Who: Dylan Martorell, Torie Nimmervoll, Scott Mitchell, Charlie Sofo, Lou Hubbard
What: These Are Your Instructions
Where: Seventh Gallery, 155 Gertrude St, Fitzroy
When: Until Sat 16 October 2010
Oh. Em. Gee. I think this was the best opening I have ever been to. “Fun” doesn’t even begin to describe it.
We got to Seventh quite early and therefore were pretty much there right from the start. As the artwork required interaction from the audience, being the first ones there meant that there was nothing much to see (but lots to do). Hung low on the walls were large black posters with instructions written in white bold text, and on the floor, a spattering of random objects – giant dice, a small pile of dirt, some crayons, a stick, a colourful piece of fabric, a whistle.
“What kind of instructions?” you ask. Well, if I had to describe it, it would have to be something like this: A marrying of Mike Parr’s “pointless” tasks (but less painful) with the wall drawings of Sol leWitt, and a healthy dose of Felix Gonzales Torres’ conceptual interaction from the audience.
Extremely conceptual in nature, most of the instructions were relatively easy to carry out. For example, “ROLL THE FUCKING DICE”. Sure!
A: Roll the die
B: No, you roll it
A: You first!
B: No, you first!
Some instructions were a little more complicated…
Hmmm… yeah, maybe some other time when I move to a hippy community.
Moving along we were asked to “DRAW A PERFECT CIRCLE FREEHAND” on the wall with red crayons (I loved the crayons… I wanted to take one home so bad). A step ladder was also supplied if we ran out of wall real estate.
These next set of instructions were relatively easy to carry out, but really made you step out of your comfort zone. Not many people followed these instructions, so we did!
Ali carrying out instruction #1, which required lying on the ground, face down, with hands on your side and toes pointing directly to the ground, as if standing but vertically challenged. For 10 minutes.
The instructions said “Please allow fans”. We certainly drew some attention from the crowd! It was quite interesting seeing the gallery from a different vantage point…
Another set of instructions involved creating a collaborative blue tack composition on the wall.
After completing several of these tasks, we felt we were more than worthy to do this final one…
A great exhibition where everyone was invited to act like a kid again whilst becoming a part of the art. Sure we felt extremely awkward at first, having to break out of our conscious ‘real world’ minds and behavioural conventions. But as soon as we started settling into the environment of the art gallery, it almost felt normal. How refreshing it is to be free to do innocent, naughty and strange pointless things without reason, without thinking about the consequences or what people might think. It’s okay, to draw arbitrarily on the walls. It’s okay to run around the gallery clapping happily about nothing. Stand in dirt. Roll some giant dice. For what? Who cares! Do we always need a reason to do everything? We’d like to think so. But apart from breathing, eating, sleeping and going to the toilet, is anything that we do in our lives really that necessary? Probably not!
Experience aside, this exhibition continues to challenge the notion of art authorship and conventional aesthetics, whilst de-emphasising the importance of art as an object that can be commodified. It also challenges passive role the audience usually has when encountering art, as we are now instigators of our own art experience. Don’t you just love conceptual art?
I love it when artists let their audience collaborate with them in creating the art. Ali and I left on an absolute art high. Head on down to Seventh before Sat 16 October to get your hit!