I May Not Know Much About Art, But I Don’t Know What I Like

I may not know much about art, but I know what I like…or maybe I don’t, or perhaps I think I know what I like and then regularly prove myself wrong.

I excused myself from last embers of a Chardonnay lunch on the banks of the Brisbane to go to QAGOMA (The Queensland Gallery of Modern Art). My last visit had the visceral, disturbing delight of a David Lynch exhibition. This time it was Cindy Sherman’s 21st century works. I think I should like the work of Cindy Sherman. To my unsophisticated mind it has elements of John Waters, Diane Arbus and plenty of commentary on the attempt to control the image we portray in the presence of others. I don’t know why it doesn’t work for me. I wandered around the exhibition twice. Maybe I am lazy and wished that the images weren’t “untitled”. Perhaps I lacked the wherewithal to stare long enough to see traits and foibles should be revealed in these carefully made up disguises. Mind you, she has a good touch when it comes to spooking up the clown.

On the first floor of GOMA, there is a room of work by young artists. The wall I kept returning to was Alex Boundy’s Queen. A short film of his Great Grandmother lying on her bed, looking over to the empty right side where her late husband once lay, mixed with archive footage of younger days (maybe her and her husband’s younger days, maybe other people’s, the effect was the same).

Now I am middle-aged, I am becoming a little more accustomed to the death of my olders and the illnesses of my contemporaries and betters. The thought hit me again that age unpicks all the friendships you have made as those around you fade. When you are young, you look at old people as if the outside reflects their minds too, an old frame is accompanied by a mind that thinks old thoughts in a croaked inner monologue. Once that destiny becomes even faintly visible, you realise that the mind has frequently not aged with the body. The slowing down of walking and aching of the joints is viewed like an undeserved twist of fate, even though we’ve seen it happen before us, the healthy minded octogenarian is infuriated by the bodies failure to keep pace with their mind.

I didn’t have enough time to watch all of Superflex’s Flood, but I liked what i saw and it fitted well with the JG Ballard interviews I am currently reading.

Over at the Queensland Art Gallery, a hundred metres away, my favourite galleries were closed for refurbishment, but the gallery had kindly crammed a wall with some of the best pieces.
Now I’ll try to work out why I like Mrs Fraser by Sydney Nolan

and Loureiro’s Study for the Spirit of the New Moon (something of a rabid Alan Moore about it)

I was also taken by the title Someone I Don’t Know Who Reminds Me of Someone You Don’t Know by Pierre Bismuth.

Though the dressing up photographs of Cindy Sherman didn’t do it for me this time, i was very taken by a similar project by Pushpamala N.

Mind you, what do I know? It’s all subjective innit? Bloody eyes of the beholder.

Josie and Robin’s Book Shambles podcast is HERE

A new anthology of horror stories by Stewart Lee, Alan Moore, Josie Long, Isy Suttie, Alice Lowe and loads more is OUT NOW

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