John Hurrell – 25 October, 2013
So what is the artwork being presented? Is it the installation in this gallery? A white-walled sleeping space for travellers, with cream curtains and a sliding door mirrored wardrobe? Or is it the traveller or tourist herself and not so much the environs; her speculated on corporeal existence - without the space and its decor. An artist presenting themselves as a living artwork like Billy Apple or Christchurch's Wizard.
10 October - 26 October 20013
Assuming you’ve noticed the doubling up above between venue and exhibitor - it is not a mistake - the question here is….what? Can the gallery become the artist? Is it a send up of Peter McLeavey and other dealers who occasionally have imposed their own personality on various artists’ hang, or is it more a post-structuralist thing where in general terms, the place where you reside or display your work creates you? You are where you live? Your gallery is your art? L-i-t-e-r-a-l-l-y. Your creative personality is embedded within your exhibiting venue and site, moulded by them.
Gloria Knight the gallery is run by a committee whose collective input has resulted in Gloria Knight the artist. Werk means ‘work’ via Dutch, Africaans and obsolete English; an artwork that when you visit it, seems to be a hotel room where somebody has slept in the lefthand side of a double bed, and left a used towel on the settee. There appears to be a woman’s hair on the pillow, and no evidence of anyone else.
So what is the artwork being presented? Is it the installation in this gallery? A white-walled sleeping space for travellers, with cream curtains and a sliding door mirrored wardrobe? Or is it the traveller or tourist herself and not so much the environs; her speculated on corporeal existence - without the space and its decor. An artist presenting themselves as a living artwork like Billy Apple or Christchurch’s Wizard.
The difficulties of determining the precise location of the art in the Gloria Knight scenario get compounded by the fact that two framed digital prints on the bedroom wall are signed by Gloria Knight herself. So this raises questions about manipulated context, and what the bedroom (with or without its mysterious hair) adds to the prints. Is it like the way, for example, the American painter David Reed inserted two of his paintings into a bedroom scene within a video of Alfred Hitchcock’s movie Vertigo, and placed the film, its monitor and the original paintings in a bedroom installation?
Or - outside of David Reed’s aspirations to be a ‘bedroom painter’ - we could speculate on the hair and the prints. Or ignore them. Perhaps there is an Apple-esque ‘bartered’ relationship going on where the artist donated artworks in return for free accommodation.
Another angle is the relationship between the framed digital prints (Werk 1, Werk 2) and the two paintings they were made from - photographed then discarded perhaps - before being posted online to be later found by eagle-eyed Gloria. Only the multiples remain, to be sold to hotel chains like this - as appropriated Gloria Knight ‘originals.’ So like these images, the Gloria Knight brand itself is a product where the authentic or original is impossible to locate. There never was such a person, and even if the committee members as artists were to be analysed (their practices), the Gloria Knight art persona they communally devised is still a separate entity not necessarily linked to their own taste, collectively or individually. Somebody else (a friend of a friend of a friend) may have suggested this idea. There doesn’t have to be a causal connection.