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More media noise on et al and Venice ...

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The controversial selection of 'et al' to represent New Zealand at the Venice Biennale 2005 is continuing to animate local media. Empty heads making too much noise Editorial: Art exhibits…

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The controversial selection of 'et al' to represent New Zealand at the Venice Biennale 2005 is continuing to animate local media.

Empty heads making too much noise

Editorial: Art exhibits should be strikingly NZ

Queen of aliases to excite Venice

Image: et al., 'serial-reform-713L' (installation detail) 'abnormal mass delusions?', 2003, mixed media, courtesy Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, NZ. Photograph Bryan James

Read on for Frontseat interview...The controversial selection of 'et al' to represent New Zealand at the Venice Biennale 2005 is continuing to animate local media.

Empty heads making too much noise

Editorial: Art exhibits should be strikingly NZ

Queen of aliases to excite Venice

Image: et al., 'serial-reform-713L' (installation detail) 'abnormal mass delusions?', 2003, mixed media, courtesy Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, NZ. Photograph Bryan James

Read on for Frontseat interview...Courtesy of Frontseat, Sunday 18th July 2004, TV One

Oliver Driver: Well, with Parliament in Recess last week, Act party arts spokesman Deborah Coddington thought she'd catch up on some old news: the
choice of art collective Et Al to represent New Zealand at the next Venice Biennale. 'It's crap' she wrote in a press release. Associate arts minister Judith Tizard told Linda Clark it might be a good choice if it gets a laugh
out of the uptight arty set.

TV One borrowed our story from a few weeks back, and Holmes followed up with a probing debate with Creative NZ chair Peter Biggs. And I even had a
chat with wine critic Mike Hosking on ZB about it. But one question still remains: why Et Al?   Frontseat sought out two Et Al fans. They're not on the selection committee, they don't work for Creative NZ, but they know what they like and why Venice will like it too.
Firstly, former Artspace director Lara Bowen, who's been to Venice.

Lara Bowen: The Venice Biennale, it's very edgy, the work there is predominantly made up of a combination of installation and site-specific work. A lot of basically mixed-media work, very much like, or in keeping
with, the work that Et Al has developed over the last twenty years, and in that sense Et Al will stand up so well on the world stage.

Oliver Driver: And private collector Stuart McKenzie, who lives with several Et Al artworks.

Stuart McKenzie: One of the things I really love about Merilyn's work is that it's so crappy. You know, it's so funny and casual and elegant at the same time. [Referring to a work] I think this is probably text from
Descartes you know, talking about 'I think therefore I am'. She's like the neurotic, glossalalic, psychoanalyst's philosopher on the margin,
scribbling her notes.
And one of the things too that Merilyn does is that not only does she look at what we value and how we value, she looks at what originality is. So, in this case [referring to another artwork] she's taken a photocopy of an article and she's blown it up to huge proportions and she's whited out little bits of it and twinked over it and written over it and whatever. And she's made actually something that is incredibly and ironically original in the process of critiquing originality.
I think what she's doing is sort of confronting these huge desires we have for a 'great' work of art, or for absolute meaning and sort of niggles away
at the underbelly of that.
END

Written by

Arts Work Project

20 Jul 2004

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