Object of my desire
Melody Smith Gallery Project Space (until 9 November)
Performance as an intrinsic element of visual art, here, has slowly been losing its appeal to the audience and the local art establishment alike. It is very difficult to bracket performance art into the current corporate/consumerist framework that dominates PICA and other establishment institutions. The Melody Smith Gallery, therefore, deserves congratulations for displaying these performance remnants and related objects.
There is a close relationship between the objects left behind after a performance work and the objects present in a crime scene when the body (aka the artist/animator) is no longer present. Seserko’s interesting exhibition poses a serious problem for the audience. Are these objects and assemblages fugitive forensic remnants or coherent individual works in their own right. Perhaps this dilemma might be the core issue for the whole show?
Consider Seserko’s gas cooker/phone object, which is absolutely fascinating as a Dada paradox, not far off Dali’s lobster telephone. Its a beautifully finished object, witty to the end. Nonetheless it does have sinister qualities, which, ultimately, revolve around the once fatal effects of domestic gas.
Ultimately, for visual artists, performance art has long been a way round the difficulties of the more ‘conventional’ media, brought about by their requirement to produce an impressive technical performance. In performance art, artists can rework the ground of their practice as they go along, in relation to the audience.
There are two tabletops in the show. One is a soft purple amalgamation of all kinds of objects, many of which are shards or fragments of domestic objects displayed vertically. The other is a table top containing, amongst other things, a copy of Marx’s Capital, open at the chapter on the working day, with a photo of Artaud in the role of Marat collaged on the right hand page. Around it is a multiple of other references to contemporary work.
Seserko can be a little arch in her references to the history of the European avante garde. One painting shows a black cross with a paint drip that refers to all kinds of artists from Malevich to Beuys. Its soft right-hand edges suggest that it is just about ready to jump off into hyper-space.