Leg of Lamb’s written a short list, in chronological order, of five very disparate art highlights of the year. There were other highlights too of course; Tony Clark and Polly Borland at Murray White, Layla Rudneva-McKay at Starkwhite and et al. at Kaliman Rawlins all get honourable mentions…
Henry Jock Walker’s Somethingland at TCB, Melbourne, 30 May – 16 June
Walker’s a painter. He’s a surfer too. And sometimes he surfs on his paintings. One of the artist’s paint/surfboard hybrids was included in his show at TCB. Scrubbed with surf wax, the monochromatic canvas cleverly poked fun at the lofty ideals of modernist painting. The front space contained remnants of a painting performance as well. Walker’s bodysuit-clad alter ego transformed the gallery thanks to a souped up, faux abstract expressionist painterly frenzy, recorded and replayed in situ.
Berlinde De Bruyckere’s We are all flesh at ACCA, Melbourne, 2 June – 29 July
De Bruyckere’s giant headless horse forms and contrastingly delicate wax sculptures of antlers and other ephemera reflected on life’s transience with great subtlety. The pared back show contained only a handful of works – each a haunting testament to the slippage between life, death and transcendence.
Looking East: ARTJOG12 at Taman Budaya, Yogyakarta, 14 – 28 July
For an immersive introduction into the vibrant contemporary art scene in Yogyakarta, look no further than ARTJOG, a key event in the city’s cultural calendar. ARTJOG doesn’t include individual stands. Rather, it’s a ‘curated’ event in which works are selected for exhibition following an open call for submissions. A highlight each year are the commissioned projects, that often transform the exterior of the venue, Taman Budaya. The works above are by two of this year’s commissioned artists, Joko Dwi Avianto and I Made Widya Diputra.
John Spiteri’s Still Life Social Climber at Neon Parc, Melbourne, 22 August – 22 September
Leg of Lamb is a long time fan of Sydney painter John Spiteri, so much so that one of the works in this show came home with me. The canvases in Still Life Social Climber were scraped and scratched, covered in little cross hatches and muddy ambiguities. These abstractions were enlivened by hints of figuration and narrative, suggested in nebulous half forms and titles like ‘Busy People’ and ‘Sultan’. Mysterious and dreamy, Spiteri’s paintings are slow burns.
Theatre of the World curated by Jean-Hubert Martin at MONA, Hobart, 23 June – April 13, 2013
Martin, former director of the Pompidou, has selected over 400 objects from the collections of MONA and the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery in an exhibition that collapses conventional museological divisions between ancient and contemporary. Seemingly disparate objects (like a Picasso painting and an African tribal shield) are juxtaposed in a manner in which art historical context is subsumed in favour of curation that promotes the very act of ‘seeing’. Invigorating.