The repulsive seduction of performance art where the flesh of a body absorbs the impact of artistic expression is perhaps more glamorous and enticing for those who have not lost themselves in their own blackness, and for those who have it is all too familiar and tawdry. To make art where the body is psychologically and physically stressed and inhabits a world of real and immediate danger, yet is not the bearer of meaningless signifiers is a far more complex and subtle thing than to hack with knifes or hooks.
Primarily, this is why I find the art of Stelarc completely uninteresting. Being able to withstand more pain and abuse than the audience does not mean it is art, and in itself the display of such spectacles by so many artists seems symptomatic of a lowest-common-denominator art; the reality-tv of the white box gallery society.
This afternoon, I was looking at the photography of Sharon Green in a magazine, from The Lonely Empire series exhibited at Jan Manton Art in Brisbane last year. My immediate reaction was one of boredom and irritation at the laziness of who take the easy way out viz. showing a little bit of blood. Looking at her other work though, and the photograph The Scores of History #1 in this context, there’s obviously a dark, baroque grotesque fascination that appeals to me, the same appeal I find from Goya to Jan Fabre.
Is it enough though? Part of me thinks her work is very good, another part thinks she is merely entertaining the forms and there is nothing behind the flicker of her instantaneous contemporary art. Since returning to Melbourne, it seems I’ve seen far too much of this, art that is the equivalent of a pithy bon mot, art that does not hold up beyond the next rss refresh. I’m still not sure which opinion will hold.