Sunday, June 25, 2017

The National at Carriageworks - 25 June

So I got picked by one of those friendly market researchers to do a survey about this show.  How did I hear about it?  Social media, and advertisements at bus shelters.  Those ads must have been around for a while, because this was the last day of The National at Carriageworks.  It's already red rover at the MCA so I'll tick the Meatloaf box when I get to the AGNSW later on ['cause 2 out of 3 ain't bad].

A few familiar names at this venue so I snuck in a last minute visit ...

I think I gave this show a solid 7 out of 10 on the guest survey, and I would've recommended it to a friend.  That was on the back of some great new work from some Big Lamington regulars and a few solid debuts from a couple of folks to watch.  Oh, and of course a couple of head scratchers that make you wonder what all the hype is about.

As an amateur vexillologist I have loved Archie Moore's experiments with flags.  Finally I have got to see his United Neytions (2014-2017) in the flesh (pictured top).  In this version there were 28 flags.  The wall sign listed them "from left to right, front to back, the 28 nations are" .... as you could guess, it took a while but I had an inkling that the Kamilaroi flag would've rocked the diamond pattern (thanks Reko Rennie!) and it was the 13th I counted through so I could start linking nations with their flag.  It's a great idea and its been executed very well.  This I would like to see more of, and more at eye level.

Next up was a sawdust 'carpet' from another BL favourite, Claudia Nicholson.  She has shown these alfombras de aserrin down at Dark Mofo so it was great to see one for myself, All I have are dreams of you, 2017 (pictured below).  Like many things seen online and then in person I was actually shocked it was on the floor.  To be honest I had read very quickly and thought the glitter would be stuck to a board a la her Blake Prize entry.  I was also lucky enough to see the final performance art event with south american singers dancing all over it before the punters themselves finally churned it to pieces (yes, that is my RM below).

Other highlights included Alan Griffiths tribal dance artefacts (group shot pictured middle) and Karla Dickens embellished strait jackets were interesting.  Ramesh Nithiyendren had a massive installation work here, The Cave.  Time Out said his works "are the product of thoughtful study of - and irreverence towards - establishment values and aesthetics".  Which must just be another way of saying they look slapped together and messy, like as if Tom Polo did a ceramics course.  Aesthetics aside, one of my complaints about his neon ejaculator (below) was anatomic - where are the balls?  Surely a set of balls wouldn't have been that hard to add on?  It is one of the most common things drawn on school desks after all - maybe it is just that irreverent attitude to establishment values?

Points:  3 points for Archie Moore's flags.  This work is timeless and will be remembered.  2 points for Claudia's sawdust homage to Selena.  Whilst this ephemeral work has already been destroyed, I was very impressed and I've read that the video will live on at the other National sites.  1 point will go to Alan Griffiths for the woollen totems.

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