Emerging artist wins travelling scholarship
18 October 2012
First you hear a loud banging sound coming from behind a stark white gallery. Then a hole in the wall appears as if building workers were wielding a sledgehammer on the other side. Finally a man-beast emerges, and he seems to be wearing nothing but feathers and opaque orange goggles.
This is a scene from a recent performance that saw recent Sydney College of the Arts graduate, Mark Shorter, win the prestigious 2012 Fauvette Loureiro Memorial Artists Travel Scholarship. Watch a video of his performance.
Shorter is a performance artist perhaps best known for his alter ego Renny Kodgers, "the bawdy, lascivious, country music singer". His other creations include Tino La Bamba "a quixotic journeyman trying to find peace in the Antipodes," and Schleimgurgeln, "a time-travelling landscape painting critic" and the feathered character in the above video.
Shorter's art is inspired by the intersections between variety theatre and contemporary performance art. He describes his characters "as guttural entities that lay bare a contemporary grotesquerie".
He says: "Like the Jungian archetype of the trickster, the grotesque body is an ambivalent force; it promotes change or reconsideration by revealing life's contradictions through a debased humour. I am interested in expressing this unique humour through an interdisciplinary art practice to challenge the idea that to be critical, art must be serious."
Shorter will use the scholarship to travel to Tokyo for a six-month residency with the experimental performance space Superdeluxe. Founded in 2002 by the British architects Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham, Superdeluxe is a venue for experimental music, art, culture and independent ideas. During the 2010 Sydney Biennale Shorter worked with the Superdeluxe group when he performed the Renny Kodgers LIVE with Pee Pee (2010).
Shorter says his characters, particularly Renny Kodgers and Schleimgurgeln, have a potentially interesting resonance in Japan. "Japan has a unique culture of impersonation known as Monomane," says Shorter, who intends to research "the connections between Japanese Monomane and Western models of parody and display".
About the scholarship
The Fauvette Loureiro Memorial Artists Travel Scholarship celebrates a bequest of the late Renee Fauvette Erdos in memory of her mother Fauvette Loureiro, the eldest daughter of artist Arthur Loureiro. It provides financial assistance to a recent SCA graduate to develop their work in an international environment. Worth $28,000, it is awarded on the basis of a written application as well as visual documentation of recent work.
The finalists for the 2012 scholarship were: Rowan Conroy, Jan Howlin, Helen Pynor, Tony Schwensen and Mark Shorter. Their work will be on display in the SCA Galleries from Thursday 11 to Friday 19 October.
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