Knowing Me/Knowing You 2008

Alex Gawronski: Knowing Me/Knowing You, 2008

‘I, Me, Mine’ 2008, Horus and Deloris, Darling Harbour Sydney; curated by Koji Ryui

(Laser-cut mirror perspex, eyelets, wire rope)

Tokyo Eye Wall One 2008

Alex Gawronski: Tokyo Eye Wall One, 2008

‘Diorama of the City: Between Site and Space’ (part 1), Tokyo Wonder Site Tokyo, Japan; curated by Reuben Keehan, Artspace in conjunction with Asialink and the Australia-Japan foundation

(Timber, paint, photographs, nylon, LCD monitors, TV monitor, DVD players, 5 x DVD loops)

This installation was the result of a cultural exchange with Tokyo Wonder Site (TWS), Tokyo, Japan. A series of five constructed partitions protrude into the space of the gallery and break up the continuity of the gallery wall as a unified surface. Collectively scattered across these partitions are photographs of signs taken at multiple sites across Tokyo. Each photograph represents the cropped image of a cartoon eye taken primarily from roadside advertisements. Framed in this way, these images assume the superficial look of Western abstract art. They therefore hint also at the significant history of exchange that has long occurred between Western and Japanese artists. In the mean time, multiple video screens depict frantically animated loops of the same eyes albeit now opening and closing and surveying the gallery from side to side. The challenge for an artist on a relatively brief residency making work about a city as dense and visually diverse as Tokyo is a challenge and the vast majority of time and energy is expended in constant looking. In the instance of this work, it is the art itself that symbolically looks back at the audience from temporary hoardings as the act of looking is elevated to the status of pure content.

Marriage 2008

Alex Gawronski: Marriage, 2008

The Institute of Contemporary Art Newtown’ (I.CA.N.) Sydney

(Timber, paint, perspex, handles, chain, padlock, dust)

Just inside the double-doors of the gallery is another (false) gallery frontage replete with its own fake doors. These simulated doors remain resolutely chained shut as a sign inside alerts the visitor of the gallery’s (unexpected) change of address. The specific address coincides with a relatively new state-funded cultural precinct just down the road. The ‘marriage’ alluded to in the title is the sort of cultural amalgamation so common to the enterprise of contemporary ‘global art’ where funding-dictated centralisations of art spaces are increasingly common. Such mega-spaces – even on a modest scale – subtly affect notions of artistic autonomy by implying that bigger is better and larger audiences an automatic sign of artistic worth. Meanwhile, increasing real estate costs associated with the development of an area’s ‘cultural capital’ also regularly force self-funded ventures to go under. Curiously, in this case, the gallery has also been ‘married’ in the sense that it will now be sharing an audience with its neighbour. But, has it moved; after all how can the gallery have closed if it is also still obviously open, how can it have moved if it is obviously still where it was? The paradox here is a product of the sign (of the times) rendering the significant labour and expense of the artwork, as well as its faked materiality – clearly evident upon close inspection – invisible, just as the mass overshadows the singular.

Bon Scott Project 2008

Alex Gawronski: (from top top bottom); ‘ The Bon Scott Project’ installation view; Parasite Island – record cover 2008; The Bourgeois Dead – record cover 2008; Pieces of Hate – record cover 2008; The Dead Arts presents – poster 2008)

‘The Bon Scott Project’ 2008, Fremantle Arts Centre, Fremantle, Western Australia; curated by Jasmine Stephens

(Digital prints on photographic paper, pasteboard, paper, plinth + perspex cover)

These works were designed for an exhibition tribute to Bon Scott, the famously deceased ex-front man of one of Australia’s most successful musical exports, AC/DC. As a series, they internalise the ‘bad-boy’ language common to rock-n-roll and apply it to the art world. Of course, in traditional rock-n-roll mythology – and especially its hard-rock variants – the band habitually presents (an entirely predictable) anti-establishment front. Today, that stance has been ever more widely assumed by artists – usually male – who seek to position themselves in opposition to the ‘conservative’ mores of the contemporary art world. Again, as in the predictable world of rock music, such artists enact gestures of this sort precisely from within a context ever expecting them; their oppositionality is apriori, mute. Collectively these pieces appropriate the anti-institutional attitude expected of a role model like Bon Scott and apply it to the art scene. The result is an inverted protest, humorously self-conscious of its limits and absurdity, and equally aware of the banal ambition of artists who, like rock-stars, “want to be famous by their early twenties”.

3 – Way Door  2008

Alex Gawronski: Untitled (3 Way Door), 2008

‘The Most Meaningful Art of Our Time’ The Institute of Contemporary Art Newtown’ (I.C.A.N.) 2008 (room layout for exhibition coinciding with the 2008 Biennale of Sydney)

(Doors, handles, enamel paint, timber, hinges, plasterboard)

Constructing Autocracy 2008

Alex Gawronski: Constructing Autocracy, 2008

‘Current and Recent PhD Students from SCA’ (part 2) Gales Gallery and Special Project Space; Goldfarb Centre for Fine Arts, York University, Toronto Canada; curated by Brad Buckley

(Mural-sized laser print on paper)

Disciplinary Measure 2008

Alex Gawronski: Disciplinary Measure, 2008

‘Artists in the Library’ Fisher Library, The University of Sydney, 2008

(Colour photographic paper)

Written by alex gawronski

September 29, 2013 at 11:15 PM

Posted in 2008