Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Fortunate accident

Who am I fooling? This is no accident but a 2004 installation sculpture by Jimmie Durham called "Still life with car and stone". A not so creative title but the actual installation is remarkable, especially in this roundabout setting in the corner of Hickson Road and Pottinger St:

Street view shot of the roundabout without the sculpture.

You would think that someone or somebody had an accident, but on closer inspection one would see the "face" painted on the boulder, and one would instantly get that it is not an accident but one of those "candid camera" moments... or errr an art installation.

The artist has spoken about this project:

"Like most of my recent work, this piece is concerned with monuments and monumentality, but also with 'nature'; that implacable hard stuff. In the first instance I am using the stone as a tool; to change the shape of an object. But I also, as usual, want to make stone more light, more moveable, even if it is in a fairly horrible way - like a road accident.. I do not think the piece is humorous; even though it turns out to be.

"The kind of face painted on the real version will, of course, depend upon the shape of the stone, but it will in any case be placid, and neither 'realistic' nor cartoon-like. To my way of thinking if the stone is simply a stone without a face it becomes a gesture but with the face painted on it, the work develops a strange narrative.

"Both a performance and an installation, this work reflects the play between nature and culture, technology and organic matter, as well as human life and monumental architecture. This work both explores and questions how familiar objects can be transformed into 'history'."

"He has said about his art - I would like to make work that you would say: "I don't understand. I'm confused now". I not only wish that I am confused, I want you to be confused. Because that is engagement….If we say a certain thing… that is a statement, then we enter into something quite false, theoretically false. And we enter into belief which, I think, is …sin.

"Jimmie Durham wants to remind us that singular or unified viewpoints of our world can result in a complacent mind set."

I've seen this installation way back when, since the Sydney Biennale of 2004 when it was first "installed" at the forecourt of the Sydney Opera House. With a relative in town, we somehow "bumped" into it around the Pier One - The Rocks area on a "tourist" walk of the area.

Great to see familiar places and not so familiar installation.


Rajesh said...

That 2004 installation is very nice. Interesting.

JayAshKal said...

Hi Rajesh, To say the least it is. I guess because it is a real car and a very huge boulder...

nutart said...

installations like their explanations leave me mentally berserk, sa totoo lang! It usually is fun to go a modern museum with a witty friend. Andami kasing angst ang iba mga artist...kaya ma-neutralize naman ng isang kuwelang interpretation!

JayAshKal said...

Berserk and angst... aptly describe artists. Maski di ako artist at wannabe lang eh I admire people who have these fertile imagination at creativity. All I do is admire what I like... and if it could be explained to me... the better... heheheee.

Thanks for dropping by Bernadette!

the donG said...

nice. it's really an odd piece of art. but yes looking what it really symbolizes one can appreciate it.

JayAshKal said...

Hi DonG, Odd is another description but I've seen much much "odd-er" pieces of so-called "art"... here's my other take on "art" and "artists":