I went to MONA on Sunday. I had this wonderful idea of going to find my 5 least favourite works and writing about them.
Unfortunately there wasn’t much going on except River of Fundament but I’m not really inclined to sit and watch a 6 hour opera of anything, let alone watching a wanky art film about nothing except poo and vague representations of pornography and history. If I wanted to do that I could watch porn hub on one screen and open Wikipedia on the other and pretend I’m clever and interesting.
noun: fundament; plural noun: fundaments
1.the foundation or basis of something.
2. Formal humorous
a person's buttocks or anus.
- ‘you spent how much on what now?’
- I really like the Egyptian artifacts on display, especially the falcon. Seriously it’s 2,500 years old and looks a millions dollars.
One of the things with contemporary art is the total bias against traditional painting, sculpture and skill based works. Not for us is artwork that looks like the artist spent some time and ability developing a skill set that creates work that makes you go ‘wow!’
By definition ‘wow’ is I can’t do that myself right now, gosh that looks amazing, it makes me feel wonderful, perplexed, questioned and enthused.
There isn’t much ‘wow’ at MONA at the moment, the big bronze head with the flashing lights and the fat Porsche, maybe the pinball machine of creepy death or the Sidney Nolan paintings. The porcelain vaginas are back on the wall, although my thoughts are when I see them is: wouldn’t it be neat if they got the casts of Cynthia Plastercaster made in rubber and hung them on the opposite wall so you could, if you were so inclined, smack your head into a rubber facsimile of Jimi Hendrix’s appendage. Or the rich and famous members looking longingly to the unknown vaginas on the wall. They could sell Rock and Roll rubber appendages at the Mona gift shop too. Sure fire winner there.
The MONA Museum is supposed to be about sex and death; what’s more sexier and death defying than a dead rock star’s rubber facsimile of their appendage for sale?
The other exhibition on show was the Biennale of Moving Images. In short it was utterly terrible. And I have express reasons for this.
[I must put a caveat on this, I have done a lot of film making and I was a professional camera operator for 8 years and a camera assistant for four. I have made professional films, ‘experimental’ films, corporate videos, fun films, music videos, comedy, scripted short films and assisted on some big and small productions. I still shoot things occasionally, mostly live music, where I take my tiny HD Samsung still camera to gigs and drunkenly shoot a song or two and put it on my YouTube channel. (108,000 views and counting…) or my dogs. ]
The films I saw were just bad, banal, terribly made and repetitive. There was nothing deep to them, no wow factor and contained nothing but what is symptomatic of contemporary art production in the 21st century.
I watched one film made of a big HD projection screen and two smaller plasma screens replaying what looked like a Facebook search on an IPhone. The big screen played an exhibition of custom boy racer cars, a sort of Pimp My Ride for French people. The camera work was atrocious and wobbly with fast editing, which said and did nothing. The plasma screens had images of body building men showing off their ripped stomachs. I read the MONA app and that’s what it was about too. I think the artist was trying to be metaphorical. Really? That’s not a metaphor but a pun, and a shit one at that.
Everybody watched, too scared to say anything and they had the blank look of desperation that people at art events always have.
The look that says, I should be interested in this, I should know what this means, I do know what this means but I’m too scared to say….this is bullshit!
Another film was a guy smashing concrete with an axe. And that was it; the customers sat on the seats in front of the screen looking bored. Maybe that was the point? Bore your audience until they fall over comatose.
Another had flamingos cut outs placed to the side of the screen, cheap ass plastic buckets with gaffer tape on them was in front of the screen. And the film? Out of focus repetitive nonsense of the same quality as the others.
It wasn’t over my head, there wasn’t anything deep to it. These films were all surface, and what is really galling to me as an artist is the kudos given to them like they are somehow important and talented because their work was chosen for exhibition.
Let’s make no bones about it; the exhibited work was a big steaming pile of dog shit.
A card should be given to each person who enters MONA so they know how to view these films.
On the card it should say.