Posts Tagged ‘repetition


Notes from the lecture ‘Anti-Entropy: A natural History of the Studio’ by William Kentridge at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), Melbourne

Date: 8th March 2012


Edward Francis Burney. 'A view of Philip James de Loutherbourg's Eidophusikon' c. 1782


Edward Francis Burney (English, 1760-1848)
A view of Philip James de Loutherbourg’s Eidophusikon
c. 1782
At left a man bowing to a woman, to right figures seated on a bench in the foreground, watching a scene titled ‘Satan Arraying his Troops on the Banks of a Fiery Lake, with the Raising of the Palace of Pandemonium’ during a performance of Milton’s “Paradise Lost” on a stage labelled EIDOPHUSIKON in a cartouche above
Pen and grey ink and grey wash, with watercolour
© The Trustees of the British Museum



A munificence of Minor White and the revelation of the object through contemplation could be found in the lecture by William Kentridge. As an artist you must keep repeating and constructively playing and something else, some new idea, some new way of looking at the world may emerge. As a glimpse into the working methodology of one of the worlds great artists the lecture was fascinating stuff!

Images in this posting are used under fair use for commentary and illustration of the lecture notes. No copyright breach is intended. © All rights remain with the copyright holder. My additions to the text can be found in [ ] brackets.



On self-doubt as an artist

“At four in the morning there are no lack of branches for the crow of doubt to land upon.”

On Memory

“Memory – both memory and the forgetting of memory. For example, the building of monuments [monuments to the Holocaust, to wars] takes the responsibility of remembering away.”

On Play

“We absolutely want to make sense of the world in that way. That’s one of the principles of play – that however much you distort and break things apart, in the end we will try to reconstruct them in some way to make sense of the world. I think that every child does it. It’s fundamental.”
On Looking

“It’s the capacity for recognition that makes a difference between order and disorder in looking at visual images. And it’s the vocabulary of recognisable images that we have inside us, which is completely vital to what it is to see. I don’t really buy the idea that order and disorder are the same.”

William Kentridge



First History of the Cinema

Performances of Transformation

  • Cinema
  • Shadow dancing
  • Eidophusikon (The Eidophusikon was a piece of art, no longer extant, created by 18th century English painter Philip James de Loutherbourg. It opened in Leicester Square in February 1781.Described by the media of his day as “Moving Pictures, representing Phenomena of Nature,” the Eidophusikon can be considered an early form of movie making. The effect was achieved by mirrors and pulleys.
  • Quick change artist
  • Stage magicians

All work against the time of the audience e.g. the quick change artist may take 3 seconds, the sunset in a Georges Méliès film may take 2 minutes instead of 2 hours. The technology / scrims / screens happen at different speeds but the different times become one in the finished film. There is an elision of time: appearances / disappearances. Stopping time [changing a scene, changing clothing etc…], starting time again.


Méliès starring in 'The Living Playing Cards' 1904


George Méliès starring in The Living Playing Cards (1904)



Second History of the Cinema

The sedimented gaze of the early camera. The slow chemicals meant that the object had to wait under the camera’s gaze for minutes. People were held in place by stiff neck braces to capture the trace of their likeness. Congealed time.

On the other hand, in cinema, a tear forward becomes a repair in reverse.

By rolling the film in reverse there is a REVERSAL of time, a REMAKING of the world – the power to be more than you are – by reversing to perfection. You throw a book or smash a plate: in reverse they become perfect again, a utopian world.


Giving yourself over to what the medium suggests, you follow the metaphor back to the surface. Following the activity [of play] back to its root. Projecting forwards, projecting backwards. There is endless rehearsal, constant repetition, then discovering the nature of the final shot or drawing to be made. New ideas get thrown around: leaning into the experience, the experiment, the repetition, the rehearsal.


Four elements

  1. something to be seen
  2. the utopian perfection: perfectibility
  3. the grammar of learning that action
  4. Greater ideas, further ideas and thoughts; potentiality and its LOSS
    Further meanings arise

How is this achieved?
Rehearsal, repetition

New thoughts will arise being led by the body in the studio NOT in the mind. Not conceptual but the feeling of the body walking in the studio.

The physical action as the starting point not the concept.


Six different degrees of tension

  1. Least tension in the body possible: slumped
  2. Relaxed
  3. Neutral
  4. Purpose: an impulse to make things happen – desire
  5. Insistence: listen to me, this is very important
  6. Manic: Noh theatre with its rictus of the body

What the body suggests is the construction of an image.

There are different degrees of tension in these performances. What do they suggest? This reverse osmosis from one state to another?


Third History of Cinema

Technologies of Looking

Pre-cinematic devices – a process of seeing in the world, of looking. Produces a reconfigured seeing, the invisible made [moving] visible.



3D world made into a 2D image put back into 3D by our brains. The nature of binocularity, of depth perception. We see an illusion of depth, a construction by the eyes. Our brain is a muscle combining the two images. Depth of Field (DOF): focusing at different distances, we are inside the field of the image. Peripheral vision is blanked off; we look through a magnifying glass. A machine for demonstrating seeing.

Text from the Wikipedia website


William Kentridge. Drawing for the film 'Stereoscope' 1998-99


William Kentridge (South African, b. 1955)
Drawing for the film Stereoscope
Charcoal, pastel, and coloured pencil on paper
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
© 2008 William Kentridge


Zoetrope by William George Horner, 1834


Zoetrope by William George Horner, 1834



An illusion of movement not depth. Double revelation:

A/ the brain constructed illusion of movement
B/ Caught in time [as the action goes around and around] and wanting to get out of it!


In the reordering, in the crack, something else may emerge, some new idea may eventuate. The tearing of time. 

[Marcus: the cleft in time]

Text from the Wikipedia website


The Etching Press

There are erotics built into the language of the etching, but there is also a logic built into the machine used for etching. The Proof print, arriving at the first state. Going on the journey from artist as maker to artist as viewer through the mechanism of the etching press.


Artist/Maker unknown. 'Claude Glass' manufactured in England, 18th century


Artist / Maker unknown
Claude Glass, manufactured in England
18th century
V & A



Claude Glass

“A Claude glass (or black mirror) is a small mirror, slightly convex in shape, with its surface tinted a dark colour. Bound up like a pocket-book or in a carrying case, black mirrors were used by artists, travellers and connoisseurs of landscape and landscape painting. Black Mirrors have the effect of abstracting the subject reflected in it from its surroundings, reducing and simplifying the colour and tonal range of scenes and scenery to give them a painterly quality).”

Text from the Wikipedia website


“The Claude glass was standard equipment for Picturesque tourists, producing instant tonal images that supposedly resembled works by Claude. “The person using it ought always to turn his back to the object that he views,” Thomas West explained in his Guide to the Lakes. “It should be suspended by the upper part of the case… holding it a little to the right or the left (as the position of the parts to be viewed require) and the face screened from the sun.”

Object Type

A Claude Glass – essentially a small, treated mirror contained in a box – is a portable drawing and painting aid that was widely used in the later 18th century by amateur artists on sketching tours. The reflections in it of surrounding scenery were supposed to resemble some of the characteristics of Italian landscapes by the famous 17th-century painter and sketcher Claude Lorrain, hence the name.

Materials & Use

The ‘glass’ consists of a slightly convex blackened mirror, which was carried in the hand and held up to the eye. The image thus seen was the scenery behind – rather than in front of – the user. The mirror’s convexity reduced extensive views to the dimensions of a small drawing. The use of a blackened rather than an ordinary silvered mirror resulted in a somewhat weakened reflection, which stressed the prominent features in the landscape at the expense of detail. It also lowered the colour key. A larger version of this device is said on occasion to have been fixed to the windows of horse-drawn carriages in order to reflect the passing scenery.”

From the V & A website


Artist/Maker unknown. 'Claude Glass' manufactured in England, 18th century


Artist / Maker unknown
Claude Glass, manufactured in England
18th century
V & A


Anamorphic Mirror

A counter intuitive way of drawing; turning 2D into 3D. The landscape has no edge, like a carrousel.



Anamorphic drawing and cone shaped mirror


Anamorphic drawing and cone shaped mirror


William Kentridge studio


William Kentridge studio
Photo by John Hodgkiss
Art Tatler



The Studio

In the studio you gather the pieces together like a kind of Zoetrope. You may arrive at a new idea, a new starting point. Repetition, going around and around your head (at four in the morning!). There must be a truce between the artist as maker and the artist as viewer. As in earlier times, you walk the cloisters, you promenade.

You find the walk that is the prehistory of the drawing, that is the prehistory to the work.

A multiple, fragmented, layered performance of walking. You are trying to find the grammar of the studio – the necessary stupidity. Making a space for uncertainty. The conscious suppression of rationality. At some point, emerging, escaping the Zoetrope, from the physical making, something will be revealed. The spaces open up by the stupidities. Something new emerges.




Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI)
Federation Square, Melbourne, Australia

William Kentridge: Five Themes

Thursday 8 March – Sunday 27 May 2012
Exhibition open daily 10am – 6pm

ACMI website


Back to top


Exhibition: ‘Staging Action: Performance in Photography Since 1960’ at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York

Exhibition dates: 26th January – 9th May 2011

Curators: Roxana Marcoci, Curator, and Eva Respini, Associate Curator, Department of Photography, The Museum of Modern Art


Many thank to The Museum of Modern Art, New York for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.



William Wegman. 'Foamy Aftershave (L-Foamy; R-Aftershave)' 1982


William Wegman (American, b. 1943)
Foamy Aftershave (L-Foamy; R-Aftershave)
28 1/2 x 22″ (72.4 x 55.9cm) each
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Gift of Robert and Gayle Greenhill
© 2010 William Wegman


Laurel Nakadate. 'Lucky Tiger #151' 2009


Laurel Nakadate (American, b. 1975)
Lucky Tiger #151
Chromogenic colour print with ink fingerprints
4 x 6″ (10.2 x 15.2cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Acquired through the generosity of the Peter Norton Family Foundation
© 2010 Laurel Nakadate


Laurel Nakadate. 'Lucky Tiger #181' 2009


Laurel Nakadate (American, b. 1975)
Lucky Tiger #181
Chromogenic colour print with ink fingerprints
4 x 6″ (10.2 x 15.2cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Acquired through the generosity of the Peter Norton Family Foundation
© 2010 Laurel Nakadate


Gilbert & George. 'The Red Sculpture' 1975


Gilbert & George (British)
The Red Sculpture
Chromogenic colour print with text
9 1/8 x 13 7/8″ (23.2 x 35.2cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Art & Project/Depot VBVR Gift
© 2010 Gilbert & George


Matthew Barney. 'Drawing Restraint 9: Shimenawa' 2005


Matthew Barney (American, b. 1967)
Drawing Restraint 9: Shimenawa
Chromogenic colour print in self-lubricating plastic frame
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Gift of Barbara Gladstone
© 2010 Matthew Barney


Installation view of the exhibition 'Staging Action: Performance in Photography Since 1960' at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)


Installation view of the exhibition Staging Action: Performance in Photography Since 1960 at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York showing at right, George Maciunas Performing for Self-Exposing Camera, New York 1966


George Maciunas (American, born Lithuania 1931-1978) 'George Maciunas Performing for Self-Exposing Camera, New York' 1966


George Maciunas (American born Lithuania, 1931-1978)
George Maciunas Performing for Self-Exposing Camera, New York
Gelatin silver print



Focusing on a wide range of images of performances that were expressly made for the artist’s camera, Staging Action: Performance in Photography Since 1960 draws together approximately 50 works from the Museum’s collection, and is on view from January 28 to May 9, 2011. Though performances are often intended to be experienced live, in real time, with photography playing an ancillary function in recording them, these works function as independent, expressive pictures, often staged in the absence of a public audience. At the center of these pictures is a performer (often the artist), posing or enacting an action conceived for the photographic lens. Among the works on view, approximately half are recent acquisitions by MoMA, including pieces by Laurel Nakadate, Rong Rong, Ai Weiwei, Huang Yan, and La Monte Young. Staging Action is organised by Roxana Marcoci, Curator, and Eva Respini, Associate Curator, Department of Photography, The Museum of Modern Art.

Beginning with Fluxus artists in the 1960s, Staging Action includes the work of George Maciunas, an artist who engaged the production of the self as positional rather than fixed and often played with transvestism. According to personal reminiscences of the American poet Emmett Williams, a friend, Maciunas’s closets were full of prom dresses that he scavenged from the Salvation Army. In his 1966 cross-dressing striptease, George Maciunas Performing for Self-Exposing Camera, New York, he reinforced the active construction of identity through gender indeterminacy. The participation of the camera as accomplice to the artist’s actions was also a constant theme in Vito Acconci’s work of the early 1970s. In Conversions I: Light, Reflections, Self-Control (1970-1971), Acconci tried to feminize his male body by plucking hair from his chest and navel area, pushing his pectorals together to mimic breasts, and hiding his genitals between his legs. Performances that explored gender play were soon embraced by other artists. A few years later, Richard Prince and Cindy Sherman collaborated on a photo shoot in which they sported identical suits and red-haired wigs, each playing androgynous double to the other.

Staging Action continues with artists who experimented with the camera to test the physical and psychological limits of the body. Reacting against the post-World War II repressive sexual and political atmosphere of Austrian society, the group known as the Vienna Actionists – including Günter Brus, Otto Muehl, Herman Nitsch, and Rudolf Schwarzkogler – staged highly provocative actions that were mostly ritualistic, incorporating elements such as wine and animal blood from Dionysian rites and Christian ceremonies in an attempt to free human instincts that had been repressed by society. In the early 1990s, numerous artists living in Beijing’s East Village artist community actively engaged in endurance-based performances. On view is East Village, Beijing No. 22 (1994) by Rong Rong, an iconic picture of the now seminal performance known as 12 Square Meters, which takes its title from the size of the public urinal where the action took place. The artist Zhang Huan covered himself in fish guts and honey and sat motionless for an hour in the heat of a summer day as flies gathered on his body, while the photographer Rong Rong captured the gritty performance.

The face as a site for alteration and extreme expression is of particular interest to several artists in the exhibition. In his five-part work, Studies for Holograms (1970), Bruce Nauman poked, pulled, pinched, and kneaded his mouth, neck, and cheeks in extreme and cartoonish ways. For her 1972 work (Untitled) Facial Cosmetic Variations, Ana Mendieta used tape and make-up to mould and manipulate her face to create, at turns, disturbing and humorous results that reference the cosmetic changes women inflict upon themselves in the name of beauty. Lucas Samaras’s transformations in a series of self-portrait Polaroids from 1969-1971 suggest the plasticity or mutability of identity itself. For these works, the artist utilised an array of wigs, pancake make-up, and props to transform himself into grotesque characters for the camera.

Other performances required a sustained, emotional engagement on the part of the artist. Bas Jan Ader’s particular brand of existential-based Conceptualism is crystallised in I’m too sad to tell you (1970), in which the artist cried in front of the camera. In 1971, Adrian Piper performed a time-lapse piece titled Food for Spirit. Inspired by an assignment to write a text on Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, Piper began fasting in order to isolate herself into a state of self-transcendence, and took pictures of herself in front of a mirror to insure reconnaissance of her own body. The ability of the camera to both freeze and extend a moment in time was also instrumental to the Japanese artist Mieko Shiomi. In Disappearing Music for Face (1966), Shiomi sequenced a series of film stills focusing on the mouth of Yoko Ono as her smile intermittently faded into a neutral facial expression. In Laurel Nakadate’s pictures from the Lucky Tiger series that she conceived of in 2009 during a road trip through the American West, the artist is seen riding a horse in a cropped T-shirt, doing a backbend in cowboy boots by the Grand Canyon, and striking a Playboy pose in her “lucky tiger” bikinis, rehashing photographic conventions inspired by 1950s-style “cheesecake” and camera-club pictures. Lorna Simpson’s multi-part work, May, June, July, August ’57 / ’09 (2009) also responds to the photographic conventions of posing for the camera. Simpson turned to the photographic archive as source material, combining found photographs of a young African-American woman who posed for hundreds of pin-up pictures in 1957 in Los Angeles with her own performative self-portraits, in which she replicates every outfit, pose, and setting of the original photographs. Through juxtaposition, repetition, and de-contextualization, a historical fiction arises, whereby the two women, despite the many differences that separate them, seem to be joined through a shared identity.

The exhibition includes both off-the-cuff and staged performative gestures of political dissent. Ai Weiwei’s photographic series Study of Perspective (1995-2003) reveals a spirited irreverence toward national monuments. Traveling to various landmarks – from the Eiffel Tower to Tiananmen Square to the White House – the artist photographed his own arm extended in front of the camera’s lens as he gave each marker the middle finger. Robin Rhode’s pictures, presented sequentially in storyboard format, record situations in which the artist interacts with a set of objects that he has drawn, erased and redrawn in black charcoal on dilapidated walls. Untitled, (Dream House) (2005) comprises a sequence of 28 colour photographs in which Rhode mimics the act of struggling to catch a television set, a chair, and a car that appear to have been thrown at him from above. In reality, these items are drawn in cartoonish lines on an exterior wall. Referencing the South African New Year custom of tossing out old objects, the artist identifies society’s two opposing poles: consumerism and dispossession. Rhode’s pictures, like those of the other artists in Staging Action, attest to the myriad ways in which photography constitutes – not just documents – performance as a conceptual exercise.

Press release from the MoMA website


Installation view of the exhibition 'Staging Action: Performance in Photography Since 1960' at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)


Installation view of the exhibition Staging Action: Performance in Photography Since 1960 at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York showing at right, Rong Rong’s East Village, Beijing, No. 81 1994


Rong Rong. 'East Village, Beijing, No. 81' 1994


Rong Rong (Chinese, b. 1968)
East Village, Beijing, No. 81
Gelatin silver print
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Acquired through the generosity of Peter and Susan MacGill
© 2010 Rong Rong


Rong Rong. 'East Village, Beijing, No. 22' 1994


Rong Rong (Chinese, b. 1968)
East Village, Beijing, No. 22
Gelatin silver print
21 7/16 x 14 5/8″ (54.5 x 37.2cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
The Family of Man Fund
© 2010 Rong Rong


Robert Gober. 'Untitled' 1992-93


Robert Gober (American, b. 1954)
Gelatin silver print
16 3/4 x 12 5/8″ (42.5 x 32.1cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Gift of Werner and Elaine Dannheisser
© 2010 Robert Gober


Günter Brus. 'Self-Painting 1' 1964


Günter Brus (Austrian, b. 1938)
Self-Painting 1
Gelatin silver print
15 7/8 x 11 15/16″ (40.4 x 30.4cm)
The Museum of Modern Art
Gift of Steven Johnson and Walter Sudol
© 2010 Günter Brus


Arnulf Rainer. 'Braids' 1966


Arnulf Rainer (Austrian, b. 1929)
Photograph, oil stick, crayon, and pencil on paper
11 1/2 x 10″ (29.2 x 25.1cm)
Gift of The Cosmopolitan Arts Foundation
© 2010 Arnulf Rainer


Installation view of the exhibition 'Staging Action: Performance in Photography Since 1960' at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)


Installation view of the exhibition Staging Action: Performance in Photography Since 1960 at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York showing at left, Ana Mendieta’s Facial Cosmetic Variations 1972, at centre the work of Rudolf Schwarzkogler, and at right the work of VALIE EXPORT


Ana Mendieta (American, born Cuba 1948-1985) 'Untitled (Facial Cosmetic Variations)' January-February, 1972


Ana Mendieta (American born Cuba, 1948-1985)
Untitled (Facial Cosmetic Variations) (detail)
January – February, 1972
Four chromogenic color prints, printed 1997
Each 19 1/4 x 12 3/4″ (48.9 x 32.4cm)
Acquired through the generosity of The Contemporary Arts
Council of The Museum of Modern Art, in honour of Barbara Foshay
© The Estate of Ana Mendieta Collection Courtesy Galerie Lelong, New York


Bas Jan Ader (Dutch, 1942-1975) 'I'm Too Sad to Tell You' 1970


Bas Jan Ader (Dutch, 1942-1975)
I’m Too Sad to Tell You
Gelatin silver print
Art & Project/Depot VBVR Gift
© 2019 The Estate of Bas Jan Ader


Lee Friedlander. 'California' 1997


Lee Friedlander (American, b. 1934)
Gelatin silver print
14 15/16 x 14 13/16″ (37.7 x 37.2cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Robert and Joyce Menschel Fund
© 2010 Lee Friedlander



The Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53rd Street
New York, NY 10019
(212) 708-9400

Opening hours:
Sun – Fri 10.30am – 5.30pm
Sat 10.30am – 7.00pm

The Museum of Modern Art website


Back to top


Exhibition: ‘The Navigators’ at Karen Woodbury Gallery, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 5th May – 29th May 2010

Artists: Lionel Bawden, Penny Byrne, Nicholas Folland, Locust Jones, Rhys Lee, Rob McHaffie, Derek O’Connor, Alex Spremberg, Madonna Staunton



Lionel Bawden (Sydney, b. 1974) 'formless worlds move through me' 2010


Lionel Bawden (Australian, b. 1974)
formless worlds move through me
Coloured Staedtler pencils, epoxy, incralac
51.0 x 51.0 x 9.5cm



Some good work in this exhibition – especially the Staedtler hexagonal coloured pencil constructions by Lionel Bawden. Beautifully crafted by hand they remind me of ghosts, the ‘millefiori’ (thousand flowers) of Italian glass and the inside of caverns with their stalactites.

Dr Marcus Bunyan

Many thankx to the Karen Woodbury Gallery for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.


Alex Spremberg (Australian, born Germany 1950) 'Inside skins' 2002


Alex Spremberg (Australian born Germany, b. 1950)
Inside skins



These artists have been selected for their interest in ideas of assemblage and re-use of pre-existing materials. Working across a range of media, each artist in the exhibition employs a process of manipulation to create completely different concepts and forms with their finished works. These works comprise of found objects and assembled from disparate elements, scavenged or foraged by the artists and juxtaposed in inventive ways. All works included in The Navigators take on their own form and imbue a new meaning to the original source materials.

Not originally intended as art materials, yet these artists have seen potential for a new idea in the materials; creating a new thought for the object. The original useful element of the preformed material thus comes under more aesthetic and creative significance. The impetus for such artistic practice is located in a desire by these artists to re-use, re-model, reshape and recycle within their practices. Despite an obvious interest and emphasis in the materiality of the works, the conceptual underpinning are the key motivation within these varying works and pose questions regarding the value of the objects within society. The artists included in The Navigators are continuously surveying and navigating their practice, allowing for deeper exploration in their work.

The exhibition will include various two and three-dimensional objects that interact with each other in unique ways. In the example of Lionel Bawden’s sculptures, his work exploits hexagonal coloured pencils as a sculptural material, reconfiguring and carving into amorphous shapes. Here the rich qualities of colour are explored as pencils are carved, shaped and fused together. Bawden explores themes of flux, transformation, rhythm and repetition as preconditions to our experience of the physical world. Bawden’s wall mounted works ‘the caverns of temporal suspension’ explore shapes within and outside the work as they hover ominously, melting, conjoined, growing, in transformation. These works are at the forefront of his current practice.

Penny Byrne’s work makes use of vintage porcelain sculptures that are adorned with a range of materials. Through this process, Byrne makes the base sculptures appear starkly different to that of the original, taking on new connotations that are often humorous and quirky but also convey political and social issues. In her work Mercury Rising. Hunted, Slaughtered, Eaten vintage porcelain dolphins and new plastic Manga figurines are employed to relate to the annual Japanese slaughter of tens of thousands dolphins as highlighted in the documentary ‘The Cove’. The Japanese eat the dolphins and then suffer mercury poisoning due to the high mercury levels in the dolphins flesh, leading to symptoms of madness.

Nicholas Folland’s Navigator sculptures are indicative Folland’s continued interest in utilising, modifying and experimenting with various sourced materials. These sculptures comprise of various upturned intricately detailed crystal objects that sit above a wood panelled shelf. These glass object are lit and act as beacons or floating satellite cities. Folland personifies the intrepid creative explorer via his navigation of various found materials.

Locust Jones’ three-dimensional globes are made from papier mache and pictorially and graphically convey global issues. These works sit on the floor and allow the viewer to orient themselves around the works allowing for a detached, objective perspective on contemporary societal issues. The quickly worked surfaces reflect a stream of consciousness in process. Imagery and themes are taken from various media such as the Internet, photojournalism, film culture and nightly news broadcasts.

The two sculptures in the exhibition by Rhys Lee imbue associations of debris and deal with found objects such as a money box, a dead bird and a clowns face. These trophy-like pieces are decorated by old, worn and found vintage materials that engage with the everyday. The intimate scale of these works do not account for the potency of symbolism and accumulation of collected ideas. The blistered silver patina and bronze sculptures allude to a dark gothic sentiment that extends beyond the morphing forms. The shapes have been smashed, manipulated and stuck back together again resulting in frozen miniature icons that represent a contemporary zest for defiance.

Rob McHaffie’s works comprise a pastiche of painted anonymous unrelated objects and shapes that somehow come together to create unlikely compositions and formations. The highly skilled execution of McHaffie’s paintings attracts the viewer, who is then faced with a banality in subject matter, often of depictions of clothing, crumpled paper, plants and disfigured creatures and figures. These perfectly rendered images of everyday objects are unsettling in their clarity and realism, which are then skewed, moulded and displaced in unlikely relationships. There is a sense of a deliberate haphazard nature to McHaffie’s work that draws upon a range of elements brought together to mimic something else. Humour surfaces through this stylistic creative process.

Derek O’Connor’s re-worked painting collages resemble distorted and fragmented realities and stories via the manipulation and playful technique of alteration and re-use of book covers and record album and EP covers. O’Connor’s characteristic gestural sweeping luscious brushstrokes are employed with precision yet allow for organic spontaneity. The old material takes on new meaning and are given new life via O’Connor’s creations.

Alex Spremberg’s work Inside Skins highlights the artist’s accidental processes at work. This sculptural piece was made as an ancillary to his broader practice – working with acrylic, enamel and varnish on board and canvas. These objects where literally created via chance – an after thought that was noticed to be a finished piece in its own right. Left to dry within their containers these ‘skins’ were extracted and proved to provide aesthetic attraction and conceptual ideas of the ready-made.

The mainstay of Madonna Staunton’s practice surrounds the physicality of assemblage. Essentially she is a collage artist. The components of her two- and three-dimensional assemblages are usually drawn from old, faded and battered discards such as frames and chairs that are carefully put together in new ways and given another life. A play between precision and randomness animates her work. Her sensitivity to tonal and formal arrangement always remains acute during this process and the results are austerely and chaotically beautiful.

Press release from the Karen Woodbury Gallery website [Online] Cited 20/05/2010 no longer available online


Nicholas Folland (Australian, b. 1967) 'Navigators 1' 2008


Nicholas Folland (Australian, b. 1967)
Navigators 1
Glassware, table and lightbox
25.0 x 110.0 x 87.0cm


Nicholas Folland (Australian, b. 1967) 'Navigators 2' 2008


Nicholas Folland (Australian, b. 1967)
Navigators 2
Glassware, table and lightbox
25.0 x 110.0 x 87.0cm



Karen Woodbury Gallery

This gallery has now closed.


Back to top


Opening 1: Review: ‘Continuous Moment: Bad Infinity’ by Damiano Bertoli at The Narrows, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 5th March – 28th March

Opening Thursday March 6th 2009



Damiano Bertoli. 'Continuous Moment: Bad Infinity' 2009 video still

Damiano Bertoli. 'Continuous Moment: Bad Infinity' 2009 video still


Damiano Bertoli (Australian, 1969-2021)
Continuous Moment: Bad Infinity
Video stills



In a busy night of openings in Melbourne we arrive to watch, to be a spectator and voyeur at Damiano Bertoli’s new twin video installation at The Narrows on Flinders Lane, ensconced in the darkness of the gallery space. The looped installation features on the left scenes from the original Miami Vice TV series and on the right approximate scenes from the 2006 feature film of the same name. The synchronicity of the two splices of time moving in and out of register is uncanny. We have memories of these appearances, flickering signifiers embedded in our psyche which are called to presence in the space between screen and viewer as we add our own layer of temporal distortion to the unfolding events.

In an erudite catalogue note Bertoli expounds on the nature of the performative and the question of authorship by analysing Glenn Gould’s two recordings of J. S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations, one recorded at the beginning of his career and one in the final year of his life. Bertoli posits that Gould used counterpoint “as a formal construct for its capacity to produce ‘an explosion of simultaneous idea’s’ … as a solution for his dissatisfaction with singularity and linear definition.”

He notes that, “As an interpreter of others work, Gould occupied a position of equivalence – we are aware that we are listening to Bach and Gould – simultaneously … These co-existing yet distinct voices move in and out of synchronicity, as does the listener’s experience of Gould’s interpretation (actually an interpretation of an interpretation) as the latter version iterates and embodies the version which precedes it. We are constantly comparing the two, as is Gould.”

This is quite true but I do not think the metaphor can be so literally applied to the video installation Bertoli has constructed. Firstly Gould’s interpretations and our recognition of them requires knowledge of the authoritative voice of the author as composer and the author as performer: Bach and Gould. Conversely in the videos the directors are unknown by most and the actors anonymous except by those with specific memory of appearances. There is no contrapuntal fugue like working of the sound or images in search of the purity of musical ideas – the dialogue talks over each other and splice cuts jump the scene from one location to another – forming a fractured hypertextual narrative driven by the spectacular gaze of the viewer, a simularcrum of the ‘real’. The simultaneity of being in three worlds at once is the world of simulacra not of equivalence.

As Ron Burnett has observed

“Video creates what I will describe as a logic of the present while simultaneously producing an image-event in the past. This generates a somewhat different temporal context than we are normally accustomed to – a mixture of present and past that is both, and neither, simultaneously. The disjuncture that results is part of the attraction but also part of what makes the electronic image so puzzling. It suggests that history has already been made while one continues to make it. It is this suppleness that allowed broadcasters for example to repeat the Rodney King beating in Los Angeles over and over again, as if each showing would somehow reconstitute the event, as if to prove that this was not a dramatisation, not a fiction. In order to gain control over the many disjunctures, repetition was used … But this only validates the contradictions, proposing that the disjunctures in time and place can be controlled, that there is some way of gaining authority over the impact of the event as image.”1

I would argue that what Bertoli’s installation does offer is a release from inert rationalist geometries, a deterritorialization and reterritorialization of temporal time in a heterotopic space, juxtaposing in a single real place several spaces, several sites that are in themselves incompatible. These are layered images of hyper-performativity and hypermediacy, where the fragmented images become a process and a performance, where the spectator becomes the screen not the author.

As Baudrillard has said, “Today we live in the imaginary world of the screen, of the interface and the reduplication of contiguity and networks. All our machines are screens. We too have become screens, and the interactivity of men has become the interactivity of screens. Nothing that appears on the screen is meant to be deciphered in depth, but actually to be explored instantaneously, in an abreaction immediate to meaning.”2

Here is the immediacy of continuous time – the removal of psychological depth, the reduction of life to a series continuous presents and surface phenomena that repeat over and over again. Is this bad infinity? We will never know… as we can never have knowledge of infinity. It is a noumenal concept, an event known only to the imagination, independent of the senses.

This is an interesting and fun installation. Well worth a visit.

Dr Marcus Bunyan

Many thankx to The Narrows gallery for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.


  1. Burnett, Ron. Cultures of Vision: Images, Media, & the Imaginary. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995, p. 249
  2. Baudrillard, Jean. Xerox and Infinity (trans. Agitac). Paris: Touchepas, 1988, p. 7




Damiano Bertoli Continuous Moment: Bad Infinity (2009)



Damiano Bertoli. 'Continuous Moment: Bad Infinity' 2009 video still

Damiano Bertoli. 'Continuous Moment: Bad Infinity' 2009 video still


Damiano Bertoli (Australian, 1969-2021)
Continuous Moment: Bad Infinity
video stills



Vale Damiano Bertoli (1969-2021)

In September, artist Damiano Bertoli passed away unexpectedly at the age of 52. Bertoli was a staple in the Melbourne art community. He could be relied upon to regularly attend openings and see most exhibitions. Along the way, he would dish out wit, sarcasm and charm. Seeing him across a crowded room, he would go cross-eyed as a form of greeting, breaking the ice with humour. Bertoli had a rich and expansive artistic practice, spanning collage, film, sculpture, installation, even theatre, but he was equally known for his large personality. In preparation for this piece, I spoke to several of Bertoli’s closest friends who had many things to say about him, but some underlying themes proved unanimous. He possessed a great sense of curiosity and generosity; he loved sharing knowledge; he built rich relationships with others through engagement with art; and that he has left behind a massive legacy – albeit one that could have been much, much bigger.

Read more about Damiano Bertoli’s legacy.  Amelia Winata. “Damiano Bertoli 1969-2021,” on the MeMO website 13 Oct 2021 [Online] Cited 12/06/2022


Damiano Bertoli. 'Continuous Moment: Bad Infinity' 2009 video still

Damiano Bertoli. 'Continuous Moment: Bad Infinity' 2009 video still


Damiano Bertoli (Australian, 1969-2021)
Continuous Moment: Bad Infinity
video stills



The Narrows

This gallery is now closed.


Back to top

Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His art work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes Art Blart, an art and cultural memory archive, which posts mainly photography exhibitions from around the world. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne, a Master of Arts (Fine Art Photography) from RMIT University, and a Master of Art Curatorship from the University of Melbourne.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. If you would like to unsubscribe from the email list please email me at and I will remove you asap. Thank you.

Join 2,879 other followers

Marcus Bunyan black and white archive: ‘Orphans and small groups’ 1994-96 Part 2

Follow Art_Blart on Twitter
Art Blart on Pinterest

Blog Stats

  • 12,375,819 hits

Recent Posts

Lastest tweets

October 2022



If you would like to unsubscribe from the email list please email me at and I will remove you asap. Thank you.

Join 2,879 other followers