Link to ” The Tunnel”
I’ve displayed art in public spaces, and in specified gallery spaces, and generally I respect the sensitivities of the public forum with tone and content of my work, however, within the gallery space I feel the expectation is that freedom of expression should be embraced some more… To this end I’ve had a couple of experiences, two of which were with the same artwork, consisting of images of writing on a chalk-board as part of a Collaborative work and each time within the walls of designated exhibition spaces.
In the first instance, the exhibition was the one the artwork was intended for, and the two sentences which were contentious were, “it’s all about death and fucking”, and “people are beautiful cunts”, referencing in the first instance and not overly seriously the general tone of my own artworks, and in the second instance, considering Nick Caves song “People ain’t no Good”.
In the first incident, the viewer stated to a member of the CoLab that she wouldn’t like someone who used such words (as she used them in the statement) but refused to discuss it in any form.
In the second, separate gallery, someone within the organisation complained and they were turned over.
Now, I can partially accept the first womans stance, she does have the right to be offended, art is allowed to offend people. But the second instance seems narrow-minded and petty and this bugs me.
Separately an artist questioned the impact of my video work “The Tunnel”, saying that an artist should consider peoples reaction before placing it into the artistic forum…. Now, I have mixed feelings about that, as this work was made to have a certain impact, and was based on something quite extreme emotions, and I’ve seen and experienced quite extreme and affecting artworks in the past, and I believe that that is part the artistic experience, and also I think it’s partially the duty of the artist to look into the dark corners…
So ultimately I’m disinclined to feel I have to hold back in the appropriate forum, and artists who do this must question the motivation in creating artworks in the first place.