From Andrew Frost…
It seems that the dividing line between video art and performance is now pretty much non-existent. It’s rare for a performance to be staged without the obligatory video documentation while performance art itself has taken up residency in a comfortable niche within that wider and far more problematic genre called “video art”. At any rate, performance-video is now one of the most widely practiced contemporary forms and finding new curatorial angles to examine it is a challenge.
Curated by Naomi Oliver Fan Fiction looks at the work of a group of artists who preform alternate personas, in part enthralled by the glamour of showbiz and celebrity culture and the estrangement of the self. Jodi Whalen’s Courage and Power (I’m Gonna Be A Bad Girl Too) invokes the spirit of UK rapper M.I.A. and her revolutionary rhetoric while Tim Hilton’s Daddy Daddy – LaDonna Rama showcases his alter ego Ladonna Rama in an “eerily glamorous” morpho animation. Kelsey Fox’s Tim Heidecker Built His City On Rock And Roll compiles obscure video recordings of her favourite comedian and Richard Gurney’s Lekman Bingle conflates vaudeville, puppetry, the song Friday Night at the Drive-in Bingo by Jens Lekman and Lara Bingle’s trademark jacket-over-shoulders look.
“A form of immersive wish fulfillment, fanfic can be outrageous and fantastical, often molding the storyline to the fans’ whims,” writes Oliver. “The video artists in this show explore the notion of fan fiction in various guises including looking at unrequited obsession and fixation, idolisation of the famous […] the experience of wanting to be someone else and long-term fandom.” While this kind of performance-video may not be anything novel, the sheer chutzpah of the performers combined with their dedication to working out their inner psyches under the gaze of the camera will persuade you that everything old is new again.
Until December 2
Penrith Regional Gallery & Lewers Bequest.
Pic: Jodie Whalen, Courage and Power (I’m Gonna Be A Bad Girl Too), 2012. Digital video, 4:00. Courtesy of the artist and Penrith Regional Gallery.