Magazine article Artforum International

Scott Redford

Magazine article Artforum International

Scott Redford

Article excerpt

It was hard to know in the end how to take "Scott Redford: Introducing Reinhardt Dammn," the Queensland Art Gallery's 2010 summer exhibition. Although the gallery undoubtedly intended to mount a retrospective of the work of Scott Redford, this Gold Coast-born gay Pop bricoleur had for his part decided to devote half the show to the work of his recently invented heteronym, Reinhardt Dammn, "a 22-year-old surfer/artist/singer who lives at Tugun." (For the Gold Coast, think Miami Beach; for Tugun, the least stylish suburb in Florida.)

Dammn allows Redford to play dumb, or at least to avoid the endless art-world second-guessing of this most narcissistic or, let's say, self-involved of artists. Thus, on one side of the huge open-plan room in which the show was installed, we had some of Redford's "Surf Paintings," 2000-, with, an emphasis on a group from 2000-2001: broadly brushed, mostly pink cityscapes on fiberglass panels similar to surfboards--some of the most beautiful works made in Australia in the past twenty years. On the other side, we had Dammn's "Instant Paintings," 2008, clumsily gestural abstractions that perhaps mimicked waves and were said to be a way to "lock out those art curators." Elsewhere in the show we witnessed a face-off between Redford's "Proposals for a Surfers Paradise Public Sculpture," 2006, elegiac homages to kitsch tourist motels of the 1950s and '60s, and Dammn's Braincave, 2010, purportedly the imaginary artist's bedroom, broken surfboards leaning on its outside walls, adorned inside with surf decals and a revolving record projected overhead with an audio track whose mixture of music and half-audible monologue suggested we were eavesdropping on Dammn's most intimate thoughts.

Of course, for anybody even vaguely literate in contemporary art, Dammn's gridlike series of rapidly turned-out canvases cannot help but recall Gerhard Richter's endgame abstractions, and Redford barely bothers to inhabit or make real to the spectator his fictional alter ego--what, for example, is an empty bottle of Moet champagne doing on Dammn's bedside table, juxtaposed with, the Kurt Cobain--style flannelette shirt? …

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