Wednesday, December 7, 2011

pink; oink

Video Still

I would LOVE to yap on about my own work in today's post as my exhibition at BUS Projects is still on (until the 17th of December if in Melbourne, Australia!) but pink does not appear in the work at all! You can check it out here on my other blog, which will surely satisfy the curious :0) 

It's been absolutely jumping here in Melbourne with graduation exhibitions at every art college signifying the end of an era for the studying artists. The other night, I went along to my college, the Victorian College of the Arts to check out the MFA show. WOW! Talk about overwhelmed! The whole art department was decked out with art from floor to ceiling, each graduating student given the largest exhibition space they will have for a while!

Pip Ryan is a friend of mine and she is graduating from the MFA program at the VCA this year. She installed her work in the photography department, darkening the space, projecting within doorways and using both small and large spaces to create a bizarre world of 'living' toy animals. As I began to write this post, I couldn't help but think of the childrens nursery rhyme about a farmer named Old MacDonald.
Old MacDonald had a farm, EE-I-EE-I-O,
And on that farm he had a [animal name], EE-I-EE-I-O,
With a [animal noise twice] here and a [animal noise twice] there
Here a [animal noise], there a [animal noise], everywhere a [animal noise twice]
Old MacDonald had a farm, EE-I-EE-I-O.
But Ryan's animals are very different to Old MacDonald's, that's for sure! A toy zoo of sorts, filled with wind up mice speeding around with no where to go, a giant sized gorrila beating a drum demanding our attention, a pig that oinked oppostie a duck that quacked, Pip Ryans world was created for us to meander through, watching these creeped out toy animals in their 'natural' environment, afterall, what is a 'natural' environment for an animal that is a plastic toy anyway? The animals all projected a sense of wishing they were real. The mouse spining in a crazy sped up circle, determined to become a real mouse with every sharp turn or knock against the wall, the toy duck quaked at unusual intervals; definitely not in a way a programed toy should behave and the gorrila?..let's just not go there!

Of course the pig stood out for me as it was the only pink animal in Ryan's toy zoo. Watching the 14 second video preview above gives a great sense of what the artist was trying to achieve. A plastic pig is manipulated to 'behave' as it's real-life cousin with a wire forcefully tugging and pulling at it's midriff making it oink on demand.  The human hand is hidden; the artists hand manipulating the wire and the hand that initially created the pig (most likely Chinese hands). Occasionally the artists hand does come into shot  reminding us (or is it the pig?) that no matter how natural this pig tries to behave, it is no real pig at the end of the day.  It is a human-made pig manipulated by the hand of a human to resemble and behave like a real pig. Simple. How can it really compete?

All of Ryan's animals showed struggle with this fact. I love this video and was completely mesmerized by this little pig, captivated by it's struggle, yet compelled by it's cute and adorable animated facial features. This is how we want pigs to look, right? Clean, cute, a wonderful shade of pink and creating such adorable sounds. Hmmm. The struggle us humans have with what is real and what we want our reality to be.

Pip Ryans work can be viewed at the Victorian College of the Arts until December 11th 12-5pm.

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