Friday, September 28, 2007

English as a second language

Is competition a good thing? This piece on Lot No 93 in the latest Webb’s online catalogue makes you think… um….no.

Merilyn Tweedie Compliments of Ashley wallpaper xeroxes, epoxy resin and fibreglass cloth original artist's label affixed verso 666mm x 870mm In 2005, she would not discuss her work with the New Zealand public upon her appointment as the representative of this country to the Venice Biennale. Outraged lynch mobs after her and their $500,000 of tax payer money did not change her mind/s. It is, after all, a million dollar secret, not a half-a-million dollar secret. What the public may not have realised was that to do such a thing would be to ruin the Et Al/ L Budd/ Blanche Readymade/ Merilyn Tweedie experience altogether. In fact, above all, she is a performance artist. The works she makes are relics of performance, they reek of performance. To look too hard into the face of this painting will only return you gobsmacked and feeling even a little disheveled that you didn't figure it out. The truth is, it is a compilation of jargon, layers of nonsense whose heritage is most in line with the dada movement of the early 20th Century. She and her band of monikers occupy the red herring kingdom where everything is redundant and garbling - like her installations of technological detritus - although they are beautiful works in their anti-narrativeness. Although they in themselves contain no definitive meaning, they are open to all sorts of interpretations – and people have plenty. So herein lies the irony not only is Dr P Mule a performer, but she creates the stage set and she's making a performer out of you – the viewer – in your interaction with her language of meaninglessness. Merilyn Tweedie is represented by Starkwhite, Auckland; Hamish McKay, Wellington and Jonathan Smart, Christchurch. IK

For more where that came from, go here.