© 2012 Marc Alperstein
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Undercover (2012) Install shot at Blindside Gallery Melbourne. October 2012.
Gouache on Paper. Each 56cm x 72cm.
Blindside Gallery, Melbourne.
17/10/12 - 3/11/12
This body of work investigates the properties of depicting form and space and the ways in which we read implied forms and objects around us. Undercover presents a series of paintings that are created through a process of covering a range of objects with patterned material. The pattern is extracted and isolated to create a new form as the basis of the work. While the works reference the original object the intent is to create something new that is both familiar and elusive.
“Or, How I learned to stop worrying and put a bag over my head.”
“Sometimes I put on a ski mask and dress in old clothes,
go out on the streets and beg for quarters.”
- Mike Tyson
Yeh, we all wear masks for different reasons. Covering up our faces can be like truth serum and at the same time a chance to indulge in the biggest lies in the world. Other times, we just want to be comfy ski bunnies, like Mike.
When I think of faces being hidden, the first thing that comes to mind is the cardboard box that John Goodman’s character carries round in Barton Fink, which then in turn, makes me think of Gwyneth and Brad. I don’t even know what was in the box- that was never really the point I guess, but the pull of the unknown within the realm of imagination holds too much strength in its power of suggestion.
Watching The Elephant Man as a kid was probably the first film I remember finding genuinely horrific; that, and some kind of b-grade foreign film on SBS about a guy working in a swamp kind of field whose foot got injured and became infected to the point of gangrenous rot.
I was 3 or 4 at the time and foot rot was genuinely both repulsive and fascinating. Probably still is.
Anyway. The Elephant Man. Strangely, I don’t remember all that much of the character’s deformities, it is instead the cover over his face that remains strong in my memory like superglue.
Much Like Mrs Doubtfire. Now, Robin Williams has always, for some reason kind of grossed me out. I don’t know what it is about him. Of course, he’s a great actor, funny, witty blah-di-blah.... but something about Mrs Doubtfire really hit the nail on the head for grotesqueness. It was a brilliant character, but I found the whole undertaking equally off-putting and captivating at the same time.
I kept just wishing Robin would rip off his disguise in every scene, and you know I don’t mean in a striptease-Demi Moore-kind of way. I never had that feeling watching Tootsie. Dustin just worked that lady so well.
Things just get intriguing when things are covered up. The anticipation of unwrapping presents. Guessing and looking underneath and feeling our way around and over an object covered. Playing hide and seek. The desire to uncover the “truth”. The confusion. The Horror!
The possibility of the unknown.
- Amélie Scalercio, 2012
click to view larger images.