Brendan van Hek, Lauren Brincat, Matthew Griffin
MAKE A SCENE
8th May – 27th June 2009
Anna Schwartz Gallery Carriageworks
Make A Scene is drawn from an ancient Greek theatrical concept, which is to create dramatic action to inspire change. To ‘make a scene’ is to create a spectacle, or the basis for a narrative. It implies theatrical activity ‑formal and informal. ‘Making a scene’ can also suggest a social movement; when something is popularised and fashionable, there can be a ‘new scene’. And of course it might also mean creating an unnecessary disturbance or ‘drama’ out of nothing; drawing attention to oneself.
The trace of an action leaves the trace of movement and gesture, animating artworks, despite inertia or inactivity. Think of Mike Parr’s drawings, as much performed as drawn, or abstract expressionist painting, or the installations of Terence Koh; often the consequences of extended performances made for objects only. For these performances Koh’s objects become personified and muse-like. They somehow possess mystical powers; art as religious mysticism, art with aura.
The works that ‘make a scene’ have deeply active qualities: static objects perform or imply dramatic action, both overtly and subtly. Sculpture and painting inherit some of the qualities of ‘time based’ art, including moving image and sound works. Through performance (or its traces), narrative, fantasy and subversion, a scene evolves with viewers navigating journeys in, around and through objects.
Theatricality,‘slap stick’ and make believe are often inherent in making a scene, producing art that is perhaps disguised as humorous or light-hearted, but paradoxically complex and affecting. Yves Klein’s Leap into the void or Bas Jan Ader’s Fall into the canal, although entertaining and indeed ‘theatrical’, strike deeply into our consciousness via visceral and emotional recognition. Works such as these are inherently political, philosophical and psychological; yet remain intensely poetic and function as aesthetic meditations.
Drawing on diverse references, the installations in ‘Make A Scene’ embody Klein and Koh, as much as abstract expressionism, geometric abstraction, pop, minimalism, the ‘happenings’ of the 1960s and relational practices of the 1990s. At the same time inspiration is drawn from music, cinema, theatre, literature, high art and popular culture, representing a discursive strategy that has come to be a defining marker of art being produced by artists of this generation.
Tania Doropoulos, Curator