Spencer Lai: A smile forms into a grimace / Matilda Davis: Too Many Dinner Parties
⬤ Spencer Lai: A smile forms into a grimace, Bus Projects 31 Oct - 24 Nov 2018 ⬤ Matilda Davis: Too Many Dinner Parties, Bus Projects 31 Oct - 24 Nov 2018
The fascination of bad taste continues to exert its somewhat mysterious pull on certain sub-scenes in the Melbourne artworld. Spencer Lai’s current show in the front room at Bus Projects—part of the gallery’s ‘With Compliments’ series of exhibitions that invites artists to present their own work alongside that of their contemporaries and influences—is a spectacularly messy affair that gives us a representative sampling of the new frontiers of bad taste being explored by younger artists in this city. Shown over two iterations, it began as primarily an exhibition of Lai’s work alongside pieces by Lou Hubbard and a video by Paul McCarthy and Mike Kelley, before being expanded in its second form with the addition of work by a number of other artists, including Kate Meakin, Hana Earles and Elizabeth Newman. (I saw only the second iteration). Like much of the work exhibited in galleries such as Punk Café and Suicidal Oil Piglet over the last couple of years (and at Y3K before them), the work on display here is decidedly post-Cologne, hearkening back to the jokey, irreverent and alternately charming and somewhat annoying ‘insider’ tone that characterised the scene around figures like Martin Kippenberger and Albert Oehlen in the 1980s: an empty flat screen TV box is messily taped to a partition wall; a canvas with ‘meow’ painted on it is decked out with soft toy cat ears and a tail; a soccer ball is wedged in between the water pipes.