Thursday, October 22, 2015


I was caught in a sudden downpour yesterday morning on my way to see Torrent by Melbourne artists Martine Corompt & Philip Brophy as well as The Dark Pool by Ronnie Van Hout, New Zealand artist at Centre for Contemporary Photography. 

When I entered the gallery the first words I saw was DRIP, DRIP, DRIP, which appeared appropriate given I’d just stepped in from the rain. The wall was covered with many large, rather sour colored (green, yellow, pink, orange) photographs of plastic monsters produced by the American toy company Aurora. These photographs were prefaced by a text written by Barbara Creed, who expounded on the uncanny nature of toys, particularly those that might disturb the psyche. She included a reference to Sigmund Freud and the film A Clockwork Orange (Kubrick, 1971) thus setting up the psychological significance of Van Hout’s exhibition.

After viewing the digital photographs and a rather life-like, disturbing statue of a Punk on a Bed (2015) also by Ronnie van Hout (in another space) I was reminded of the Droogs in ACO and the fact that both punks and the main protagonists in ACO exemplified sexuality and ultra-violence, an explanation perhaps for two of the other words included in this photographic display, namely cunnilingus and fellatio.
Still of Torrent. Photo (taken by my phone) Julie Clarke (2015)

Still of Torrent. Photo (taken by my phone) Julie Clarke (2015)

The meditative multichannel digital animation in the back room entitled Torrent was such a contrast to what I’d just seen. Although the imagery suggested falling rain and generated patterns on the floor akin to ever widening ripples in a pool, I thought that it was Brophy’s original harp score accompanying the piece that really made it work.

A number of themes were occurring between these two distinct exhibitions and music was the inroad, for in another small space a film of a man talking was projected onto the wall; he was facing a film on the opposite wall of another man. They were conversing with one another as one might if one was speaking with an analyst. It stood as a reminder that cinema, particularly science fiction and horror genre brought our internal fears revealed by psychiatry into the open in monstrous imagery and strange fantasies.

At one stage one of the men started singing Singing in the Rain, which was not only the title of a film that made Gene Kelly famous because of his direction and dancing, but it was also a sequence in A Clockwork Orange in which Alex (Malcolm McDowell) and the droogs approach the home of a wealthy couple, enter and terrorize them.

OK, so, we have a dark pool created by the threatening look on the face of the life-like punk, the evilness of Alex in ACO and the monstrousness of the toys that depict characters from traditional horror genre. Frankenstein’s monster was a feature of a number of the photographs on the wall and since light was his life force I was taken back again to Torrent, its animated white light piercing the darkness.  The words: drip, drip, drip evoked water and the song Singing in the Rain, but also the animated pool in Torrent. It was as if both exhibitions were speaking to each other, except that  there was nothing I could see that was remotely horrific about Torrent save for the almost complete darkness that encompassed the space between the sporadic bright white images of falling rain. Both these exhibitions are on at CCP until 6 November.

No comments:

Post a Comment