Tucked away in a small alley-type street behind North Melbourne Town Hall I found Raglan St Gallery. I liked the space, suitably grungy and adhoc with not too much fussiness. The group show on view when I visited in September was titled Digital Outlawed. All the artists were invited to make work NOT using any electronic or digital technology. Although there was no digital there was still plenty of technology. An old magnetic tape playing sex sounds, a vintage movie projector with that lovely film machine noise. Bullet holes pierced through some cards – and photos showing someone walking around with a gun. In the front room some wall text greeted you, and lying on its side nearby was an old car door ripped from its place with a couple of mesmerising ball bearings circling the metal – apparently this trick used electric motors – nothing digital.
In October I rode my bike over to Edinburgh Gardens in the bright sunshine, to the opening of the latest Plinth Project. Renee Cosgrave had painted colourful designs on each side of the plinth. It was a seemingly simple intervention yet the effect was joyful and charming.
The Plinth Project is an artist-run public art program which utilises the empty plinth in Melbourne’s Edinburgh Gardens. The plinth was erected in 1901 to hold a wooden statue of Queen Victoria – commemorating her death, also ini 1901. Apparently the statue went missing in mysterious circumstances. More recently the plinth is host to an artists’ program – an alternative to traditional large-scale public commissions. Their website states that “We curate an ongoing program of short-term exhbitions that are temporary, provocative, and engaging for both art-going audiences and the picnicking public.
I first visited the beautiful and green Edinburgh Gardens to see the Plinth in August when Sarah CrowEST’s pink human-like blob stood resolutely, as if on its best behaviour. It was pink and apparently had stood at attention since May, going up against the best of Melbourne’s weather. In the process it had turned from white, with a pink streak, to an overall garish pink.