Friday, February 22, 2013

TABOO at MCA - 16 February

It's too late for TABOO, it closed last weekend.  I actually saw this pre Chrissie and came back for a young ambassador curatorial viewing the other day.  So now I really have no excuse for the lack of insight that will follow ...

Firstly, this was 'guest curated' by Brook Andrew (he of the patterns and bright neon).  One of his most noticeable contributions are the coloured walls that are in this gallery.  Breaking a taboo here?  Maybe, and I liked them, let's see if they stay. Apart from that this show was quite random in my eye, artists from all over the world with the theme of taboo linking all the work (sometimes more tenuously than others). I love Eric Bridgeman's work so was keen to see Yal Ton but this was in the random camp. I didn't really get this trippy video but apparently it is all secret mens business (at least mens business whilst on drugs) and the taboo is letting women see it.  Damn it, so it isn't even a taboo for me. Okay next up was Bindi Cole who had done what looked like a funny bedroom (detail above). It tells the story of how Jesus saved her when she was in the Big House in the UK for a some heroin related crime and this is actually a replica of her prison cell.  Wow, this I obviously didn't know about Bindi so it is very shocking to be revealing these facts but again, maybe this is just me but I am not all that shocked by this.  Sure it is bad, but if you do your time and change your life anything can happen, I know a very senior public servant who can say the same thing.  My two favourites were Anton Kannemayer and Leah Gordon.  White South African artist Anton has some lots of confronting pieces in this show that all expose racial issues.  His style is all Tintin in the Congo and aesthetically I liked them as I did use to love Tintin as a boy. The most amazing thing for me was that the MCA curator didn't realise the whites played rugby and the blacks played soccer, I could've given chapter and verse on this but instead will just link to an amazing article in the FT on it instead. I found it really interesting that he was a white artist dealing with race so forthrightly when in Australia there is a view that a white artist should refrain from that.  Leah Gordon's caste photos (example of Marmelouque, below) were another that dealt with race in a matter of fact way from victorian times, highlighting how there was once a classification from black all the way through different fractions of black (ie mulatto, marabou, sacatre - which is french as the work uses Haitian people, the US south had similar terms octaroon etc) to white. The work reprises poses from some classical european art and I thought it was very graphical whilst at the same time being thought provoking.  All in all great show Brook - please do this again sometime. 

Points:  I never thought I'd give 3 points to a springbok but 3 to Anton.  2 points to Leah and 1 to Bindi

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