Mitch Cairns, Jon Campbell, Diena Georgetti, Lou Hubbard, Kez Hughes, John Meade, Geoff Newton, Masato Takasaka, Gabrielle de Santis and Ella Sutherland. Co-curated with Brooke Babington. 2013
The temptation to steal is ubiquitous. Images are everywhere for the taking and piracy is the new mode of consumption. Whether as a kind of rebellious normlessness – a symptom of a late-capitalist alienation – or a rather more joyous participation, stealing (looting, copying, sampling) is pervasive.
SLOPES’ inaugural Knock-Off Show, presenting works from local and international artists, investigates ways in which contemporary artists appropriate, rip-off, knock-off, re-invent, imitate or downright copy existing artworks. The exhibition updates a history of Australian appropriation art discernible from the 1980’s and discusses ways in which artists build on ideas and themes in relation and in response to artworks made by their peers, contemporaries and predecessors.
Jon Campbell uses Australian slang to put a humorous twist on American conceptual artist John Baldessari’s famous painting Pure Beauty. Campbell’s version celebrates the vernacular of the Australian suburbs. Drawing on the Ancient World as fodder for her appropriative work, Ella Sutherland uses elements from Ancient Egyptian coins in order to develop graphic interpretations of these now strange symbols. Dressed up as Willy Wonka, Geoff Newton presents a sinister subversion of Melbourne artist Darren Rosetzky’s slick, photographic meditations on youth and vanity. In a consecutive series of appropriations presented by John Meade, Lou Hubbard and Kez Hughes, each artwork has been appropriated from the last, the viewer given the opportunity to see the way in which artworks change and morph across a series of versions. Continuing in his efforts to repeat his chaotic installations over and over again, Masato Takasaka will once again knock himself off for this exhibition, continuing his seemingly endless loop of bootleg versions of his own work. Mitch Cairns, Diena Georgetti and Gabriele de Santis mine the aesthetics of modernism to explore history and readdress some of its as yet unanswered questions.