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Slap Pals Potato Art

I love exhibition where I leave with free numbered artwork, even if I had to stamp and tear it out from the pad myself. It is more efficient that way.

Slap Pals, Sacked 2, video still

Slap Pals, Sacked 2, video still

“Slap Pals present Slap Pals get sacked – an art improvement program” in George Paton Gallery at the Union House, University of Melbourne. The art improvement program that Slap Pals is talking about, is not about improving the quality of the art but the efficiency of producing art. The exhibition text is a parody of contemporary corporate language and has the best written room sheet that I have read in years.

It is also a potato based exhibition opening a day late for St. Patrick’s Day. The potatoes used in the show was supplied by their sponsor Georgie’s Harvest at South Melbourne Market. There are many potato references in the exhibition including potato battery power and potato prints but You, Tuber, a beautiful and sickening work, uses both a YouTube tutorial on tuba playing and colour mashed potatoes. And Slap Pals know that video art projections are an efficient means of filling a gallery space.

“Ever feel like you’re being cheated?” Joe Strummer asked the audience at the Roundhouse, London on the 23 September 1976.

Sure we all might feel like we are being cheated but who is doing the cheating is the real question. Are Slap Pals cheating at creating art? Is Joe Strummer cheating the audience by asking that question instead of The Clash belting out another song? It is not as if the combined activities of Jeff Koons, Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst and every other contemporary artist that you might hate, caused the global financial crisis. That was done by very different people, who made vastly more money.

Do I make myself clear? It is a parody, a shock, a punk action and shooting the messenger is never solution when you listening to the message. “Ever feel like you’re being cheated?” Is this efficiency really an improvement? Is your manager talking complete bollocks? Fantastic work Slap Pals, who ever you are; you should get the sack in the next efficiency drive.

In the entrance gallery at George Paton Gallery there is Nik Lee’s “Polo for NASA: Listening to Lorde @ UniLodge”. Nik Lee’s sense of humour expressed in cryptic assemblies of commercial objects. His rearrangement of readymades creates a funky futuristic rootless world with strong sculptural qualities.

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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

2 responses to “Slap Pals Potato Art

  • info

    Hi Mark , I know I’m being a pedant, but it was Lydon at the Winterland SF in 78 who closed with “Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?” ( I just watched “the Filth and the Fury” ) love the blog, ps . Have you seen Hayden Schleiger lately ?

    cheers Ian Wells

    • Mark Holsworth

      Hi Ian, Yes it was Lydon in ’78 and it was also Strummer in ’76 (for pedantic reference Lipstick Traces, Rough Trade, Clash, track 15, Stage Talk starting with those very words). No idea if Lydon knew about this but these issues and even the very words keep on being repeated.
      Haven’t seen Hayden in decades, I lost touch with him after he moved back to Bendigo.
      Cheers, Mark

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