Day 326: This Item Belonged to My Boyfriend, by Samantha Riegl
A number of works in the current VCA Graduate Exhibition reflect that the artists are navigating the chirpy waters of artistic careers as well as personal relationships. Samantha Riegl’s installation of carefully arranged items on uniform white shelves is reminiscent at first of an arrangement from an upmarket clothing and lifestyle boutique. Only later the viewer’s eye pans over an inscription on the wall that explains how the objects relate to each other: “This item belonged to my boyfriend”, the sign proclaims in big black thick letters. The viewer is then invited to take a business card with an address of a web link leading the viewer to the online sale of the boyfriend’s effects… Revenge is a dish best served… online!
Day 326 bis: Installation by Kenny Pittock
This subject matter is picked up in Kenny Pittock’s installation, where brand packaging for 60 metres of cling wrap is altered to proclaim ‘Clingy Ex-Boyfriend – 60 months’. This tongue-in-cheek recreation of a supermarket product forms a part of a large-scale installation where the artist had replicated, in a variety of media (wood, acrylic, ceramics, wax, etc), such items of our daily existence as fruit, chocolates, ice creams and other sugary treats, medicines, remote controls, and the ubiquitous laptops and flat-screen TV sets. However, he ‘doctored’ a number of brand names that now read Sadbury, Adjusted Juice, Nitpic, Kitsch-Kat, and Feelnum. A packet of condoms comes with a detailed explanation why they are branded as ‘regular’; and a large TV screen with the logo of Sky News shows… a picture of the sky.
Most objects within Pittock’s installation are arranged in a long continuous frieze along the wall, the aesthetics of which involuntarily bring to mind wall decorations and carvings of ancient Egypt. Indeed, if this installation was to be preserved for future generations, it will tell as much about our contemporary popular culture as excavated artefacts and hieroglyphs do about ancient civilisations.
[© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg 2012; where applicable, images are courtesy of the artists and their galleries]