NEW MODEL/DON'T TELL ME WHAT TO - Fane Flaws & Jo Blogg (see www.joblogg.co.nz)
C.O.C.A Gallery - Christchurch - 23rd Sept - 11th Oct 2008
Making a song is remarkably similar to making a painting, it just requires moving the consciousness into a different zone. Sometimes you start with an idea
- some lyrics or drawings from your note book. Sometimes you just pick up a
guitar or a brush and see what happens. These spontaneous affairs are often
the best works - you find out what they are about later. In music you construct
with notes, sounds and rhythms - in painting you play with shapes, colours, and
textures. Both forms present problems of space, dynamics, light and shade,
density, texture, tempo, composition, and knowing when to stop. I have always
been interested in how these two seemingly alien forms of expression could
translate. How do I turn something you listen to into something you look at?
This show began conceptually as a lyric from the song ‘Toy Head - New Model’
written by myself and Tony Backhouse in 1983, in response to the seemingly
endless stream of advertising massaging us through a multitude of media to buy
into ‘this year’s model’
It’s NEW! - It’s IMPROVED! - You REALLY GOT TO HAVE IT !
An art gallery, however much it projects a rarefied and exclusive atmosphere,
is essentially an up-market shop displaying product, with a stock-room out the
back and a demographic of customers, who buy into ‘the brand‘ - the artist’s
and dealer’s names, and where the tag ‘New Work’ is often applied in promotional
Having no dealer, I decided to see if I could promote my own ‘brand‘ by making
a show where the work sold itself, with each piece cunningly sporting it’s own
Having made a couple of text based shows and a series of ‘junk-assemlage
portraits’, I tried combining the two and playing with making the text three
dimensional where appropriate, to sit with more comfortably with the head -
then it was just a matter of adapting the ethos of the lyrics to give each work
it’s own individual piece of advertising - an enticement the discerning collector
would not be able to resist.
I spent a day at the gallery observing the punters reaction to the works. Most
people would attempt to decipher the first piece, give up and amble past the
remaining works looking at the faces with no interest whatsoever in the text.
To my delight there was one young woman who spent time with every work
obviously reading the script. I approached her and asked her if she could make
any sense of it - she had no idea who I was and looked at me incredulously
replying “Yes of course I can! These are very interesting!” I was chuffed - I had
found my audience. The fact that the show lured at least one person to explore
what most people found barely worth a second glance seemed to make the
months of work worthwhile.
I should add here that this idea has failed almost completely on a commercial
level, something I find both disheartening and ironic considering the years I
spent making television commercials. I obviously learnt very little about weaving
the magic web that the consumer will unwittingly step into. I am officially crap
at advertising and admit that I need help to sell my beautiful art.
Fane Flaws - Sept 2008