It’s still Saturday night: after leaving Kings ARI I drove out to Aspendale to see Artmeet ARI. I had received an invitation through Facebook, to visit the inaugural event – titled “Open For Inspection”. It was very dark and quite a long drive. The opening was located in a suburban house, recently vacated and very close to the sea. Lots of people were gathered outside in the covered verandah/driveway.
The show included 21 artists who made all sorts of inventive, imaginative and crazy interventions throughout the empty house. All the walls in the house were painted white.
In the bathroom the bath was half full with milky water, a swirl of paint transformed the bath into an immersive canvas. Out in the back verandah a banana peel hung loosely from a ladder, a slapstick composition – in advance of a fall, perhaps.
And Grace Thomson’s small objects placed carefully on the floor, that followed me – or perhaps I followed them – throughout the house.
The front rooms housed video installations. One installation, made by one of the key organisers, Jacqueline Stojanović utilised an old TV monitor used and then discarded by the recent Douglas Gordon show at ACCA. The monitor, now a piece of exceptional detritus showed blurry pinkish images, constantly shifting, that the artist explained were samples of skin colour taken from all the Australian TV dramas currently on our screens.
In the front corridor I picked up a black and white printout with six portraits on the front and two essays within. The significance of the portraits became clear only after reading the two essays; one by Gemma Crocetti, titled The Phenomenon of the Queue and the other by Ghassan Hage Racism as Excessive Legalism. Crocetti writes of the queue from the micro level, the phenomenon itself, “the interaction of space and time within this everyday custom” placing it together with the Hage article, this seemingly calm examination of what it means to queue becomes something else. Hage pulls no punches. The oft repeated and pedantic argument that asylum seekers are jumping the queue is named for what it is, “a long history of colonial racist viciousness.”
The organising group consists of the 21 artists. And later speaking to two of the organisers, Gemma Crocetti and Jacqueline Stojanović, they explained that the group of artists don’t have a permanent space, but rather they intend to find a different space each month, wherever they can. For next month they are already working on a site in the CBD. Something to watch out for. I’m looking forward to what they do next.
ARTISTS INCLUDED: Ira Abdul Rahman/Emily Carroll/Gemma Crocetti/Hana Earles/Callum Harper/Dina Iacovou/Kon Kyrizakis/Brenda Lam/Alix Leggas-Schafer/Natasha Manners/Rigel Maple/Jordan Mitchell-Fletcher/Heather Ogilvie/Eve Pawlik/Bridget Pound-Gow/Georgia Robenstone/Jane Safarian/Rachel Schenberg/Katia Silkova/Jacqueline Stojanovic/Grace Thomson/Michael Whittingham