Stuart Ringholt

Kraft

Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne.

By Emily Cormack APR 2014

If art can actually communicate the visceral truths of our strange and wonderful human condition, then it seems odd that we choose to house these objects in the gallery. Galleries are typified by an angular cleanliness and stark white and concrete surfaces – with the social codes to match. These spaces seem a deliberate taunt to the humaneness intrinsic to an artwork. Surely, if an artwork can persist – with all of its messy human expressions – in the gallery, then it can survive anywhere?

Titled Kraft, Stuart Ringholt’s survey at Monash University Museum of Art (MUMA) exploits and then flips this uneasy dynamic between the art object and the gallery space, embedding opportunities for audience embarrassment, jouissance or for human interconnection throughout the museum’s five galleries. Curators Robert Leonard and Charlotte Day have honed a selection of works that highlight Ringholt’s central threads, exploring his interest in creating spaces for viewer expression and connection, as well as his interest in conflating high art objects with sex and the everyday. Tracing his practice from 2008 to the current day, the exhibition reveals Ringholt’s increasingly specific interests in using art to destabilise social codes and to become an energising force that enables the expression of our interior, human worlds.

In the past, Ringholt has explored these ideas in numerous ways. He has created opportunities for personal expression in small groups as with his Anger Workshops (2008), or through nude artist’s talks, performing ‘embarrassing’ acts in public, or debasing the sanctity of high art objects through sculpture and collage. Ringholt frequently uses humour and the... Subscribe to read this article in full

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