In the beginning we gathered together to eat, speaking casually of the potential power gained
from organising an art show framed in a queer context. Pertinent and vaguely musty words
rolled around in our mouths, we spoke of things like the de-queering of queer,
heteronormativity, gay marriage, and the value of family.
Along the way each artist picked through the usual human debris, dug through drawers,
scoured markets and plucked traces from crumpled sheets. Symbols were recycled, the streets
were combed and time was stretched and warped.
Based on the title, it is not unreasonable for a viewer to anticipate an exhibition of
metaphorical answers, a mounting rationale or to expect to see these reasons. Instead, when
walking around OUTSIDE a swathe of questions trail behind. What did we want to say? Why
did we need to have this show? Who did we make it for? What did we expect?
Four key spaces make up the downstairs part of the previously vacant Peel Street building.
There is a cracked and dusty bathroom, a sturdy staircase, and two odd half formed rooms.
Andrew Atchison’s weighty version of the colour spectrum seem like hasty props perched in
the corners of the bathroom. Stripped of the shimmering bravado of rainbow theatrics, they
lean dusty and sti against the wall. They are muted, flashing MDF underbellies.
The deflated remnants of a sleepover are laid out under the stairs. Stale Cheezels, fizzy lollies
and mounds of dirt lie in a thick layer over a thin pink sleeping bag. Where pop music should
be, a steady thrum rolls from the boxy stereo. Time is hard to gauge. Is 30 cms by Nadia
Combe a nostalgic glimpse into the past or the build up of years? Are these layers of teenage
sediment revealed in a future archeological dig?
Yandell Walton and Lauren Dunn’s Moment hints at strategies of collaboration, quiet shared
experiences and the passing of time. In OUTSIDE, as artists and co-curators, these two
women are partners collaborating as artists for the first time. A photograph of people lying in
bed is printed on a sheet and neatly pulled over a mattress. Days whizz by in a sped up
projection of light through the window.
For my live art piece titled I don’t want revenge, 36 hours over six days is spent sharpening and
grinding over 30 axes and axe-heads. In a small airless room, I am dressed in black. The swirl
and shhh of the wet grindstone and the steady rub of the file patiently wear away at the rusted
steel, wiping and honing blunt edges.
Walking up the stairs there is one large room – a sort of dining room, a not quite hall.
Relics from the performance, Heartbreaker, by Arie Rain Glorie hang from steel reinforcing
across a corner. The torn and dirty items are arranged like pieces of evidence, the missing body
displayed on small nearby TV screen. The artist is seen twirling, swinging a kettle bell from a
rope around his hips. Jerking and crashing to the floor, chasing the tossed weight, he is caught
in some maniacal and morose slapstick routine.
As if stumbled upon in the street, Salote Tawale’s sticky, ramshackle Cinema seems a defiant
DIY private intervention, a staking of claim. In place of an idol, the TV sits sheltered under
salvaged tarpaulins. Signs of worshipping and hinted codes of behaviour are strewn across the
cardboard covered floor, melted ice-cream still clings to sticks, Homebrand deodorant is for
sale and the hijacked MGM lion is an adorable menace.
Kali Rose’s gentle durational work, Kintsugi, is an exhausting and obsessive meditation on the
cracks and crevices in the brick and mortar space. Working from dawn to dusk, over 40 hours
was spent repairing and filling the decayed wall. Poking a probing with a tiny brush, flake by
tiny gold flake gradually formed seams of gold.
Mounted, gaping and totemic on the back wall of the upstairs main room is Jonas Ropponen’s
giant mask, You are not able to see my face, because no man may see me and yet live. As if
transported to a dining hall, the mask is regal, exotic and foreboding. Upon closer inspection
crinkly pubic hair and fingernail clippings are found hidden in the congealed paint job.
Ultimately, the putting together of this show, has been a queer experience. There has been a
reveling in the absurd, fossicking amongst the strange and exposed parts of ourselves. This is
the arduous and exhilarating process of art making and exhibition organising. OUTSIDE sits
nestled inside a strange, vacant interstitial building, and will exist only for a moment. It is a peep
show of current arts practice, curated together in a queer context.
How does this change the reading of our work?
By Amy-Jo Jory
Participating artist and Co-curator with Lauren Dunn and Yandell Walton
OUTSIDE. Reasons for Leaving Your Back Door Unlocked.
17–27 January, 2013
12 Peel Street, Collingwood
Arie Rain Glorie