lastname@example.org)
Gideon Smit (Gideon@chrysalisfilms.co.nz http://www.chrysalisfilms.co.nz/)
Photos taken at Lover's leap, Dunedin Peninsula.
Each photograph is a poignantly executed self-portrait, which in essence describes Michalczyk’s emotional and nomadic journey from her homeland in Poland ten years ago. The title of the series refers to reflecting back upon this time spent long from home. Although each image portrays a sense of longing; etched within each is a memory, sense of establishing one’s identity and a sense of place and belonging. Michalczyk graduated from the Otago Polytechnic School of art with a bachelor of visual art (BVA) in photography. Michalczyk’s grew up in Soviet-era Poland in a four storey concrete block and lived with sixteen other families. Ten years ago governed by an itching to leave, Michalczyk moved to Ireland, where she struggled and then gradually adjusted to the cultural distinctions and lingual barriers. Since then she has lived what may be described as a nomadic existence, fuelled by her curiosity in exploring the world. “When you live in another country, you appreciate where you come from.” Like many of us who have travelled the experience fundamentally changes who you are as a person. For Michalczyk it has engrained her with a sense of patriotism for her homeland.
One of the most powerful images in the series is of the artist looking out into what can be described as a quintessentially New Zealand landscape in traditional Polish dress. It has an almost startling quality, which can leave one feeling breathless. In this work Michalczyk stares out aimlessly into the landscape, with her back turned to us, it suggests both nostalgia and isolation. It is rendered to a psychological, geographical and lingual reflection upon the distance between Poland and New Zealand, the unfamiliar and the familiar. But perhaps this work also suggests that Michalczyk has found a sense of place here in New Zealand, but originating from Poland will always represent who she is.
Lying in a milky white bath, Michalczyk gazes up in a sea of apples. This work is intrinsically nostalgic. It permeates upon the idea of memory, as a child Michalczyk recalled continuously eating apples and the lack of fruit variety available to people who lived in the on the Soviet bloc. The image itself is captivatingly absorbing, as the eye roves from the ghost like purity of the bath water to the boldly coloured apples and the artist’s delicate features floating in the water. The use of water also suggests the notion of rebirth.
All photos by Agata Michaelczyk
The use of toffee was an exhaustive exercise of trying to predict how it would change over time. This was due primarily to the sugar inside of the toffee reacting to atmospheric conditions. The toffee inside these bottles is constantly changing and moulding into something new. The toffee is in fact burnt and is of much deeper, richer colour than that of what we could actually eat. The necklaces made of Mylar and shaped like tiny little houses were hand sewn. Each work is so delicately refined and seemingltoddly so precious.Through the reference to both craft and the kitchen, Noone’s work is innately feminine. The collection examines the whole notion of ‘high’ and ‘low’ art hierarchies; through it’s incorporation of craft technique and the female’s role as a housewife. The collection is based upon the idea of a repressed traditional house wife, who expresses herself through the food she prepares in the kitchen. On a deeper level the works are a fundamental rejection of the idea that the ‘man brings home the bacon’ and the ‘women cook’. These works are a rejection of the gender roles in which we are socialised to uphold. Noone’s collection can be aligned to the idea of the ‘maternal’ body, through her use of materials and the use of text in reference to the semiotic. The series of symbols which appear throughout each work signifies the intended disruption of art historical hegemonies. At the very core of Lucy Noone’s jewellery is a celebration of the maternal, of cooking and of memory. It is both an examination of the gender roles and the connotations we associate with cooking. P
hotos: Lucy Fulford (lucyfulford.co.nz)
Styling: Hana Aoake Model:
Kayleigh from Ali McD