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Franck Gohier: Target

Sold Out

Australia is a funny place. We laugh at the commercialism of the US but spend ourselves silly on credit.  We welcome people from all nations, yet shun our own ancestors.  Or, as the recent Australian film Samson & Delilah showed, we pay exorbitant amounts of money for Aboriginal art, with most of the funding going to the gallery owners and only a pittance to the actual artist, who often lives in squalor.

Welcome to Franck Gohier‘s world, currently on display at Ray Hughes Gallery in Sydney.  Gohier uses his acerbic wit to comment on themes such as the Northern Territory invasion (ahem, intervention), the credit crisis, and global warming.  This wit, combined with the pop-art aesthetic, sends a powerful message about where our country is headed.  The bullet holes aren’t so subtle.

Oi Oi Oi

Welcome to the Tropics

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Smithers

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Posted by on August 5, 2009 in art, contemporary, looking

 

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I’m Back – Just Like Casio

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I’m back, and celebrated with a quick shopping trip to the fantastic Footage in Darlinghurst.

Apart from stocking their usually fantastic range of carefully-edited streetwear, footwear and collectibles, they had a collection of Casio watches from the 1980s.

According to the shopkeeper, these relics have been continually popular in Japan and other parts of Asia for the past 20 years, but sadly Australia has missed out thanks to a conspiracy by the local distributors to only sell high-priced watches. Hmm.

In any case, these are seriously cool watches, full of gimmicks that seem somewhat quaint in today’s world of mobiles, widgets and apps.  The sales guy pitched them by saying something like, ‘If you’re travelling overseas, and you’ve forgotten your phone, this watch can do currency conversions for you’.  Or, ‘If you’re at a nightclub without your phone and you get someone’s number you can key it into your watch rather than risk losing a bit of paper’. Again, hmm.

But really, he wasn’t fooling anyone.  Admittedly, the one with the universal remote was pretty cool, but we all know these watches serve no purpose other than to allow Gen x-ers and y-ers to relive their youth.

Anyway, I’m back, just like a Casio, and will be filing more Culturepublic reports soon.

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Posted by on July 7, 2009 in wearing

 

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Fergus Binns: Australian Summer

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I’m feeling very unsettled lately and blame winter in Australia: it’s just not right.  We just don’t know how to have a proper winter, preferring to stay inside for three months rather than get out and forging anything that half resembles a winter culture.

Browsing through the Chalk Horse Gallery archives today I came across Fergus Binns, who captures some elements of that perfect Australian summer – ghastly shark attacks, long airport queues, and kitsch mass tourism.

Binns’ art is darkly humorous and its content seems like a typical night’s viewing of Channel 10 News, Today Tonight, or any other sensationalist news source that pollutes our summer airwaves.  The style used by Binns is simple, almost naive, which mirrors the state of mind our young nation.

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Posted by on June 13, 2009 in art, looking

 

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Bruno Benini

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Bruno Benini was a prolific Australian photographer who documented the changing fashions of our nation from the 50s to the 80s. His archives have just been acquired by Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum.  According to the ABC, the collection has 250 photographs and several thousand negatives.

Benini’s images are theatrical and glamorous, and perfectly capture the mood off the time, shooting subjects such as Maggie Tabberer and Mirka Mora.  I particularly love the above photo, taken in 1976 for Bottega Shoes, a shoe store in Melbourne now owned by my mother-in-law.   I simply love the recklessness that the image portrays; that sense of abandon. And those shoes!

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Posted by on June 11, 2009 in looking, photography, wearing

 

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Smart Light Sydney

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I’ve been seeing a lot of strange constructions around Sydney over the past few weeks.  They seemed to consist of fibre-optic cabling, plastic cups, and the odd fake animal.  It was only when walking home last night that I realised that all that work had culminated in a spectacular light show put on by The City of Sydney.

Welcome to Smart Light Sydney, a festival of installation-art around Sydney’s city centre.  Legendary British artist Brian Emo’s spectacular lighting of the Sydney Opera House is the main event, but I quite like the Argyle Cut scene by German artist Ingo Bracke, shown above, as well as the oh-so-sydney Weather Projection by Alex Haw. Check out the excellent gallery at news.com.au for more.

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Posted by on June 4, 2009 in art, contemporary, looking, urban design

 

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Harry Seidler: Berman House

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The GFC has led to many spectacular property bargains, including Nicole Kidman’s House which sold for $13.2 million AUD, reduced from its $24 million asking price when first listed almost a year ago.  Seems Kidman got sick of waiting for the market to pick up and cut her (and Keith’s) losses.

In any case, it’s a good time to pick up a bargain.  If I had a spare few million to spend on a house, I’d definitely go with Harry Seidler’s Berman House in Joadja, in the Southern Highlands 90 minutes from Sydney.

The property is currently for sale, and has been for quite some time (certainly pre-dating this blog!), so I reckon a savvy buyer would be able to purchase it for a steal.  Perched on the edge of a cliff overlooking a rocky ravine, the concrete property has a suspended living room with soaring balcony, stunning pool and spectacular views over the surrounding countryside.

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Posted by on June 1, 2009 in architecture, building, real estate

 

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Edward Burtynsky: Australian Minescapes

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Edward Burtynsky has become one of the world’s best known photographers.  He is best known for his China series, which was lauded as a timely expose into the lives of ordinary Chinese, and perfectly reflected the size and scale of this emerging country.

His new series, Australian Minescapes, were commissioned for FotoFreo and are coming to Sydney’s ACP in July.  The works, taken at Western Australia’s Pilbara region, are epic in size and scale, and thus give the landscape an appearance almost like an oil painting.

The earth captured by Burtynsky is scarred by man, almost to the point where it is unrecognisable, a startling reminder of the impact of our insatiable desire for consumption.

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Posted by on May 30, 2009 in looking, photography

 

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