Campbell Arcade Art Show

The Campbell Arcade, the strange but beautiful little pink tiled throat that links the Desgraves Street entrance to Flinders Street Station, is likely to be modified to make way from the Metro Tunnel though its not clear how much.  Will it remain a refuge for arty types when it is turned into a tunnel linking to the new town hall station or will it be freshened and modernized out of existence?

Till then the Vitrines will continue displaying art.  I really enjoyed Heroines in Petticoats, one of the best displays I’ve seen for a while.

Check it out.

Here is a review by Melbourne Art Critic Mark Holsworth

Heroines Petticoats @ Dirty Dozen

A dozen surreal installations tell a history of Australian women. “Heroines in Petticoats” by Kelly Sullivan, Kirsti Lenthall (Empire of Stuff), Gigi Gordes and Liz Sonntag (Tinky) is an engaging and accessible exhibition that has a coherent and relevant theme.

The height and depth of the dozen vitrines in the pink tiled Campbell Arcade, the Degraves Street underpass to Flinders Street Station has been used to great effect. Too often the Dirty Dozen has been occupied by art students who have alienated the general public, forgetting or ignoring that this space is very public at Melbourne’s central metropolitan railway station. There were several people paying close attention to it when I saw it around midday on Thursday.

The vitrines create a timeline of the lives of Australian women from the colonial era to the present. The heroines of this timeline are not specific women, heroines to represent an era but women in a general non-specific way. This absence of specificity meant that the artists tended to represent white suburban women.

As well as, the timeline there were specific causes associated with specific eras from the anti-conscription movement of the 1910s to the domestic murder rate of today. There was no mention of the temperance movement, as it was a women powered movement, but it is not longer seen as righteous.

Although each of the cases is labelled as the work of specific artists there is a coherent look to the whole exhibition. There are differences Kelly Sullivan’s collage, Kirsti Lenthall’s ceramic decals on plates and impressively on quartz rocks, or Gigi Gordes’s disembodied body parts; hands typing, the eyes on the glasses, mouth on the mug, mouth on the phone (I don’t know why the objects are covered in crochet) and, a few cabinets later, the hands on a glass of wine.

It was Tinky’s work that drew my attention to the exhibition as I know Gigi and Tinky’s art from the street. However, Tinky’s puns were the weakest elements of the exhibition. Written on paper and the little titles didn’t match the style of the rest. Unfortunately her puns give meaning to her tableaus and without them they would just be some odd HO scale model train figures.

About Mark Holsworth

Writer, independent researcher and artist, Mark Holsworth is the author of the book Sculptures of Melbourne.

Wow!

Sandy and a seriously thrilled Jane

Here is the wonderful Sandy from Geelong, costumier extraordinaire, dressed up as Yanimina Tari, The War Raven, one of the main characters in The Three Sisters and The Melded Child. How cool is that! You know you must be doing something right when someone cosplays one of your characters at Supanova.
Thank you so much Sandy. You made my week.
I’d love to acquire the costume when you’re finished with it.

 

On men at work

On Men at Work

It’s late one Sunday night.  Workmen are replacing the wooden sleepers with concrete ones on the tracks at the Junction.  Since the trains cannot run, I’ve been rostered on to put people onto buses. An Eminem concert, a Japanese festival and the Caravan and Camping show have combined to make the day very busy.

But later as the night comes down and the lights turn everything softly golden and shadowy, the crowds clear and there is time to stop and watch the men working.

The sight has a strange beauty. Machines advance and retreat, lifting rails or dropping or tamping ballast and their human attendants follow them with the elegant precision of a dance number.  There are no whistles or yells, not even much talk, just the love roar of machinery and the rhythmic clanking of steel on stone.  The men have done this a thousand times all over the system and everyone knows his job.  One gang waits at ease while another moves in step tightening rivets with sledge hammers and special hooks.  Here and there small groups huddle secretively over wielding rigs.  Watching these big beefy guys falling in behind the huge machines reminds me of watching the infantry fall in behind the tanks in old war movies or the Guild of Navigators in David movie of Dune.

By the time morning comes it will as if no one has been there except that the wooden sleepers have now turned as if by magic to concrete.    And very probably none of the day commuters will even notice they’ve been there.