06.02.09 - 28.02.09
GERTRUDE CONTEMPORARY ART SPACES, MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA
CONTEMPORARY ART SPACES TASMANIA (CAST), HOBART, TASMANIA
ARTISTS: Stuart Bailey, Justin Trendall, Scott Morrison, Sarah Goffman, James Dodd
CURATOR: Amita Kirpalani
What is in a slogan, catch phrase or mantra? These kinds of language snippets or dialectical bursts are often the distillation of an ideology. Whilst stemming from revolutionary ideas, slogans can take the shape of a seemingly simple throw-away line – the most recent example being Obama’s “Yes we can!”.
Cryptophilistinism was an investigation of how we employ a vacuous brashness in an attempt to decipher the barrage of images and information that surround us. With reference to popular culture, pseudo-academicism and the privileging of the referent, Kirpalani teases out our profound ability to say nothing really loudly and to a chorus of acclaim.
Featuring the work of five artists from across Australia, this exhibition featured new work in a range of media. Sydney-based artist Sarah Goffman employs obscure juxtapositions to explore the ways in which we construct the idea of ‘culture’ out of objects and images, often reducing them to souvenir tokenism. Scott Morrison’s work Oprah a go go is a video montage of women from television chat-show audiences becoming increasingly hysterical – but at what, we cannot see.
Similarly employing collage and montage as a method is Stuart Bailey. Combining references to militarism and nudists in order to highlight elements of control and overconfidence in ideals, his work responds to the recent financial crisis. Pointing to the apathetic optimism of our ‘everything will be okay’ attitude as we face the collapse of the predominant Neo-liberal gestalt. â€¨â€¨A sense of misplaced bravado is also apparent in James Dodd’s work, The Speakeasy. This hut covered with snippets of graffiti could be a makeshift shelter or the contemporary version of Plato’s Cave, but one where the activities within are seemingly illicit and illegal. Mapping connections between superficially antithetical ideas (how else could you connect Johnny Rotten and Climate Change?), Justin Trendall’s work for Cryptophilistinism takes the form of screen printed connections between what could be construed as impossible. These intricately detailed prints draw subjective connections establishing a kind of mind-map that is displayed casually slumped on the gallery wall, banner-like.