‘Between’ was a season of new performance art commissions designed to take place in the empty galleries as they appear between exhibitions. The project was based on a series of exibitions also called 'Between' held at the Kunsthalle Dusseldorf between 1969 – 73. I used the Between programme at the Kunsthalle as a curatorial model to investigate how cultural institutions can include the artist/performer as an agent in the initiation and creation of an alternative exhibition programme. The Between commissions also featured new performance works by Patricia Baga (USA), Annika Ström (SWE), Ruth Barker (UK) Helen Collett, Lois Macdonald (UK) and myself Louise Adkins (UK).
'Facing' by Hayley Newman was a performance about the face, expression and how we relate to each other. In the performance Newman animated a series of worn out dishcloths with individual faces embroidered on them, each replacing my own face. At the end of the performance the audience were invited to wear T-shirts with punctuation marks printed on them; wearing an exclamation mark or a semi-colon, people stood next to each other and created emoticons together.
The title is a pun on the phrase ‘Nothing is True, Everything is Permitted’, famously quoted by William S Burroughs, who helped popularise cut-up culture. The evening included live performances by artists, musicians and poets who have creatively dissected, recycled and quoted. Including: Genre Collage the new live audio-visual set from People Like Us that collages film genres using well-known feature films; live improviser Gwilly Edmondez who uses voice, tapes, decks and samples; debut performance of Café Carbon by The Gluts (Gina Birch, Kaffe Matthews, Hayley Newman) and whirlwind wizard of the ivories Felix Kubin.
Curated and produced by AV Festival 10 and Vicki Bennett.
The Last of The Red Wine (the prequel/sequel)
Project Arts Centre, Temple Bar, Dublin
Running: 11 Nov 2011 to 14 Jan 2012
PARTICIPANTS: Doug Fishbone, Hayley Newman, Kim Noble, Sally O’Reilly, Michelle Owoo, Colin Perry, Caroline Smith and Bedwyr Williams
CURATORS: Tessa Giblin and Sally O’Reilly
More info and photos @ projectartscentre.ie/programme/whats-on/1449-the-last-of-the-red-wine
What sort of artists would allow themselves to be involved in a sitcom based in the art world? According to common clichés, they would perhaps be narcissistic or arrogant or obtuse or opportunist. You might think that art is given a hard enough time in the media without ‘insiders’ holding themselves up for ridicule too. Early in 2011, however, an unlikely group of artists, comedians and writers worked together on The Last of the Red Wine, a radio sitcom based in the artworld. Used to being the subject of their own work, the collaborators instead cast themselves in a collective farce, written and performed in the course of one week.
Put together quickly, this sitcom was never going to be of industry standard. It was quite amusing in places and embarrassingly not in others; but the main point of interest was how a group of people with such different ideas of what is funny worked collaboratively, without anyone incurring too heavy an insult or injury. The next instalment of the sitcom at Project Arts Centre, The Last of the Red Wine (the prequel/sequel), dissects the mix of people and personalities involved in the original project and examines the processes of self-representation in their individual practices.
This collection of videos, audio, photographs and sculptural installation ridicules, jokes and pokes fun at the character of the sitcom artist. Compared with the clichéd representations of artists garnered from television programmes – screened here in clips edited by O’Reilly and Colin Perry from such classics as Upstairs Downstairs, Blackadder and General Hospital – it reveals further absurdities about art and acts as a pastiche of the artworld.
There are a range of colourful characters including Doug Fishbone, who it turns out is a smooth-tongued chancer, Hayley Newman a resourceful exhibitionist, Kim Noble a divisive wrangler, Sally O’Reilly a relentless absurdist, Michelle Owoo a coercive trickster, Caroline Smith an over-emancipated housewife and Bedwyr Williams a disgruntled ghost.
The exhibition is rather like the mythical lion with the head of one lion and the body of another - it is not entirely clear which bit is in earnest and which bit is just plain ridiculous.