BLURBS NOT ART

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Opinion -

ON read­ing the re­port in the Septem­ber 30 edi­tion head­lined ‘ Arten­joy­se­l­e­vated sta­tus’ about the Vic­to­ria Park Art Awards, I won­dered which ‘arts com­mu­nity’ ben­e­fited from this new ‘el­e­vated sta­tus’?

Cer­tainly not the lo­cal arts com­mu­nity, for almost none were rep­re­sented by the dis­played works.

His­tor­i­cally, the awards have al­ways at­tracted about 200 en­tries and un­til a cou­ple of years ago, most were dis­played at The Park Cen­tre to the de­light of many lo­cal artists and shop­pers and their chil­dren.

For var­i­ous rea­sons, this venue be­came un­avail­able and fi­nally, last year, Ed­ward Millen Home was suc­cess­fully used although space then be­came a lim­i­ta­tion.

Nev­er­the­less, 55 works were on dis­play. To re­duce the num­ber to just 20 seems an un­nec­es­sary and un­de­sir­able re­stric­tion.

Now, not all of th­ese past works were ‘mas­ter­pieces’, but th­ese exhibitions gave voice to a wide range of artists and en­cour­aged real lo­cal and near-lo­cal com­mu­nity in­volve­ment.

I don’t be­lieve the present for­mat fosters such in­volve­ment; in­deed, it dis­cour­ages it.

In ad­di­tion, as we are dis­cussing the qual­ity of the works on dis­play, with the clear ex­cep­tion of the two win­ning pho­to­graphic works, most of the rest ap­pear to have been se­lected be­cause of the pre­ten­tious, ob­scu­ra­tive ‘blurb’ at­tached to the works rather than the works them­selves.

In many cases, I’m sure much more time was ex­pended on writ­ing the ra­tio- nale than on the works them­selves.

Should not a suc­cess­ful work of art bear some re­la­tion­ship to its de­scrip­tion; at least to present some clues for the un­sus­pect­ing ob­server?

On the pos­i­tive side, the in­volve­ment of lo­cal stu­dents is a mar­vel­lous ini­tia­tive that should be de­vel­oped fur­ther.

Un­for­tu­nately the ‘con­cep­tual’ trend has ex­tended to the Curtin stu­dents’ work that, with few ex­cep­tions, does not live up to their de­scrip­tions, although pre­sented in an imag­i­na­tive, beau­ti­fully crafted fold-out ‘brochure’.

Vic­to­ria Park coun­cil needs to re­think its strat­egy here. Does it want to support a vi­brant lo­cal arts com­mu­nity or be in­volved in yet another ‘ el­e­vated sta­tus’ event?

Maybe it could do both? YARRA KORCZYNSKYJ, Vic­to­ria Park.

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