Review: Labour of Love Revisited

Arko, November 11 – December 18, 2011

This interesting, but uneven show brought together works in a taxonomy of what can be superficially classified as and incorporated into artistic practices these days. Everything from scientific, documentarian, environmental, theoretical, reciprocal, and gestural, this group show was a little like an expo featuring the numerous approaches artist and non-artists take in making and exploring ideas, nominally framed by the idea of the love it takes to pursue a dream. Within the disparate approaches and functions, especially compelling were Vehicle Tokyo by Moriz Fehr for its troubling images about a troubling issue; while the work All-salt was just downright scary. The notable body of work by Mary Mattingly was evident in Waterpod. And Yangachi’s The Second Wife from the Future – In Case of Hypnotist is like Chris Marker’s La Jette, transporting. What Labour of Love Revisited: The Rise Amateurism in the Digital Age asks is what does it mean to use methods without mastery, while simultaneously answering that in the art world this is accepted practice. The merit of this show was its inclusiveness, by showing both edges of DIY culture—actual amateurs alongside artists—the show poses that mastery is overrated and that being unskilled can a good thing, even legitimate.

reviewed by Julia Marsh