Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Sitting on the dock...

The view from the gallery door

I am sure there must be other galleries in the world that look over working fishing ports, but for me it has been a unique experience for another reason. It is the first time I have had to man my own show, so represents an opportunity to interact with the public that has previously been denied. But first back to the wharf. A glorious autumn morning, the sun shimmering off a quiet Tasman Sea, cormorants and pelicans wait for boats to return in the hope of getting some tasty fish frames. A few people mill around the cafes, but generally it is quiet compared to the bustle of last weekend. Workers maintain a launch, fishermen check a net for wear, sandblasting can be heard in the distance from the shipwrights yard as a trawler is repainted and repaired.

And in the gallery the soundtracks from the looped videos play on. I have featured The Lunar Machine, Eye Candy, That Grey Place We Go and Sunk. With a total playtime of 15:50 and me sitting in the gallery around 6 hours a day that means I have listened over 100 times in the time the show has been on! And still another 5 days to go...fortunately Erik Satie, emptywhale and w.out are very listenable.

Response has generally been positive. Comments about the show being different from the usual spotted gums and coastal landscapes are frequent, as well as the topical papal succession and the issue of child abuse in the church. Most people laugh or are amused by the erotic/religious juxtapositions. A few walk out fairly quickly. One woman yesterday, without going into details made it known that she had personal experience of abuse in the church. I hope I do not trivialise the issue with my little surrealistic jokes. But the highlight so far has been the enthusiasm of Graham from the fish shop downstairs. Here is a man who has spent his whole life cleaning fish and who has little knowledge of art waxing lyrically that it is the best thing he has ever seen and insisting on bringing the other staff up to see it. Makes it all worthwhile...  

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