Thursday, 17 April 2014

Cockatoo Island and AGNSW: #19BOS

It's been a while since I last did a photo-heavy post, but to be frank, I don't think there'll be many impressive photos here. I find that some art exhibitions are more photo-friendly than others, and a lot of the time, good art isn't really meant to be recorded with a camera. Seeing things through the viewfinder ruins the experience a bit, really. But I did get some photos and there were a few stand-out pieces. Overall, from what I can see through the MCA, Cockatoo Island and AGNSW, this year's theme of You Imagine What You Desire probably doesn't fit with the average art viewer I think. I know BOS is meant to be accessible and engage a wide audience, but I think that given the state of our generation of people, a lot of the time the artist doesn't get through. The whole theme encourages active participation, many artists encouraged the audience to imagine and contemplate and create a (personal) connection (wait wasn't that the 18th BOS' theme) with the artwork. I feel like a lot of people would rather be told exactly what is going on in an artwork rather than have it be open-ended and open to interpretation like so many works were. And that's just laziness I think, and a lack of intergration/interaction with the artwork.

I think these sculptures (?) were probably the most enjoyable. Interactive art has been really well received, and for good reason, and I think this is an example of something well done. I think my lack of understanding of gym equipment and utter lack of functional muscles ANYWHERE probably sapped some of the enjoyment of this artwork from me, but it was really delightful regardless. But it's okay, I made a skeleton dance by having a go on the elliptical (is that it? anyway, Leo has photos) and it was good fun haha.

I'm also doing this blog a little out of order because I wanted to format the photos nicely (oh aesthetics), and one of the artworks that I adored was this set of houses that all looked like faces. Even the big belltower? church? looked like it was winking (I didn't get a good shot of it though, argh). It was just such a lovely, picturesque atmosphere, being there. And yes, everything was cute. How can you not like cute things. Yes, I'm shallow. And to be frank, I think sometimes it's okay for art to just be incredibly visually appealing and have incredible aesthetics and be appreciated for it. And so much love to Leo for the photo below.

We headed to the Art Gallery of NSW after we had lunch (god bless Japanese food, I love it). As always, I feel that the AGNSW picks were more conservative in style (especially incomparison to what the MCA had on show) but it was also a lot more digestible, and comprehendable (is that a word) to more people. At least that's what I felt. The performance art was lovely and the artist was so sweet. I didn't really expect it to be like that, but in the end, I kind of liked it. Art doesn't always have to be unreachable and out of the ordinary, I feel. It's an experience, it needs to convey something significant in a unique and special way. It's about the audience finding something in an artwork that speaks to them. I also wasn't expecting to see a postcolonial theorist being quoted at the Biennale (it seems like Ext1 English has educated me).

So I think I'm ending my #19BOS adventures here, but today was a good run, despite my mangled legs and it really was well worth it. I don't think any self-respecting person can really willingly miss BOS, because it is just a great opportunity to maybe discover something great about contemporary art. Of course there will be hits and misses, but I think that's inherent in art. It's inevitable that there'll be a work you can't comprehend or agree with, and I think as long as we're all being open-minded and respecting and contemplative about it, that's okay. Art is about being challenged and having somebody ask you a hard question. It's about learning something about yourself or about something else. Art makes people feel more alive and wake people up to the life they're living.
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