From Sharne Wolff…
Michael Lindeman’s Notes to Self/Letters to Others is, in fact, a series of acrylic paintings. There’s a nod to the readymade in his large-scale replicas of handwritten letters and painted drawings on oversize lookalikes of yellow Post-It Notes. The show follows up Lindeman’s 2013 Archibald Prize painting where Lindeman’s self-portrait (in letter form) gave the NSW Art Gallery Trustees several persuasive reasons why they should consider his entry. For this exhibition he’s ‘written’ to various people – his real estate agent, the head of the Qatar Museums Authority (apparently the art world’s most powerful person), an ex-flatmate and a door-to-door salesman. In his best-laboured ‘handwriting’ the artist’s impassive pleas to assuage his guilt or be taken seriously are sometimes loaded with humour or sarcasm. They’re also sincere, and occasionally, pathetic. The Post-It drawings, among other things, call the role of the artist into question.
Of all these confessional works Lindeman’s Dear Art Enthusiast, addressed directly to the viewer, is perhaps the most telling. The artist’s conceptual practice has always been interested in his engaging, and ultimately challenging, the role of the spectator and not ‘simply trying to be a smart arse’. While the form of these paintings encourages the viewer’s attention, it’s the emotional pull of the language that keeps the viewer on board – or not. Lindeman’s ability to create a gap between the object and the language raises questions about the nature of art itself.
Until April 26
Sullivan + Strumpf, Zetland
Pic: Michael Lindeman, Bad Boy 2014, acrylic on canvas over shaped ply?80 x 80 cm (irregular). Courtesy the artist and Sullivan + Strumpf.