Alex Vivian, Rasberry Honesty School | Claire Lambe

Art Life , Exhibitions Jul 13, 2015 2 Comments

From Stella Rosa McDonald

Another beautiful useless object, 2014 is a phone photo of artist Claire Lambe and her son working together on a bizarrely beautiful sculptural object. The candid intimacy of the image—mother and son joined almost umbilically through the art object— is heightened by the casual, domestic way it was made. The ‘useless object’ to which the title refers is ambiguous and, in the context of Lambe’s other images (an appropriation of a Pierre Cardin advertisement and a restaging of a Crazy Horse image), we are drawn to consider the place of ‘women’s work’ more broadly. Lambe’s photographs touch upon motherhood, then project desire and finally coldly stage eroticism. In the way they highlight the relationship between language, picture and referent, Lambe’s trio of images recall the schema of Joseph Kosuth’s One and Three Chairs, which presented three versions of the same object as viewed through different semantic systems.

Raseberry-honesty-school-1 copy

Curated by Anna John, a resident artist at 55 Sydenham Road, Lambe’s eponymous show occupies the back gallery and office while Alex Vivian’s exhibition Raspberry Honesty School occupies the front gallery and follows similar trails of abjection. On the opening night a dog vomited in the gallery, that no-one objected or could maybe even tell goes some way to explaining Vivian’s artless art. Pillows without cases, flecked with dirt and skin line the wall. One has a, long passed, used by date on it. A men’s fashion magazine lays open on the floor, hair from a nearby comb covers its spread of beautiful boys. The list of materials used reads like notes on a crime scene: ‘knife, general matter, sweat, dirt, pillow, saliva, hair, pencil, alcohol.’ Bodies haunt the room.

Until July 26
55 Sydenham Road, Marrickville
Pic: Alex Vivian, Untitled (for wall) #2, 2015. Sweat, dirt, pillow, saliva, food. Courtesy the artist and 55 Sydenham Road. Photo credit: Claire Lambie.

Stella Rosa McDonald


  1. David Arnold

    Review goes a long way to show how flattering and articulate writing can transform the utterly banal into something that appears halfway credible… Good job!

  2. Iakovos Amperidis

    This country is starving for critics proper.
    David Arnold why not do everyone a favour and bring your criticisms to life with something more than a remark on a review. In person, or blog etc. If not, then continue adding onto lite-reviews… your call.

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