Theatrics at the Art Gallery

If you’ve just navigated away from the quite heated discussion board at The Playwright and The Economist, then, on a ‘light’er yet related note;

I went to see Oasis, and Nest, new video/lightboxes work by Eugenia Lim, based on the modern day phenomenon of Hikikomori, where people retreat into the isolation of their confined rooms, possibly due to a psychological or sociological response to pressures from outside world. The video provides us with a glimpse of Amaterasu, the sun goddess from a Shinto myth, (portrayed by Yumi Umiumare, Butoh dance-performer and regular at the house of Finucane and Smith,) withdrawing into the confinement of her cave. A very affecting and beautifully crafted piece (costumed by Kat Chan,) this piece, showing at Dianne Tanzer Gallery + Projects until the 23rd December, should definitely be seen/experienced if you’re travelling through Fitzroy in the next couple of weeks.

Nest, Untitled (Amaterasu.) Photo from Dianne Tanzer Gallery + Projects
Eugenia Lim, Video artist extraordinaire

I also watched, on Television the other night, a disturbing study of people in solitary confinement, commonly enforced in prisons; If I remember correctly, something in the vicinity of 20,000 a year in America. In this documentary, they first placed a study group into individual pitch black rooms, or cells, for a period of 48 hours. Then they stepped it up and removed from another group any sense of sound and touch. Needless to say, the results were distressing.

The psychological temperament portrayed in MKA’s The Economist is firmly in sync with the results of these social withdrawals.  Flashing from traumatic experiences through to a heightened trauma-fuelled end, this show caps the thought-provoking trilogy I experienced in the past week. My friend Craig, humanist and globalist, recently prescribed to me the dangers of prolonged withdrawals from society, even as a hiatus.

I interviewed Andrew Gordon last year about his brilliant brooding works and his prolonged hermitic retreat (I’m pretty sure it lasted years…) when he surfed, contemplated and painted. He arrived bright eyed and cleanly shaven (he used to sport a full beard) and is producing marvellous work. Last I heard, he married his love and muse and they eloped into the Tasmanian wilderness.

Isolation may be dangerous practice, but, sometimes, it produces very powerful art.

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