Sunday, 5 July 2015

Leonardo (July)

Leonardo da Vinci’s landscapes cleave to peaceful evening light, rendering the viewer calm and content. Even where we know the scene to be the Darebin bicycle path at Bundoora, a fact attested to by his scrupulous mirror-written journals, tranquillity of July light is constantly reassuring, an eternal now. Incredible to think that same month those same eyes oversaw invention of the treadle-helicopter; heretical theories about cardiac ventricles; sketches for light-ray management to communicate between cities on opposite sides of the alps; and the prototype of a paper where words disappear after 24-hours. Some of those plans had to be abandoned.

Christo (July)

Christo is unforthcoming about his plan, known since July, to gag, bind and cage all public statues in Melbourne. Even the De Kooning and Robertson-Swann’s ‘Vault’ will be tied up in orange plastic and locked behind bars. Jeanne-Claude had little to say at the press conference other than deride the small-mindedness of municipal councils who asked what’s the point and who pays the bill. In a country where you may be silenced and imprisoned for reporting on government cruelty, such artwork serves a political purpose, one critic said, but Christo remains unforthcoming. Red tape may tie up the project indefinitely.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Steinberg (July)

Saul Steinberg turns words into three-dimensional forces with a life of their own, agents of change in their landscapes. He is a tiger for puns. PELACO stands several metres high on scaffolds, like a Jack ‘Captain Blood’ Dyer shirtfront on the neighbourhood in general. Less overstated is Steinberg’s bittersweet VINEGAR, the evergreen skipping girl hopping eternally above its flat message. The artist’s monthly versions (July is a masterpiece) of Ian ‘Molly’ Meldrum’s Highett Street house are surrounded by monster lettering COUNTDOWN, their descending scale indicative of mortality. Hence perhaps the shift to other  transitory Richmond signs: EPWORTH and MELBOURNE CLINIC.