5 Dec 2020 - 5 Feb 2021
Deep Revolt is a mid-career survey exhibition of work by Melbourne based artist Arlo Mountford. Laden with references from art history and pop culture, Mountford’s large scale video installations, kinetic sculpture and animations take a wry look at the artistic canon through the lens of the contemporary.
Amusing and strange, his animated films are hand drawn with a mouse directly in to a computer. He reimagines both real and created spaces from the art world, digitally reconstructing the interiors of iconic museums or retracing the brushstrokes of European masterpieces well known and loved for centuries. This process allows him to experience art with fresh eyes and unpack its ongoing meaning and relevance in contemporary society.
Mountford uses a reductively simple figure to represent human beings in his work, a graphic often used to identify bathrooms or elevators on way finding signage. In works such as The Triumph (2010) Mountford introduces this familiar and generic human figure into the animated space of Brueghel’s The Triumph of Death (1562) along with Duchamp, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Yves Klein and Patti Smith, all of whom re-enact moments in their dazzling careers before being slaughtered just like everybody else. Mountford’s comic and haphazard interactions often end in disaster, leaving art, its hierarchical value systems, discourse and relevance open for debate.
This survey exhibition reveals the expanse of Mountford’s practice from video, sculpture and drawing. Featured is his recent work 100 years (2016), an animated chronology of appropriated artworks charting the evolution of abstraction since the ‘zero point’ of Malevich’s Black Square in 1915 as well as a new suite of drawings exploring the viral phenomenon of ‘unboxing’.
Mountford’s experiments with sculptural elements add yet another layer, with ramps and apparatus structuring the viewer’s experience and creating a physical manifestation of ideas touched upon in his practice and the exhibition, which promises to offer an amusing and thought provoking journey through the annals of art history.
A Goulburn Regional Art Gallery exhibition toured by Museums & Galleries of NSW. This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.
Image: Arlo Mountford, The Triumph (still), 2010, single channel video installation, 16:9 HD, stereo, 9:11 minutes. Image courtesy the artist and Sutton Gallery Melbourne.