Columns
Residents' Association Image

Residents' Association

Congratulations, Southbank News
Read more >>

Business in Southbank Image

Business in Southbank

Familiar faces doing things differently at Southgate
Read more >>

St Johns Southgate Image

St Johns Southgate

Affirmation of 100
Read more >>

Owners Corporation Law Image

Owners Corporation Law

COVID Q&A: Private renovations, cladding rectifications and nuisance from pets
Read more >>

Montague Community Alliance Image

Montague Community Alliance

What an achievement … 100 editions!
Read more >>

Chinese

公共艺术还是广告?
Read more >>

Metro Tunnel

Metro Tunnel marks Parkville milestone
Read more >>

Owners' Corporation Management

Why it pays to be neighbourly in a strata building
Read more >>

Federal Politics Image

Federal Politics

Why Magnitsky Act is important for Australia
Read more >>

We Live Here Image

We Live Here

Airbnb CEO “has mucked it all up”
Read more >>

Southbanker Image

Southbanker

Dancing against the odds
Read more >>

Port Places

Fishermans Bend: the first quarter 2019
Read more >>

Housing Image

Housing

Housing for all makes “good business sense”
Read more >>

History Image

History

Forward Surge
Read more >>

Safety and Security

Bicycle security and safety
Read more >>

Health and Wellbeing Image

Health and Wellbeing

Practicing divergent thinking
Read more >>

Skypad Living Image

Skypad Living

Do COVID-19 clouds have a silver or red lining for vertical villages?
Read more >>

Pets Corner Image

Pets Corner

Spoiling princess Chloe
Read more >>

Southbank Fashion Image

Southbank Fashion

Spring racing in Southbank
Read more >>

Street Smarts Image

Street Smarts

Power Street – Southbank
Read more >>

Letters Image

Letters

What’s behind the lights?
Read more >>

The joyful art of sedition

08 Sep 2020

The joyful art of sedition Image

By Rhonda Dredge

Screen shots don’t offer the best images of an artist’s work but they are slowly entering the culture as their own art form.

Take this image from Greg Creek’s recent art seminar at the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA).

It’s a photograph of an installation of work from an exhibition Creek held in Vienna before the pandemic.

The exhibition comprised an installation of print transfers of 183 Austrian politicians. “Fun portraits,” Creek called them.

The photographs, mostly publicity shots off the internet, were doctored by Creek in Photoshop and visitors were invited to add their comments to the butcher’s paper mounts.

Some added speech bubbles such as, “I’ve got a small dick”. One visitor wrote, “no way” beneath a picture of the future Prime Minister and another added horns.

Creek said the responses showed how “banal and unknowable these people (the parliamentarians) were.”

Works such as these do not depend on faithful reproduction. Quite the opposite. They show the wear and tear of being part of a dialogue between the public and the artist.

In this case, the exhibition provided opportunities for the public to engage in the tribal joy of sedition and the portraits had strong historical antecedents in the art of caricature.

At the beginning of the talk, Creek showed a drawing of Marie Antionette’s decapitated head done in 1793, followed by four caricatures of King Louis-Philippe in which his head was slowly transformed into a pear.

Caricaturist Charles Philipon was jailed in 1831 for his irreverent pear-head drawings.

“The viewer is complicit in this satire,” Creek said. He or she internalises the seditious image, as thoughts are dismembered from the body.

“We internalise 200 years later the fundamental image idea that the king can be transformed away from his authority state,” he said, but in fact the drawing was “just a squiggle of lines.”

He said this example demonstrated the way drawing processes internalised elements in the viewer through an encounter. The homunculus in medieval times was the model of the little figure that was internalised through a cognitive image such as this.

Artists had also reversed the idea of the homunculus, Creek said. Claude Gandelman suggested in 1989 that behind any potential political action there was an image of a huge political body as a watermark.

In a work called Bodies Politic, Creek used these ideas to make prints off his own body and combine them with small doctored photographs of notorious heads of state, most with missing eyes.

Art provides a commentary of the political process, allowing the viewer to decode some of the artist’s markings. The talk ended with a quote that supported the idea of art as a means of remaining critical.

Greg Creek works in the drawing department at RMIT University. He tried twice to show his latest paintings at CBD gallery Sarah Scout in April and June but the openings were cancelled because of the pandemic.

Art Forum, Victorian College of the Arts, 12.30pm every Thursday: finearts-music.unimelb.edu.au/events

Stay in touch with Southbank. Subscribe to FREE monthly e-Newspaper.

You must be registered with Southbank Local News to be able to post comments.
To register, please click here.