Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Yinka Shonibare MBE at Anna Schwartz - 20 July

I took all my junior critics out to see this show at Anna Schwartz's Sydney outpost. Luckily for me I took them in two separate outings as the works are so appealing to children there was a big risk of touching.  This is on until 11 August and gets my solid recommendation for a visit. Given the gallery is located at Carriageworks you can also nip around the corner and indulge in a bit of train spotting if your 3 year old is into that sort of thing (mine is). On to the show ...

Invasion, Escape: Aliens do it right! is a really interesting group of work. There are a couple of alien statues crafted from his trademark dutch wax cloth. We loved these. My junior critics are reasonably familiar with Yinka's work given we have his dollhouse (complete with toy furniture sporting his trademark dutch wax cloth).  Two of the aliens happen to be flying arty UFOs (see above), again with dutch wax cloth wings. Then there is a big black wall with these round works of varying size that mostly frame some cloth again with various star wars type toys sticking from the edges (see below for a detail of one of them). They are quite surreal and a shame that it is all one job lot as I could kinda go for one of those but never fear as it does look like a good craft project for the junior critics who were trying to recognise some of the toys ("Look, Buzzlight Woody!"). The last thing is a collection of drawing / collages that give Yinka's take on Australian history and recent events focussing on immigration, illegal immigration and aboriginal rights (the US government classified me as a 'resident alien' when I was over there so I get the symbolism).  I quite liked the collages (which again used a bit of that dutch wax cloth) but loved the way he had framed them in yellow, black and red frames to make a sort of Aboriginal flag motif on the wall (and if you haven't realised it yet I am pretty big on flags). I would also highly recommend reading this SMH review as it was quite illuminating, I had thought it a bit naff how Shonibare also includes the MBE after his name but it seems he is making a political statement, so maybe that makes it okay? It also tells the story of how the dutch cloth represents globalisation (because the Dutch took the batik from indonesia, made it in holland and then sold it in Africa) far more fluently than I could be bothered to.

Points: I will go for the Alien Toy Painting for the 3 points.  In my mind this was a little less showy than the alien sculptures and was a better medium for the dutch wax cloth which I really like. To me, Yinka will always be the guy using the cloth, in the spirit of artist Vuk Vidor (who did the art history work Koons owns kitsch, Pollock owns drippings etc although I think another YBA artist did the same thing), Shonibare owns dutch wax. 2 points for the flag drawings en masse (see photo below, on Anna's website you only see each drawing one at a time) and 1 point to the Alien man on his flying machine (If I had let my kids award the points the actual alien creatures would've scooped the pool).  Highly commended also goes to the biennale work out at Carriageworks at present, but more of that when I actually get out to the island.

No comments:

Post a Comment