Solo exhibition @ TCB Art Inc. Unmagazine Article by Din Heagney

Artist: Glenn Walls

John’s racist, homophobic attitudes had

extended to a distinct hate of anything modern. 2004

30 x 30x 35cm Mixed Media

Photo: Din Heagney

Glenn Walls

TCB Art Inc.

6 – 17 April 2004

Din Heagney is the Director of Platform Art Spaces and is a writer and artist based in Melbourne.

Published in Unmagazine Issue No 1

After stepping behind the black curtain of Glenn Walls’ room at TCB, I need to stand still while my eyes adjust to the blue glow inside. It is the same light that illuminates uninvited lint and dandruff in a nightclub. Whew, I’m wearing white but hold on, another eye adjustment is required: this exhibition is one of miniatures. Walls’ collection of mini architectural and naturalistic models protrude from the walls on small black plinths, each printed with acerbic titles like: Mary was obsessed about having sex in the house below. She wanted her wild sexual fantasies to be associated with good taste. The subject, Mary, is meanwhile dancing halfway down a mountain slope that is rising above a modern mini-mansion, in a scene reminiscent of the opening of The Sound of Music. The playfulness of the titles belies the time consuming construction of these tiny slices of life where nature and modernism battle out their aesthetic conflicts. Icebergs, snow-blanketed forests, rolling mountains and shimmering rivers are the homes of nonchalant chimpanzees, people-eating polar bears and insular humans all confronted with modernist architecture. Employing DAS modelling clay, wood, wire and cardboard as the chief materials, Walls has painstakingly created a miniature collection of natural and constructed environments – all rooted in northern hemisphere appearances and each taunting the cultural impacts of modernism. The models measure an average of 30 x 30 x 30cm. Some are longer or taller, but all require a closer examination that puts the viewer in a role of gigantic voyeur, peering into these mini conflicts that, were it not for their titles, would be well placed in a toy museum. Walls’ interest in this series of model works lies in the human presence (or perhaps lack of it) inherent in the International Style architecture of the 20th century Bauhaus School and championed throughout the world by Walter Gropius and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Injecting a humorous presence into each micro-set, Walls opens the possibilities behind the façades of traditional and modern constructs that hover over our everyday activities. There is nothing to see here, so fuck off, appears to be the only work absent of modernist trespass, a tiny slice of a natural environment replete with trees, rocks and river, but then one sees the tiny LED bulbs peering over the scene like streetlights. Despite the title’s warning, it is easy to find oneself looking around and under the miniscule trees and rocks wondering whether there is a piece of modernism lurking somewhere in the dark. This kind of intimate engagement, with an equally intimate but saddening creation, is a strong mark of Walls’ work. “I’m a fucking artist. I deserve respect and money,” Billy yelled at his father as he condemned him for making yet another useless minimalist sculpture, conveys the sense of a further and perhaps more personal conflict with the creation and appreciation of art practice that many of us are all too familiar with. By both celebrating and ridiculing modernism, Walls has revealed some of the emotional attachments we hold for buildings and for nature; places imbued with memory but rarely marked by those who have lived in them.

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