Cultural Product

Cultural Product
Serving Suggestion

Thursday, June 16, 2005


Tank 2005
Every time I've visited the Art Gallery of NSW in the last ten years, I go to the Asian art section and gaze at the Scholar's table. I copied elements of it years ago, and once again thought it was necessary to simulate the objects, using plastics that I carved and altered and found objects. The tank idea came about as a result of reading of the Gallery's early days where the roof would leak so much that water would run down the walls. The staff would have to remove the paintings to save them! As the desk is situated in a giant floor to ceiling vitrine, I thought it would be nice to immerse the pieces in water. As the pieces were all plastics, balsa wood and Styrofoam, they floated and so they needed to be weighed down, we used lead and old lady's gloves filled with sand. What you see here is early the piece aged the rust started really coming on strong and the piece aged beautifully. The MCA worked hard to stop the rust* but the combination of materials and especially the lead we used to weigh everything down was TOXIC as hell.
This piece was hyper laden with problems and difficulties, and was a nightmare to install. It nearly destroyed my relationship with PJ who worked tirelessly helping me, and I believe it assisted in my allergic reaction to coffee! You see, when I was changing the water, by hand I was soaking in the poison water. After breaking the table a bit, and being shattered that I was so stupid not to have tested everything in advance (learning curve), I was at my 'wit's end'. I am a cuticle chewer when I am nervous and I stressed so much that day with the piece that I chewed myself ragged, whilst abusing strong long black coffees. The next day I was chemically changed, and ill. I have never had a real coffee since.**
I just remember it was fraught with trials and mega problems to solve, every step of the way. However, I was really glad to have realised the piece. No-one needs to know what a hellish struggle art stuff can be. But it is sometimes. I feel consumed by the need to get it right. It wasn't 100%, but it was worth it. I felt proud.
*I did not want to alter the piece. I accept that the work is changed by time, but the MCA insisted I repair the water situation...I do not agree. More work for me!
**Do you need to know that?

Pictured; the wonderful Michelle Hanlin and Robert Pulie I believe.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Rust = Age


What is this? A simulated display of a Shop. In the Gallery. Only silly, dare I say subversive? I didn't even know I was making it, until I did...another case of synchronicity, where I found the shelving and it exactly matched the shelving in the MCA shop at that time. I have always had a special fetishised attraction to all Museum shops, their haughty standards, they are so aquisitional, and the MCA store was no different. The arrangements and curious oddities remind me of Wunderkammers, but it is all about commerce. It's essentially a market for expensive designer items. And so, what is art? I have questions. There were a number of nice smelling things, as well as fresh fruit and vegetables.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Consumer Distributor

Shop 2005
Installation view
potato, television set ON ,hot glue, plastics, mung beans, glass, water, tomatoes, found pictures, paint, inks, bananas, metal, wood, wax, pencil, lights, lenses, cumin seeds, orange, paper, cardboard, fimo
I have a German carry bag with the words "Consumers distributing" on it. I love that concept!
Many of the objects in Shop are found and converted, and have to do with the art world. Small dioramas set the scene, and arrangements were constantly meddled with. I would come in over the course of the show and eat the blackened bananas (in this case I wanted the bright yellow of the fresh banana to be intact), and re-install components that had been moved.
I really like that curious people touch works and have a fiddle, it is part of the reality of showing to the public. But I have to restore order!

Monday, June 6, 2005


I have been collected used thick plastic bags for years and years. They are so durable, and perform this function of carrying your purchases home, and then being discarded. When new, they seem like a fashion accessory, people with armfuls of them in the city. All crinkling and shining. I saw one from an expensive designer that was so stylised, ornate and decorative, I wondered if the contents could be as ostentatious as the outer packaging. Possibly, as these days 'gaudy' has achieved a whole new status of being coveted. I really wanted that bag! Sometimes I want to ask people on the train to do a swap, as the colours of their bags are so extreme, and are not represented in my rainbow (above). No more swags bundled up in a bandana for us!
I have collected through different friends and family, all women: Kate Sowerby, Raquel Ormella, Olga Jakubovsky, Anne Kay, Josie Cavallaro, Lisa Kelly, Jane Goffman, Ngaire Worboys, Beth Eldridge, Shobhna Kumar and Sophie O'Brien to name a few. For this show, I got the MCA to collect for me. They also bought the lights, which I wanted to enhance the transparent qualities.
Refuse 2005
I like the dual possibilities of this title, it implies what is thrown away, and also is contentious in this time of re-cycling, as we are asked to refuse shopping bags.
I removed the logos and had them hung upside down on the bamboo sticks, coming out of the wall like banners, but the original idea was from a picture of washing lines in the past, hanging out of windows given to me by Lisa Kelly. I liked removing the logos. It was quite therapeutic, just cutting through plastic is satisfying, and erasing the designer's graphic imprint was exciting. Leaving traces of their handiwork, for sure, but eradicating their grip on the proposal to advertise felt deviant. What about copyright? Leaving these traces also has the effect of creating an architectural plan. What better urban development thing, as this is what houses our ever-increasing demands.
I do not shop very much. I haven't got the money! I don't work enough, and never work full time and haven't the desire for money that entails getting it together visavis making it. But I want to consume! As a teenager I did a lot of shoplifting. As a forty year old I still want new things, yet am satisfied with what I have. I see people in malls crowded day in and out, seemingly purchasing rigorously. Maybe they have all just lost their stuff in a fire, how do I know? I can't assume that everyone in the mall is there regularly, except the staff...some people do shop as a hobby, and as therapy. I guess in the past we would gather. I would rather be gathering firewood quite frankly, as long as I had enough to keep me warm and comfy clothing wise.
I do like a change. I change my hair colour often. I read different books. I travel to new places. I meet new people and try new things. Do I have to be involved in this shopping spree? I am involved! Some of my family are shop-a-holics. They have more than one of everything, and are always buying new things, to make their lives easier, and their houses nicer. Good on 'em, I get their throw-outs! As a matter of fact I probably wouldn't collect nearly as much as I do if it weren't for people re-furbishing and renovating. I happen to like the used and pre-loved (then chucked!) pieces. They speak of character and the past. Hell, one could build a house on what is thrown out in my suburb each week. Our waste is astronomical. I can just do what I can.
This piece will be ongoing, I envision a warehouse of the world's shopping bags, hung like the bloody United Nations!