The work will work both in the traditional gallery context as well as the more public spaces. The first showing is at the Aquatic centre in homebush. The prints will be predominately 12x16 inches with ten or so bigger.
In main stream culture the representation of men, as we closed the 20th century, as expressed in photography is dominated by "well defined body" and "beefcake" type. It could be easily argued that in this country he is also Caucasian. Sculpture that presents the male nude also conforms to this, what has happened from Greek times to the current era is that the men depicted are getting bigger pecks/breasts, going from just "youthful well defined" to "beefcake". From an obsession with healthy living both elite sport and the gym culture have grown the problem of steroid taking, its side effects, as well as other drugs.
If this exhibition had of been presented 20 years ago it would be ghettoized as a "gay art show" since that time the adverting and porn (both soft and hard) industries have pushed this type of work into the mainstream. Now in order to make the work touch new nerves I'm not presupposing first world/western superiority in relation to the bodies depicted nor the sculptures.
This exhibition follows the exhibitions "Occupation" (which was part of the group show "fractured fairytales") shown in 1997, and "tohave + tohold" which toured 2000/1.
"Occupation" looked at men in uniform and how their every day acts have sexual overtones if taken out of context. They were presented as diptychs with the "aggressor" on the left and the "victim" on the right. But when the nationality, size or age of the person in either position changed, it challenges our perception of who was in the position of power.
"to have + tohold" looked at men (44 of as many different ages, sizes and nationalities as i could find) and what they want in relationships. Once again they were presented as diptychs but this time the right side one was the "model's" writing what they require in a partner. The whole show is on the internet and responses from people in cyber space are included in the shows.
This proposed show has the same conceptual motif as these two previous shows. It is an inclusive look at men that live in Sydney, this time sport is the bind that is over layed. My work is concerns the beauty and celebration of the average male and addressing issues about the changing masculinity which confronts us. It is about who we all are, not just who we would like to be, or will accept as "desirable".or the current fashionable male body.
As Australia is one of the most successful multicultural nations on the
planet and I would like the art presented and representations to reflect this.
This body of work is presenting the ordinary as equal to the gods and warriors
of a previous generation. I will as usual let the art critics articulate the
shows positioning in the current debates
on body, masculinityand identity debates, as well as post-modern and post
G: tell me about my show
S: your show ok, so this is for proposals, keys words and phrases would have to be that you're writing back to the notions of beauty and power and ideals of power in your practice. What you're doing as a photographer is looking at iconic images of the body beautiful and powerful body but reinterpreting them and redirecting the surface of the skin back to it. I'd call it more a writing back, which is more of a post modern trope in that its all about pastiche, all about picking up moments of informed culture to where we are today, and realigning them with Post modern theory, which is the demise of eurocentric hegemony; and that is of such importance: its the one thing in post modernism - that it writes back to the author. And I think that comes about in your practice even though you're using Anglo bodies you're positioning them in a venerable state or you're reinterpreting signs, that once delivered a certain message and you're throwing them back and saying, "hang on, wait a minute, the world has changed and a very different place."
G: did I mention irony in the series?
S: Irony is the second most important trope in post modernism
G: Brecker was the first to do the gymmer body,
G: there was a change in the ideal body at that time which is prevalent now.
S: completely prevalent now. Look at a magazine stand at the local news agency. The body beautiful, which is the worked body, the muscled body - the muscles are defined not for work, but for presentation for exhibition. These muscles do not come about because you're banging in nails or beating leather, but because you're on a piece of equipment that's designed to make this type of body and it exists completely autonomously outside of work. So, it can become idealised because its outside the everyday.
Keyword: I think the timeliness of your work is that it speaks from a marginalised position. What is interesting about you as an artist is that you're an anglo artist that, but addressing issues you feel a bit concerned for. Obviously. Otherwise you wouldn't be doing it, which is a real turn around in political correctness theory in that usually artists from a marginialised position will take up the authorship. Where you are mainstream anglo-celtic artist in that you're taking that, you're taking that responsibility and feeding it back. For me your work is all about writing back to notions about art history.
G; that's interesting cause I keep butting up against the whole political correctness thing, that because I'm from the majority culture I can't take this position because its not right.
S. why is it not right
G. I don't understand that part of political correctness that only the marginalised can speak for the marginalised. I don't see "Assimilation" and "Gods and Warriors - Given a Sporting Stance" are not preaching to those coming out of colonialism, but I feel I'm preaching to the majority culture the anglo celtic community. They are my audice; that people from the minority can be proud is a major plus.
S. As someone looking at your work it could also be said that you are an artist number one, and what ever political message that you happen to be delivering is secondary to your artistic intention - which is about beauty and the body and how you can re-inscribe notions beauty independent of race theory, post modernist theory, political correctness theory when we pare it back to pure aesthetics and you as an artist and take you out of post modernist tropes of the politicisation of art and all those issues that art gets swept up in you're dealing with notions of beauty
G. yes if the work is not beautiful enough that some one cant walk off the street and find it interesting enough to spent 10 mins looking at the show then I've failed. If I can't communicate on the most basic level I've failed if there is a thousand one things in the show and it haunts them.
S: if you're haunt them that's what arts all about, there has been and your one of the artists, that is returning back to the real, to the object, returning back to the ideals of art instead of getting caught up with the in all the political crap your putting them aside and saying this is what I'm compelled to do if you feel u need to read them in these contexts than it says more about you as a audience than about me as an artist. I think art has always been a two way street Where as u as a producer of art, there is an audience and there is an object. And its always left up to interpretation, u can't except that.
There was no art theory until 1968. Now in 2002 there is a desire for artist to go back to the object, to seek beauty to seek harmony to deliver what they see to the world back to the world rather than it be caught up in political however because of art theory and because of the whole industry worth a lot of money, in academia in publishing in any kind of art writing any contemporary art space federal and state funding it is tied up in the notion of art theory...
With your work paricully u are artist about beauty classical beauty and the body and for better or for worse that is a highly contentious issue. Because that in politics will never be resolved its fluid moving notion that due to different types of media different ways of presenting the body different being in space of moving in space of representing the body will always change as a photographer some people will say that u have the responsibility because you capture the moment there's a big debate and always ahs been a debate about photography and representation and high art and low art, the interesting thing about u is your taking moments of high art and hijacking them fantastically using the medium of photography but your not just high jacking and requisitioning
them your actually inverting them and that will always rely on art theorists to disseminate those ideas across. Your work will always be written about by art critics.
G: But I'm fine with that but I cant articulate that in those terms
S: And why should you you've already articulated it. your responsibility as you're an artist isn't to write phototheory cause your not an academic! Thank god your not a academic. That's the culture industry, Theodore aduratue, wrote beautifully on it at the thordore institute, he wrote all about the culture theory.
G: 20 years go this ways a gay show, 40 years ago it was outrageous... now its mainstream.. that's part of why I've highjack the high art to legitimize the nakedness
S: do you think you need to do that as an artist? Or is it about irony?
G: yes, I find a irony that I follow Ritts Mapplethorpe et el
S: what is interesting about your work is you open a can of worms...
that's good because your doing quite a few things. Your providing a platfolm for a lot of people to write about you. I like to talk about art as an industry, not as some autonomous zone where someone sit in the garret and throw out the work into the world. Its an industry where your reliant on critics writers creators and galleries and they rely on you. You're the first point of contact your feeding them with images and they are taking them with them. But I really feel that the wonderful things about your work is.
a. it re-address the notions of beauty in a very timely way, because beauty has been forgotten about
especially in photo media where everything became goody realism beauty became poo poo, it was considered not art.
G: mapplethorpe was the last one to do beauty
S: especially in male figures, then it got really gritty..
mapplethorpe inform so much of 80s and 90s art history. Whats impressive about your work is that when its on a table with a lot of other artists or photographers there's a conscience effort in representing beauty which is what artist dispel because they believe that beauty because of all the art history and art theory is something that will some one comments that your work is beautiful it is somehow dumbing it down, which I think is really problematic. That's in a academic way, u don't talk about beauty anymore you talk about politics.
G: there's a scence in which to get the show the artist needs to present the show in art speak so they need a
S: as a photographer how do you feel about your work and how its spoken about? Turning it back around to you?
G: doesn't worry me infact I like it talked about in those terms because I learnt the terms in phototheory but I've never become confident enough to use them.
I'm wondering if I'll be crucified for using Arno Breker I think most of what is now what is male iconography and the ideal body is so close to what breaker was doing in the 30s...
S: its all tied up with that Aryan mythology I cant see your getting slammed for using that imagery because your highjacking it .
|Some Other Men||Occupation||Edges||toHave & toHold||Awaiting Approval||Gods + Warriors||re-Pat||BAD FiLM|