We love the fake names that come attached to spam emails that try to get us to buy land in Florida, enlarge our penises or buy cheap Rx. We’ve been building a collection that includes:
Tara D’Cruz Noble
Actually, Tara D’Cruz Noble isn’t a fake name at all, but the name of a real live person who is the assistant curator at the UTS Gallery at the University of Technology of Sydney – but when you get an email with her name attached you think – this has got to be fake! She has co-curated an exhibition with Emil Goh called New Drawing: The Line Fell Off The Page that’s on until July 9. Like Phatspace’s Puff & Swallow, this exhibition is also a Biennale Parallel Event but it’s far more traditional with works in frames on the wall and video monitors and good lighting and, as a consequence, we felt calm and happy when we went inside.
The idea for the show is how drawing can be extended off the page in literal ways – drawing on objects like trucks, using computers, animation – but also in conceptual ways – using cars doing circle work to make marks, text that talks about drawing or marks that are text but have the qualities of drawings (Braille cowboy novels in German). There are so many good works in the show – and so few duds – it’s hard to know where to start and there are artists in it from all over the world.
In a traditional sense, Australian artist Gemma Smith’s Untitled is a classic of conceptual drawing. Over a series of six canvases, she has taken a felt tip Artline marker and begun with a line on one canvas and then continued on with it until the ink ran out at the bottom of the sixth canvas. It’s an incredibly simple but brilliant idea that contains within it an entire conceptual universe of duration and materials as well as looking great. Similarly, Stefan Safer (Germany) produces drawings on paper and thin cardboard that look like a big looping, doodles where he comes back to certain areas, colours them in with pen or gouaches , then goes over other parts of the line to make them thicker or change their colour. He then cuts out the drawings, removing all the white paper and cardboard so all that is left is a spidery lace work of paper that is exhibited lying flat on glass or delicately poised on the wall, hanging from pins. We’ve also got a lot of time for the works of Ian Geraghty (Australia) who does stunning drawings of car interiors in a single line and the simple and oblique mangas of Suejin Chung (South Korea).
The obvious crowd pleaser in the show is The Great Travelling Art Exhibition by British artist Ben Long’s DVD of his drawings in the dust on the backs of delivery vans parked in the car park at Covent Garden Markets in London. He does drawings of horses, little girls with puppy dogs, blue finches, Spitfire fighters – all the kinds of things people like to see done in well executed drawings. The DVD documents Long doing the drawings and the reactions of people in the market (bloke with heavy East End accent: “Whoever did this is an artist!”) and the travels of the drawings all over England as the trucks are driven back to their individual home bases. The work is an amazing double whammy – first there are the drawings themselves, the site specific, once-only, no-mistakes-allowed execution and then there is the second, conceptual level, where the trucks with the drawings become artworks that in turn draw lines as they travel around the UK. That Long should accompany the images in the DVD with a soundtrack of himself playing the ukulele and singing songs he wrote himself is a perfect, eccentric match to the whole project. You’d be hard pressed to find a work of art as well conceived and executed in the official Biennale as this.