This exhibition is another confronting explosion of colour from the provocative artist
It’s difficult to think of a more prolific artist than Paul Yore, which is pretty clear from his latest technicolour exhibition, Your Capital is at Risk, showing at Neon Parc Brunswick.
Yore was made famous to non-arts audiences when members of the public complained to Victoria Police about pornographic content in his installation Everything Is Fucked, which showed at Linden Centre for Contemporary Art in 2013. What caught the public’s attention was described in the media as pornographic imagery of an underage person – in this case, it was Justin Bieber. Maybe the people who complained had never been on the internet? The installation was part of a series called Like Mike, a tribute to Mike Brown, an artist that was charged with obscenity in the 1960s. In any case, Yore artist was charged, but the charges were dismissed in August 2014, after a two-day trial.
The artist has had multiple exhibitions since then: solo shows and inclusions in group exhibitions. He was one of the artists selected for the prestigious emerging artist exhibition, Primavera at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney in 2014. He never let the fuzz get in the way of his art making.
Yore’s work focuses on a broad range of themes, including queerness, Australian identity, capitalism and neoliberalism, pop culture and the representation of the body. Walking into Your Capital is at Risk, you may feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work on display – there are more than 100 drawings affixed to one wall, multiple tapestries that the artist is well known for, collages affixed on temporary fences, and five freestanding sculptures dotted throughout the venue.
It’s not only the amount of work that’s in the exhibition, but the intricate details in each of his works.
One sculpture, ‘Mummy’ (2018) is shaped like a phallus. Inscribed onto it, with needlework and patchwork, are the names of philosophers, types of meat, different emotions, wars, activist icons, politicians, art genres — and an eighth of the sculpture purely reads “sex” and “death”.
Other sculptures are strange and twisted almost-human shapes with pictures sewn into them. They’re all – as Yore’s typical work is – very colourful, a little tongue-in-cheek and uncanny.
Something that we haven’t seen that much of in Yore’s practice is what look like process drawings – random doodles with ideas scrawled on to them. They vary in size and tone (some are very detailed while others are akin to child drawings; some look almost architectural, while others are diagrammatic). The sheer number of them means you can spend a good hour looking through them all. He’s developed a kind of code within his art practice and the drawings lend themselves to understanding his thinking and processes but their artworks in their own right – it’s a great addition the exhibition.
Also featured are some of the artists new signature tapestries. One, ‘The Darkest Secret of Your Heart’, depicts scenes from colonial Australia, with skulls dotted over the work, depictions of colonial-era paintings, cartoon characters, a tiger saying “kill or be killed”. These tapestries are so rich that again it will take some time to take them all in.
In the back of the gallery, you can see the artist’s more recent collages, which incorporate newspaper clippings, written text, cutters from magazines, and overpainting. They’re all comments on the current climate of the world and Australia in particular – from politics to sociology, sex, power and terror, each focuses on one message but is elaborately put together with careful intent.
Yore is one artist that pulls a slow burn and has you thinking about the work for years to come. If there’s one thing to recommend with this exhibition, it’s to take your time to see it.