Dispatch Review respectfully acknowledges the Whadjuk people as the traditional owners and custodians of the lands upon which we live, work and enjoy. We pay deep respect to Elders past and present. Always was, always will be Aboriginal land.

Reviews:

  1. Ceramically Speaking by Ben Yaxley. 
  2. The Strelley Mob by Sam Harper.
  3. Rone: The Mighty Success by Leslie Thompson.
  4. Paper Trails: Interviews [part 1] by Sam Beard.
  5. Power 100 by Dispatch Review.
  6. Foresight & Fiction by Ben Yaxley.
  7. Twin Peaks Was 30 by Matthew Taggart.
  8. Breaking News: It’s Rone! by Sam Beard.
  9. Look, looking at Anna Park by Amelia Birch.
  10. The Fan by Francis Russell.
  11. Follower, Leader by Maraya Takoniatis.
  12. Wanneroo Warholamania by Sam Beard.
  13. Death Metal Summer by Sam Beard.
  14. Players, Places: Reprised, Renewed, Reviewed by Aimee Dodds.
  15. Scholtz: Two Worlds Apart by  Corderoy, Fisher, Flaherty, Wilson, Fletcher,  Jorgensen, & Glover.
  16. Partial Sightings by Sam Beard.
  17. True! Crime. by Aimee Dodds.
  18. The Human Condition by Rex Butler.
  19. Light Event by Sam Beard.
  20. Rejoinder: Archival / Activism by Max Vickery.
  21. Access and Denial in The Purple Shall Govern by Jess van Heerden.
  22. 4Spells by Sam Beard.
  23. Abstract art, DMT capitalism and the ugliness of David Attwood’s paintings
    by Darren Jorgensen.
  24. Unearthing new epistemologies of extraction by Samuel Beilby.
  25. Seek Wisdom by Max Vickery.
  26. Something for Everyone by Sam Beard.
  27. Violent Sludge by Aimee Dodds.
  28. State of Abstraction by Francis Russell.
  29. Double Histories: Special Issue, with texts by Ian McLean, Terry Smith, and Darren Jorgensen & Sam Beard.
  30. Six Missing Shows by Sam Beard.
  31. What We Memorialise by Max Vickery.
  32. At the End of the Land by Amelia Birch.
  33. The beautiful is useful by Sam Beard.
  34. ām / ammā / mā maram by Zali Morgan.
  35. Making Ground, Breaking Ground by Maraya Takoniatis.
  36. Art as Asset by Sam Beard.
  37. Cactus Malpractice by Aimee Dodds.
  38. Sweet sweet pea by Sam Beard.
  39. COBRA by Francis Russell.
  40. PICA Barn by Sam Beard .
  41. Gallery Hotel Metro by Aimee Dodds.
  42. A Stroll Through the Sacred, Profane, and Bizarre by Samuel Beilby.
  43. Filling in the Gaps at Spacingout by Maraya Takoniatis.
  44. Disneyland Cosmoplitanism by Sam Beard.
  45. Discovering Revenue by Anonymous.
  46. Uncomfortable Borrowing by Jess van Heerden.
  47. It’s Not That Strange by Stirling Kain.
  48. Hatched Dispatched by Sam Beard & Aimee Dodds.
  49. Fuck the Class System by Jess van Heerden, Jacinta Posik, Darren Jorgensen, et al.
  50. Wild About Nothing by Sam Beard.
  51. Paranoiac, Peripatetic: Pet Projects by Aimee Dodds.
  52. An Odd Moment for Women’s Art by Maraya Takoniatis.
  53. Transmutations by Sam Beard.
  54. The Post-Vandal by Sam Beard.
  55. Art Thugs and Humbugs by Max Vickery.
  56. Disneyland, Paris, Ardross and the artworld by Darren Jorgensen.
  57. Bizarrely, A Biennale by Aimee Dodds.
  58. Venus in Tullamarine by Sam Beard.
  59. Weird Rituals by Sam Beard.
  60. Random Cube by Francis Russell.
  61. Yeah, Nah, Rockpool by Aimee Dodds.
  62. Towards a Blind Horizon by Kieron Broadhurst.
  63. Being Realistic by Sam Beard.



Partial Sightings: Rirkrit Tiravanija in the suburbs

A popular topic of conjecture in the “Perth artworld” is the health of its own cultural memory. The common diagnosis is an historical amnesia; sketchy on the details, peppered with blindspots, and prone to confabulations—a system of cultural memory that is ineffective at celebrating its own history. Recent exhibitions like State of Abstraction are modest attempts to remedy such inadequacies. However, these lapses have less to do with the regularity of retrospective shows and more to do with the state of local critical arts publishing (and, more importantly, its facilitation of lively debate).[1] An example of this might be drawn from the Perth Festival visual arts program. This year, the program boasts big names of worldly significance: Yhonnie Scarce, Joan Jonas, and Rirkrit Tiravanija. And yet, this trio of shows has received little critical coverage in national arts publications, save for Scarce’s The Light of Day (and deservingly so).[2] Joan Jonas’s Sun Signal on the other hand appears to have received only an article in The Saturday Paper, the Schwartz Media publication with which PICA maintains a controversial partnership.
        Reportage, critical discourse, and cultural memory (or its lack thereof) is particularly relevant for the work of Rirkrit Tiravanija. Since his inclusion in Nicolas Bourriaud’s seminal 1996 Traffic exhibition, Tiravanija’s work has remained pivotal to artworld debates on relational aesthetics over the following decades.[3] For the Perth Festival, Tiravanija developed a series of aphorisms that were displayed in various public locations throughout the city. You can see where this is going: “bringing art into the streets, and to a wide public of unassuming audiences, these evocative provocations ask us to consider what it means to co-exist, as humans and non-humans, beneath our shared sun”, so saith the blurb.[4] In some respects, Tiravanija’s contribution to the Perth Festival poses an interesting contradiction—Tiravanija is among the significant international names on the “lineup”, while also contributing one of the lesser works in the program, and certainly the most obscure. The poems appeared on postered walls and JCDecaux billboards—á la the school of Jenny Holzer, Barbara Kruger and Lawrence Weiner—along the roadside, trainline, or nestled inconspicuously amongst posters for DJ sets and long weekend music festivals. Some read: “There is no sun without a song”; “Do we dream under the same sky”; and “The sun is gone but we have light”. Asking around, many I spoke with genuinely missed Tiravanija’s public interventions. Is that their fault? Part of the work, perhaps? Should they have just been paying more attention?
        The aphorisms deviate from Tiravanija’s previous work that earned his reputation. Back in the 1990s, Tiravanija’s work consisted primarily of cooking meals for gallery-goers—the “art” being the rewarding social activity generated between participants. It was work such as this that proved to be among the catalysts for one of the early 2000s greatest art theoretical battles: that between Bourriaud and Claire Bishop. Now, two decades later, having dispensed with the labour of the kitchen, Tiravanija attempts to induce us with unanticipated bouts of conceptual art contemplation. I spotted one of these posters and a billboard—a partial sighting, certainly unexpected. Amongst the ubiquity of advertising (which, ironically, share the comparable intention to spark unexpected contemplation in the viewer), these sightings of Tiravanija’s work were thoroughly underwhelming. Neither their design, nor the quality of the aphorisms hold weight. They share more in common with “live, laugh, love”-type aspirational quote posters than with anything inspired or profound. The frequency of “interventions” like Tiravanija’s (most readers will be familiar with Sam Bloor’s signwriting work) begs the question: when does a repeated intervention become a convention?
        While the debates around relational aesthetics have moved on greatly from the early 2000s, a remark by critic Claire Bishop remains enduringly trenchant:

The feel-good positions adopted by Tiravanija and [Liam] Gillick are reflected in their ubiquitous presence on the international art scene, and their status as perennial favorites of a few curators who have become known for promoting their preferred selection of artists (and thereby becoming touring stars in their own right). In such a cozy situation, art does not feel the need to defend itself, and it collapses into compensatory (and self-congratulatory) entertainment.[5]

Missing from Bishop's incisive observation is the crucial role of the art critic/theorist in stoking such debates. In many respects, it was the prevalence of the art press, and its consumption and connoisseurship, that raised the stakes of Tiravanija’s most pivotal work—nourishing it with “meaning”. For the proponents of relational aesthetics like Bourriaud, the aim of the work was  to achieve an experiential or participatory “open-endedness”. Tiravanija’s foray into Rupi Kaur-esque sophomoric verse falls short of poetic ambiguity. Rather, it is their insufficiency, not open-endedness, that leaves one questioning if this intervention is of consequence—and with that, one is left contemplating whether substance has been superseded by artworld credentials.



Footnotes:

1. Of course, an ironic claim to make in an arts publication. However, and not to labour the point, no single publication could remedy such lapsed memory (if such a claim is true), in the way that multiple might—particularly now that Perth is no longer the “arsehole of the world” in the way that some artworld boomers believed in decades past. Nor does the east coast’s “myopic view of art” exclude WA artists in the ways once claimed. However, if it were to be argued that such a snubbing of WA art did persist, surely one could respond that this is not the fault of those eastwards—who could blame them when there is such a significant lacuna in local critical writing? With our current constellation of local scenes and genres, only a corresponding constellation of journals could stand a chance of forming a holistic record.

2. The Light of Day featured in the likes of The Conversation, National Indigenous Times, The Saturday Paper, The ABC and the obligatory ArtsHub.

3. See Claire Bishop’s Antagonisms and Relational Aesthetics in October and Bennett Simpson’s interview with Nicolas Bourriaud in Art Forum in 2001: https://www.artforum.com/columns/nicolas-bourriaud-162503/

4. https://www.perthfestival.com.au/events/rirkrit-tiravanija/

5. Bishop, Claire. “Antagonism and Relational Aesthetics.” October 110 (2004): 51–79. 



Artwork by Rirkrit Tiravanija, photographs 1, 3 & 4 by  Sophie Minissale, 4 by Miles Noel.