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. Light Event by Sam Beard
  2. Rejoinder: Archival / Activism by Max Vickery
  3. Access and Denial in The Purple Shall Govern by Jess van Heerden
  4. 4Spells by Sam Beard
  5. Abstract art, DMT capitalism and the ugliness of David Attwood’s paintings
    by Darren Jorgensen
  6. Unearthing new epistemologies of extraction by Samuel Beilby
  7. Seek Wisdom by Max Vickery
  8. Something for Everyone by Sam Beard
  9. Violent Sludge by Aimee Dodds
  10. State of Abstraction by Francis Russell
  11. Double Histories: Special Issue, with texts by Ian McLean, Terry Smith, and Darren Jorgensen & Sam Beard
  12. Six Missing Shows by Sam Beard
  13. What We Memorialise by Max Vickery
  14. At the End of the Land by Amelia Birch
  15. The beautiful is useful by Sam Beard
  16. ām / ammā / mā maram by Zali Morgan
  17. Making Ground, Breaking Ground by Maraya Takoniatis
  18. Art as Asset by Sam Beard
  19. Cactus Malpractice by Aimee Dodds
  20. Sweet sweet pea by Sam Beard
  21. COBRA by Francis Russell
  22. PICA Barn by Sam Beard 
  23. Gallery Hotel Metro by Aimee Dodds
  24. A Stroll Through the Sacred, Profane, and Bizarre by Samuel Beilby
  25. Filling in the Gaps at Spacingout by Maraya Takoniatis
  26. Disneyland Cosmoplitanism by Sam Beard
  27. Discovering Revenue by Anonymous
  28. Uncomfortable Borrowing by Jess van Heerden
  29. It’s Not That Strange by Stirling Kain
  30. Hatched Dispatched by Sam Beard & Aimee Dodds
  31. Fuck the Class System by Jess van Heerden, Jacinta Posik, Darren Jorgensen, et al.
  32. Wild About Nothing by Sam Beard
  33. Paranoiac, Peripatetic: Pet Projects by Aimee Dodds
  34. An Odd Moment for Women’s Art by Maraya Takoniatis
  35. Transmutations by Sam Beard
  36. The Post-Vandal by Sam Beard
  37. Art Thugs and Humbugs by Max Vickery
  38. Disneyland, Paris, Ardross and the artworld by Darren Jorgensen
  39. Bizarrely, A Biennale by Aimee Dodds
  40. Venus in Tullamarine by Sam Beard
  41. Weird Rituals by Sam Beard
  42. Random Cube by Francis Russell
  43. Yeah, Nah, Rockpool by Aimee Dodds
  44. Towards a Blind Horizon by Kieron Broadhurst
  45. Being Realistic by Sam Beard




These six short reviews are of the ones that got away—the shows I neglected to cover. Well, let the record show: I came, I saw, I critiqued.

Works on Paper, Graham Wiebe, Disneyland Paris, 20/8/2023 – 10/9/2023.

Premium post-internet content! Works on Paper was a trio of snowflake-shaped prints by Graham Wiebe shown at Disneyland Paris in August. The ink-jet prints depict two handfuls of activated charcoal pills and one portrait of a woman in an activated charcoal facemask, her gaze penetrating through balaclava-like eyeholes. Wiebe, based in Winnipeg, Canada, crafted the snowflake forms by burning away at the excess paper—now truly “activated”charcoal? Here, the aesthetics of wellness fads collide with the militaristic: absurd, unsettling, and darkly comical. A triumph.

Art Display, The Art Gallery of Western Australia, 15/9/2023 – 3/12/2023.

Art Display might just be the most bizarre exhibition held at AGWA this year, and certainly one of the most unique. The layout is like flicking through Instagram: chic and wispy colourist Jordy Hewitt—swipe—pop appropriations by Dan Bourke and Sarah Bahbah—swipe—still life master Giorgio Morandi—swipe—shock-factor Roger Ballen—swipe—a forgettable David Bielander—all mounted high, low, and around corners, to stumble upon with all the detachment of doomscrolling: thirst trap, news flash, sneaker ad. Overall, the curation is crisp, clean, and fresh. With no wall labels (bar the “credit reel” tucked around a back corner), zero context is afforded to any of these State Collection works. It’s the final hallmark of this post-internet exhibition. But behind the wit lurks a vast ennui. One shrugs—well, so what? Maybe it’s time to lean in, let the doomscroll erode my attention span a little more, and before long there won’t be any need for context at all.


Star Machine, Al Qasimi, The Art Gallery of Western Australia, 04/2/2023 – 30/7/2023.

While Yoshimoto Nara was billed as this year’s blockbuster, Al Qasimi’s concurrent Star Machine proved what we all thought to be the impossible: AGWA delivering a better contemporary art exhibition than PICA this year. One critic called Star Machine “nostalgia-filled”, but I disagree. Nostalgia is the desire to return to a former place or time. Instead, the photographs were transformative—rich hyperrealities and surreal dreaminess that hit the sweet spot of the uncanny. Star Machine was both speculative and a spectacle. One of AGWA’s finest for the year.

Beijing Realism, Hu Xiangqian, Han Bing, Li Xiaofei, Tami Xiang, Goolugatup Heathcote, 11/2/2023 – 26/3/2023.

Much has already been written about Beijing Realism: an article in ArtsHub questioned the ethics of presenting art that critically reflects working-class life in China; I published a defence of the show in Dispatch Review; Seesaw Magazine praised Beijing Realism for offering ‘uncensored portraits of life in China’; and finally, Artshub published a “right of reply” from the curators of the exhibition, Tami Xiang and Darren Jorgensen. So, what is left to be said? Amid the controversy surrounding the show, it appears we all forgot to address the actual artworks! Mounted in the main gallery spaces of Goolugatup Heathcote, this tight, focused exhibition included photography and video by Hu Xiangqian, Han Bing and Li Xiaofei, along with that of artist/curator Tami Xiang. Suspended in the centre of the main gallery, Xiang’s portraits were the central works—bold, near-to-life-size, they are visually arresting. Han Bing’s photographs were nearby and also hooked my attention. The images possessed a dreamlike quality, yet remained committed to a kind of social realism. The videos of Hu Xiangqian and Li Xiaofei differed in tone, but not subject. Again, social realism, but now with an air of reportage. Beijing Realism presented a memorable glimpse into the concerns of four accomplished contemporary Chinese artists.

I have not loved (enough or worked), The Art Gallery of Western Australia, 18/11/2022 – 23/4/2023.

If Beijing Realism was a scream, perhaps I have not loved (enough or worked) was more a murmur—a soft utterance of a partial thought. And that’s not a diss! Continuing AGWA’s trend of mellow, temperate and nonchalant exhibitions, I have never loved included eight artists with distinct bodies of work. Individually interesting, the artists were segmented into isolated groupings. At times, an over-abundance of space seemed to nullify the latent intimacy of some works. Take Rinko Kawauchi’s row of 25 small photographs—their tender everyday scenes at odds with the white cube display. The tension compounded in their linear repetition. Tao Hui’s work was a true oddity: a “viewing station” of TVs and couches raised on a low plinth, upon which viewers would watch his video, but resultantly become spectacles in and of themselves. I could hardly bring myself to sit. Instead, I opted to watch others: headphones on, seated momentarily, screens casting a soft glow upon their faces. Across the other side of the gallery was a gorgeous series of photographs by Lieko Shiga. The series, Blind Date, consisted of black-and-white photos of couples on mopeds and motorcycles taken in Bangkok, Thailand, in the Summer of 2009. The best of these images were immediately engrossing; at once whimsical, candid, and mysterious—while unassuming. En masse, their power seemed lessened by their unbroken repetition. Overall, I did not love, but I did like.

Between Registers, Ryan Gander, Disneyland Paris, 20/8/2023 – 10/9/2023.

Concluding these reviews is another blockbuster: Ryan Gander’s Between Registers at Disneyland Paris. Driving down to 6 Hickey St, parking in the gravel, walking across the old decking of the heritage listed cottage where gallery coordinator David Attwood will offer you a chilled refreshment and floorsheet is all part of the Disneyland experience. Peering into the gallery from outside, one caught the eye of A Portrait of Aston Ernest as a boy—the portrait is constructed with an arrangement of postcards within a pair of metal racks attached to the wall. The object is a nostalgia-machine: who sends postcards anymore? Except on holidays—moments we make into memories. And the halftone printing, the creases in the reproduced old photograph, all sepia toned and gap-toothed boyish innocence. Between registers indeed. Having participated in the 21st Biennale of Sydney (2018) and this year’s NGV Triennial, 6 Hickey St is an exceptional entry to Gander’s Australian excursions.



Image credits:
1. Ryan Gander, Between Registers at Disneyland Paris, 20/8/2023 – 10/9/2023.
2. Al Qasimi, Star Machine at The Art Gallery of Western Australia, 04/2/2023 – 30/7/2023.
3. Graham Wiebe, Works on Paper at Disneyland Paris, 20/8/2023 – 10/9/2023.
4. I have not loved (enough or worked) at The Art Gallery of Western Australia, 18/11/2022 – 23/4/2023.
5. Tami Xiang and Han Bing, Beijing Realism at Goolugatup Heathcote, 11/2/2023 – 26/3/2023.
6. I have not loved (enough or worked) at The Art Gallery of Western Australia, 18/11/2022 – 23/4/2023.