18th August – 2nd September
Grim but Still Wakeful
Isobel Taylor-Rodgers uses elements of the humorous and kitsch to analyse how we live, as well as our creation of, struggle with and attempt to preserve our self-identity. She is also concerned with how this self-identity is manipulated or put into question by external influence. Taylor-Rodger’s work places a level of responsibility on the viewer, creating scenes that are initially laughable or humorous but deteriorate upon greater inspection. The works become neither genuinely funny nor ironic, but heartbreaking and indifferent.
“They are deliberately funny and then not; gimmicky and suddenly serious, and the works show cracks, flaws, an off-ness that leaves them deeply unsettling. Taylor-Rodgers strives to deliver the unease, the guilt, the grating self-reflection of realising ‘that’s not really funny.” – Beth Rose Caird
Emerging Writers Program
A Live Work
by Kit Riley
Grimm But Still Wakeful
18th August – 2nd September 2016
fourth fifth of July, and it’s a cold rainy morning, and I’m beginning to write edit this essay. It’s the fourth fifth of July, and it’s after the eighteenth of August, and you’re here to see Grimm But Still Wakeful by Isobel Taylor-Rodgers.
Grimm But Still Wakeful is a live performance about death. It’s likely you’ve already missed the opening night performance, and you’re reading this essay in a nearly unpopulated gallery, and you’re just standing here, looking at a previously-live work lying in a white room.
Perhaps it’s after the second of September, and you’ve missed even the installation, and the gallery is already full of somebody else’s art. Or perhaps it’s opening night, and you’re actually here at the live performance of Grimm But Still Wakeful. Be that as it may, in my mind you’re reading this having missed the performance, but not the exhibition.
It’s after the eighteenth of August, and here you are amongst what’s left over. If you had attended the live event, you might have had to deal with that peculiar anxiety where you’re observing
the bereaved the artist as if she were a body of work, and you feel kind of awkward about just observing her, and you think maybe she doesn’t want you to interact with her anyway, and even if she did you can’t begin to think what you could do or say and you just feel lost, you feel that the usual social norms and expectations to which you are accustomed simply don’t apply in this situation and you can find no appropriate alternative framework to guide your thinking and interactions so you’re trapped in a worried stasis in which you can’t seem either to observe or to interact which causes you to feel even more intensely the imperative to be able to relate with people in this container for mourning culture to which you cannot return after the dispersal of the group and the rehiring of the space for another person’s wake show.
Luckily, you’re here after the fact, so although you’ve missed the action, you’ve also missed the anxiety. Here you are, in
the gallery the funeral home a retreating interior, a transposable space that, when empty, may as well be altogether absent. Here you are, in a room that exists intermittently, a room made present by a procession of interchangeable things people deaths bodies.
fourth fifth of July, and it’s forty-five forty-four days until the performance of Grimm But Still Wakeful. The action is still unperformed, and the installation is still unconstructed. I’m trying to imagine the thing about which I write, and I can picture nothing but the blank walls I recall from my visits to previous shows.
fourth fifth of July, and I’m remembering a past that has yet to occur, and it’s after the eighteenth of August, and you’re imagining a present to which you can’t catch up.
Kit Riley – Bio
Kit Riley is an artist, writer, and zinemaker who lives in Melbourne, Australia. Kit is interested in the thick and porous boundaries between here and there, self and other, sanity and madness, something and nothing. Kit creates text-, image-, and textile-based works in an attempt to reimagine communicative norms and reinhabit socially awkward environ/mentalities.
Kit has exhibited work in Melbourne, including at SEVENTH, the Substation, and FOUND Festival. Kit’s writing has been published in Sitelines and Mad In America.