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After the party

Marylou Pavlovic exhibition, Philistine, at Jenny Port Gallery is fantastic critical fun; it is garish, and crazy like a costume party. Her plastic champagne glasses embedded in resin were symbolic of a party or an art exhibition opening. The kind of art exhibition openings full of people dressed up in various disguises, drinking, air-kissing, gossiping and ignoring the art. The Philistine is indifferent to art, devoid of culture and narrow minded.

Comparing the art world to a party shows it philistine and as superficial as an air kiss. And Pavlovic’s “Fab Art darling xx” is the ultimate air-kiss. A sky-writing project on February 13th 2006 by Pavlovic documented in a large format digital print on vinyl at the exhibition.

Was it a costume party? Pavlovic has photographs, self-portraits in disguise that reminded me of Cindy Sherman’s photographs. Except, this time it was Pavlovic disguised as a mummy, a koala, and in make-up as member of Kiss.

This criticism is becomes explicit in the use of rats as a motif in the exhibition. In the photograph “The Professional” the professional has a rat in her mouth. And in The PavModern Art plinth there is a rat with a rose for a head, a perfect symbol for art, romance and dirt.

It appears that Pavlovic thinks that the art world is sick – perhaps it has been partying too hard. There is a Zimmer frame for clear moulded acrylic, looking fragile like glass (borrowing an idea from Rauschenberg) and a glass resin wheelchair.

Pavlovic is not simply critical of art with more art. There is more to Pavlovic than what she exhibits in the gallery. She is trying to change the art world in a practical way. She has established a floating art museum PavModern that brought British art critic Matthew Collings to Australia for a series of talks and hosted the Jake Chapman Lecture Tour.

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About Mark Holsworth

Writer, independent researcher and artist, Mark Holsworth is the author of the book Sculptures of Melbourne. View all posts by Mark Holsworth

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