It's about time

It's about time presents the work of Alex Gawronski, Mark Hislop and Elvis Richardson. Each of these artists returns to consider in a fairly specific way, the original evocativeness of the gallery title Death be Kind. It's about time is familiar as an exclamation upon arrival that implies an impatient wait.

Art Exhibition previously on at DEATH BE KIND in Victoria, Australia.
From Tuesday 10 May 2011 to Sunday 29 May 2011
Launch Tuesday 10 May 2011, 6pm

It's about time image

Published by anonymous on Friday 06 May 2011.
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As one of the founders of Death be Kind Elvis Richardson has a long-standing interest in themes of the longevity and precariousness of artistic ‘fame’. Her work for this particular exhibition centres on a series of anagrams derived from the phrase ‘Important Artist’. The wordplay that results is simultaneously playful, absurd and vaguely sinister. Actually, in this case Richardson’s concern is with the sort of hyperbole associated with the endemic inflation of the famous artist’s public reputation and persona. Her text pieces broadly parody the sorts of conspiracy theories so popular in the mass media. Through such conspiracies the suggestible are encouraged to read the most exaggerated importance into otherwise conspicuously prosaic events and objects. Richardson’s overlaying of delusional pop-culture and art world fame-fixation questions the sorts of similarly exaggerated readings often applied to the work of contemporary ‘artist-heroes’. Overall, Richardson’s clever text derivations erased from a layer of soot on paper, cast a wry eye over a milieu where frequently the emperor is indeed, without clothes.

Somewhat mirroring Richardson’s preoccupations, is Alex Gawronski’s Relative Currency (Homage to James Ensor). This work transforms two of the galleries walls into mock memorials. Here Gawronski asks, again in lieu of the gallery title, what is in a name? In the art world names are a currency of their own and ultimately even more valuable than the material worth of physical artworks. Nonetheless, the powerful exchangeability of the artist’s name is, quite literally in the end, seriously relative. Who can tell after an artist’s death whether the currency of their name will prevail? Does this matter in any case? If it doesn’t, then what is the true value, beyond ‘investment’ or monetary significance, of an artist’s work? Such a question is rendered even more opaque and difficult to quantify once the concept of value has been transferred from isolatable objects to the immaterial dynamics of art genuinely practiced and therefore always already ensconced in processes of change and decay. Suitably, the subtitle of Gawronski’s installation conceptually recounts proto-modernist James Ensor’s 1888 etching ‘My Portrait in 1960’. In this work, Ensor sardonically depicted himself as a worm-eaten skeleton casually lounging in the deathbed to which he must have long ago been abandoned.

Mark Hislop’s works re-interpret Christopher Maclaine’s 1953 film The End. Fittingly, the film tells the stories of six people on the brink of death, in most cases by suicide. The personal despair of the characters is counter-posed to the greater threat of the ‘mass-suicide of the human race’ via nuclear extinction. Hislop considers the film’s dark paradox in a watercolour painting that questions the sequential notion of beginning to end. The ambiguity implied is made self evident in another work in which an image of a flip-clock reflects onto black plastic the ultimate, if not ultimately banal reminder of an unavoidable mortality.