Workshop 3000 goes Neon

Facade of Workshop 3000, Flinders Lane, Melbourne

The entry to jeweller Susan Cohn’s basement workshop on Flinders Lane, Melbourne, contains a small window.  Within it, Cohn displays various objects – pieces of her own work, and the work of others.

Workshop 3000's display window

At present, Workshop 3000’s window is stuffed full of harlequin-print plastic.  This multi-coloured crush not only provides some respite from the grey uniformity of its surrounds, it also exists as a relic of a performance by video artists Gabriella Mangano and Silvana Mangano.  The plastic sheet was a prop in their new video work, Neon, currently on display at Studio 12, Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces, and it is Cohn who has written a (forthcoming) text to accompany the exhibition.

Gabriella Mangano & Silvana Mangano, still from 'Neon', single channel video, 2010
Workshop 3000 goes Neon


Installation shot, 'Ian Burns, AND THEN...', Anna Schwartz Gallery, Melbourne

Ian Burns works with non-traditional materials found on the streets, sourced online or from Ikea.  Because of this, his sculptures initially seem jumbled, even trashy.  For his first exhibition at Anna Schwartz Gallery, Melbourne, the artist presents – among other things – TV’s strapped together and rammed into old wooden shelves, a busted up Venus/mannequin brandishing a surfboard and a plastic kiddies’ table pierced with brooms.   Upon closer inspection however, the sculptures reveal their ingenuity.  They’re incredibly clever.

Ian Burns, 'Well Read', found object kinetic sculpture, live video and audio, 2010

Born in Australia, Burns now lives in New York, and his work offers humorous comment and subtle critiques of contemporary (popular) culture. Well Read (above) is the stand-out.  With a wry nod to the cinematic tropes of the road movie, Burns conjures up associated feelings of freedom and nostalgia with the plainest of materials.  A plastic convertible occupied by a Ken doll cruises along to a cheesy Time Bandits soundtrack.  The car’s wheels rotate thanks to the automated turntable to which they’re connected.  All this is captured on tiny cameras that produce a live feed of Ken’s flashy grin and automotive ECU’s enlivened by glittering reflections from a built-in rotating disco ball.

Ian Burns, 'Well Read', 2010 (detail)

Burns’ sculptures are difficult to explain, the way in which they reveal themselves to the viewer is what makes them so fascinating and spending time with the works is a pleasing process of discovery.  Leg of Lamb reckons this is the show of the year, so make sure you see it before it closes on Saturday.

Ian Burns, AND THEN…, Anna Schwartz Gallery, 185 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, until August 28.


Maquettes for Fourth Plinth Commission revealed

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The artists shortlisted for the next Fourth Plinth Commission in London’s Trafalgar Square have submitted their maquettes to the Commissioning Group (that includes artist Grayson Perry and Ekow Eshun, Director of ICA).  The successful submission will replace the current installation, ‘Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle’, by Yinka Shonibare next year.  Leg of Lamb is rooting for the giant cock.

Maquettes for Fourth Plinth Commission revealed

Looking Forward – Peter Roche, Slipstreaming

Peter Roche in action...

Peter Roche’s work isn’t seen as often as it should be.  Since his inclusion in the first Asia Pacific Triennial in 1993, he has rarely appeared in curated exhibitions, despite an established background in New Zealand as a performance artist and sculptor.

Roche continues to make work regardless.  His studio in Point Chevalier contains, among other things, an entire series of acid-etched light boxes with the artist cast problematically as nude/voyeur, an installation of rotating cloud shapes, and, of course, his satellite dishes, awash with imagery that runs from the decorative to the debauched.

Generously, the artist is opening his studio to the public for one night only next Thursday the 26th of August.   Amidst a hang of key works and installations, Roche will also be performing.  Notorious for his sado-masochistic rituals in the ’70s, this new performance will involve fluorescent tubing and a chainsaw.  Not to be missed.

Peter Roche, Slipstreaming,  Thursday 26 August, Ambassador Theatre, 1218-1220 Great North Road, Point Chevalier, Auckland, 6pm til late.

Looking Forward – Peter Roche, Slipstreaming