09 March 2008

Early 21st century art

Variation on a theme of Man Ray

Self-portrait with installation

The artist, B. Insignis, was unwilling or unable to be interviewed on the subject of self-as-subject. Perhaps it was a case of premonitive self-exclusion, given that Insignis' work isn't considered art by the art community, and will never win a prize.
Tony Schwensen cleverly staged his endurance video Weighty Weight Wait (2006) in the packing-room of the gallery, which has traditionally played the role of ‘cheeky’ annex to the Archibald Prize. With artists like Chris Burden, Marina Abramovic and Ulay as exemplars, Schwensen’s twenty-four hours on the scales drew a neat line back through the historical use of video in conceptual performance, while remaining relevant to the artist-as-subject theme that is an undercurrent in all ‘prizes’ . . . This award offered a faithful and resonant affirmation to counter the faint-praise of the non-believers. To those who devalue the intrinsic worth of video art, desire it to be relegated to other screenic forms, who seek the digestive calm of attractive paintings and photographic portrait prizes, it must be said: “No, no, no, no.”
–Dougal Phillips, "Noun Torture" Broadsheet for the Anne Landa Award for Video and New Media Arts, Art Galley of New South Wales, Sydney, 17 November 2006 - 11 February 2007

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