I happened across a post earlier this year on Facebook from Jordan Marani, urging people to come to the opening of his West Space show. Jordy is a dear friend who we haven’t seen enough of lately, so I was keen to make an effort to visit his show, although I ignored the bit of the invitation related to the opening, since I tend to think art-viewing and openings aren’t a great functional combination. We live outside of Melbourne now, so I correlated West Space’s visiting hours with the train timetable, concocted some other city jobs to make the trip more productive, and travelled in to see the show. When I first walked into Jordy’s section of the gallery, I was unimpressed.
The Fluoro spray-paint and fast food sculptures reminded me in an awkward way of the genre of two-dollar-shop artworks that I remember being excessively popular at art school. I mentioned this to Kate Just, who had been a lecturer of mine, and who was standing in Jordy’s room, looking bemused, when I entered. “But don’t you realise they’re all looking at us?” she said. I flicked my eyes round the room at the painted faces and beer-bellied bodies hanging on the walls, and started to get a creepy feeling. Kate and I stood in the midst of the blank Fluoro gazes, sharing updates about our respective lives. We ended up having an unexpectedly intimate conversation about how our recent illness experiences had led us to develop new anxieties in social situations. Jordy’s dim sum faces surrounded us, bearing down upon us, leering. I started to visualise being lynched by them. (If one is in the middle of an unfriendly mob, effectively on show, is it still accurate to call the mob an audience? Or does the idea of an audience imply some implicit consent that the audience is receptive and the performer willing?) After I left, the faces and swelling bodies haunted me (hunted me?). I ended up going back to the show a couple more times to check if I would get the same yucky feeling, and each time, the fast food people complied.
(Ps. Dear Jordy, haven’t had a moment to tell you, but I saw your installation and found it memorable x f)