Sally Rees, Matt Warren, Elizabeth Woods, Caz Rodwell,
Rob O'Connor Curator: Victor Medrano
In-Flight Hobart exchange show
Gustave Courbet's painting, The Origin of the World(1866), a direct and explicit image of female sexual arousal, has been described by Linda Nochlin as a 'forbidden site of specularity and ultimate object of male desire'.1 Courbet's sexy and layered masterpiece critiques 19th century bourgeois puritanical moral strictures and also proposes the revolutionary idea of female sexuality as a natural responsive integer which carries no burden of shame. The painting elicits from its contemporary admirers, both male and female alike, a voyeuristic delight in the subject's arousal and an acknowledgment of her active sense of self awareness as a site of mutual desire. Described by Francine Prose, it entails an 'aura of tribute and admiration—utterly sexual and at the same time weirdly and open heartedly pure'.2
This object of desire has been sequestered since its first showing: behind a green veil at the house of Khalil Bey (circa, 1866), (Turkish ambassador, playboy and erotic art collector), and later behind an interpretive wooden panel commissioned by Jaques Lacan and painted by Andre Masson (1955). In 1995 the painting passed from private hands into the permanent collection of the Musée d'Orsay, and at it's most recent exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art in New York, the painting was still veiled, discreetly placed behind a freestanding wall separating it from the rest of the exhibition.
Curator Victor Medrano has invited five artists of varying practices to create their own, contemporary take on Gustave Courbet's, The Origin of the World.
This exhibition forms the second part of an Exchange Exhibition between INFLIGHT ARI (Hobart) and MOP Projects (Sydney). INFLIGHT ARI receives funding towards its Exchange Exhibition Program from Arts Tasmania and the Australia Council for the Arts.
1 Nochlin, L. (2007) Courbet, London, Thames & Hudson. p. 145
2 Prose, F. 'Behind the Green Veil' in Modern Painters, May, 2008. p. 67
Caz Rodwell (left)
Rob O'Connor (right)
First, the unease, the quiet, hypoglycaemic rage just before your food arrives, or that sinking feeling when you look at your watch, and think about what time your flight closes and try to work out how you can shave time by jiggling your knee in the taxi, or when the beat leaves the dancefloor and you open your eyes and realise you're surrounded by dicks and possibly are one, or someone really hot goes down on you yet your ability to come is like trying to tease down a helium balloon on a string made out of over-cooked spaghetti, or when the recently-injested drugs make you feel a bit sick and you're not sure if you want to shit or go home or both, or when you're a couple of hours into a house party and no one's really arrived, I mean, someone is there but it's that person you really didn't mean to invite and they came right on 8 and you have to kind of entertain them while looping lists in your mind about whether you have everything, then you lose something really fundamental like your phone or your drink and you're autopilot is trying to kind of construct sentences and sound like you're still actually listening while thinking simultaneously 'this is fucked this is fucked this is fucked', or when you're lugging up a hill, and deliberately not looking up because everytime you do you get this kind of inverse-vertigo about how far there still is left before the summit, then, from unease, comes this small, compelling, accelerating, beaming, escalating, nauseating, amplifying, speeding, whirling charge into a triumphant, glorious, thumping, chorus that restores and rectifies whatever it was that was shit, and some pious, possibly delusional, literary-inspired voice in your head seems to say 'this is it, this is it, this is it! It's it! it's not shit! It's it! This is what you do! This is what your thing here that you do is about!'. Grand overhead shot, zooming out whilst protagonist is looking up at the sky, resolving, reverberative chord, finish. As if, what, somehow, these single, shiny, sparkling, tiny, insubstantial snippets will be logged and slipped into the great life-flowchart for next century's cool kids to scrutinise? It's good to keep track though.
Every object swells with state. All is pious, all is great.
'Swell the Full Chorus', George Friedric Handel, from the Oratorio Solomon, verse attributed to Newburgh Hamilton, 1749
A continuation of the artist's experimentation into projecting on water
This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its art funding and advisory body, and by the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian, State and Territory Governments.