Rhonda Voo with the Croo
Exhibition /Installation/ Performance / Residue
Entrepot gallery, Hunter St, Hobart.
9-5 daily until May 20th
By Gai Anderson
If you have a chance this week, get down to the Entrepot Gallery where a group of artists continue to play together responding to the word ‘Rendezvous’ through performance and live art. They aim to keep the space “alive” and inhabited by changing artists on a daily basis. Following the “live “ creation in the gallery, a trace or residue of the work is left to accumulate over the weeks of the exhibition, leaving tantalising, exciting, and sometimes oblique traces of what has happened here.
At the official opening, Rhonda Voo (aka Laura Purcell) chatted with the crowd, filling glasses and posing for photographs. Her stunning blue chiffon gown and amazing bouffant hair underlined her social standing as a renowned Hobart Socialite and Facilitator of the Arts as she pointed out a number of pieces created by artists working their live art here earlier in the week.
To begin the tour she points to the window shelf where artists Katherine Galloway, Shelley Buckpitt and Rahni Allan have placed an ornate metal cake stand, part-filled with the remains of a batch of brightly decorated cup cakes. Like slightly faded post - ball debutantes, they are not fresh any more but still inviting. In the far corner of the room their sister empty-crispy-corrugated skins lie arranged in a toppling pile, licked and stretched.They almost seem to be moving back towards the others.
On the back wall, a collection of 30 or so pencil sketched portraits were the result of Anna Cocks and Darren Cooks’, “Blind Date”. Exploring the notion of the simultaneous portrait, participants chose one of the artists as a “date”. They then drew a portrait without looking at the paper and the results are surprisingly alive and recognisable in their scribbly way. The accumulation of all the images side by side makes a powerful evocation of the process that occurred.
Chris Leiaubons’ work explored aspects of genealogy and the searching for possible ancestors. His residue was a composite portrait, an amorphous continuous head created from photos taken of passers-by during his day of performance. The photographs were shot, printed and shredded right there, the equipment lined up across the space, before being reassembled to hang on the wall. The portrait is very engaging, the eyes and mouths and slivers of flesh blending into a quite disturbing character. Would I really want this person as my ancestor? Below, a pile of discarded photo shreds made a visceral reminder of the hands on process that happened here and the bodies of those involved.
Fiona Richardsons’ piece looks at the appropriation of culture, a subject she is exploring for her Honours in Sculpture. Having worked with a group of young people from Geeveston who appropriate culture through their mobile phones, Fiona walked up and down on a roll of paper laid across the gallery space, her feet covered in Geeveston mud, all the while sending text messages. The result is a swirling mud map now hanging on the wall, its dried detritus fallen off the paper into a pile of delicate dark brown flakes resting on the bottom of scroll.
Meanwhile, in the three corners of the room, The Intercollective – a group of three young woman from Perth ,were in colour-coordinated outfits and settings, offering five minute dates. All had a French theme it seemed, each tiny interactions, tiny collaborations with the public. One could chose from a) French knitting with Claire – blue wool in her blue arm chairs, or b) Listening to a French song with Laura – all in white; white bed, retro stereo and vinyl records, or c) Cooking and eat crepes with Anna – all in red at her kitchen table, helping her pour batter into the pan (don’t forget to flip!).
Visually it was interesting, quirky, and the atmosphere built as people milled about and waited for their turn. But I craved something more from my five-minute dates – a more heightened engagement,something less pedestrian and I came away wondering what they were trying to say ?
And herein lies the dilemma that I sometimes have with conceptual art,and perhaps even a basic difference between performative art as opposed to performance as we generally know it.
How do I find the meaning in this if there is no story I can find,or no sense of a heightened reality that perhaps says something metaphorical? Perhaps I need to see more of the Intercollectives work to put it into some context?
But still, I really enjoyed this exhibition, it is as varied as the many artists involved, and it has made me think more about the nature of performance as visual art. So check it out if you can.