2 - 19 March 2011
“Playful, imaginative and fantastical, Paul Yore’s work explores notions of time, space and reality. Borrowing ideas from science, architecture and religious practices, Yore concocts imaginary worlds constructed from fountains, decorated objects and kinetic sculptures to form hybrid installations. A head-trip through multi-faced notions of cultural, mythical and historical pasts, ANTHROPOP reconfigures the materials spewed out of a rapacious contemporary society and juxtaposes them with traditions and rituals of imagined, past and present day practices. Jam-packed with sensorial information, Yore fashions his installations into quasi-mystical scenes.” (Devon Ackermann)
Throughout his career Joseph Beuys insisted, above all, on the notion that art is a magical, even occult, pursuit. Art critic Sean O’Hagan noted how Beuys ‘elevated the artist – himself in particular ‘ to latter-day shaman with the power to heal his own and the worlds ills. Extrapolating on this now seemingly unfashionable notion, Paul Yore’s mystical installations employ absurdity, irony, beauty and a sense of fun as beneficial responses to being confronted with the meaninglessness, hopelessness, cynicism and apathy of twenty-first century society.
Playful, imaginative and fantastical, Paul Yore’s work explores notions of time, space and reality. Borrowing ideas from science, architecture and religious practices, Yore concocts imaginary worlds constructed from fountains, decorated objects and kinetic sculptures to form hybrid installations. A head-trip through multi-faced notions of cultural, mythical and historical pasts, ANTHROPOP reconfigures the materials spewed out of a rapacious contemporary society and juxtaposes them with traditions and rituals of imagined, past and present day practices. Jam-packed with sensorial information, Yore fashions his installations into quasi-mystical scenes. One need only think back to the large-scale trippy installation that was the Big Rainbow Funhouse of Cosmic Brutality at the Heide Museum of Modern Art. And here at Blindside is no exception.
Upon entering the gallery, the viewer is confronted with an explosion of colour and pattern. The floor is adorned with canvas mats hand-painted in psychedelic patterns, onto which are ‘seated’ shrine-like totems, ornamented with miscellaneous found exotica. Referencing decorative Persian rugs, Islamic prayer mats and the ecstatic states and visual nature of rave culture, Yore’s psychedelic mats positioned around the room act as portals to psychological, mystical and spiritual spaces beyond the everyday. Sometimes considered, but often intuitive, the patterns torment and tantalize the eye as they bend and swirl. There’s something fetishistic about them and they remind me of Takashi Murakami’s anime-inspired superflat rugs designed for luxury brand Louis Vuitton. Although, unlike Murakami’s rugs Yore’s mats are constructed from cheap drop sheets and reused canvas, they are hand-painted and speak to the DIY nature of his practice.
Reminiscent of the clunky mechanised contraptions of Swiss metamechanics sculptor Jean Tinguely, Yore’s miniature and delicate totems operate on a more meditative tone as they move, triggering random sounds. These rhythmic ritualistic sounds permeate throughout the space conjuring up revelations of some obscure cult happening. Yore’s sound sculptures draw on an obsession with music – from traditional Himalayan music, trance, the discordance of jazz, ceremonial and ritual performance, noise, tribal and new age music. An eclectic mix of influences, the sculptures respond in the Dadaist tradition operating by chance. As the turntables and motors spin, a dildo, a unicorn and a guitar pick, strum and strike strings, drums and chimes, orchestrating an array of sounds.
At once random and controlled, Yore’s work operates in a playful discourse with the ‘6os actions of Niki de Saint Phalle, who would release paint onto canvas from balloons burst by bullets from her carefully aimed rifle.
Yore has always been inspired by such philosophies to art. Known for his use of sensor-triggered sculptures, Yore has previously applied this technology to create a drawing machine that responded to the movements of spectators around the work. As the viewers moved about the space a sensor triggered motors to which were attached coloured textas that responded with a frenzied kaleidoscopic pattern of line and colour.
The totems visually rich surfaces reflect an intense fixation in Yore’s detailed approach to image construction. This addiction suggests in Yore the characteristic horror vacui. Translated literally, the term means a fear of empty spaces and a compulsive tendency to fill them. Yore’s painstaking and handmade resourceful approach in obsessively filling the space/plane with found objects, images, colour and texture align his works with those of outsider artists, art of the incarcerated, art of the insane and in some instances early religious painting.
Citing Hieronymus Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights (1503-04) as an influence, Yore explains how the concentrated apocalyptic vision, sprawled over three panels sparked a personal philosophical enquiry into notions between order and chaos, and fantasy and nightmare. This can be most acutely viewed on both a micro and macro level in the strange animalistic Fountain of Sanity (2011), Yore has constructed from a child’s vanity. Perched atop the table is a cascading water feature surrounded by a miniature garden. At once beautiful and frightening, the structure could easily have crawled out of Bosch’s Hell panel and slipped into Paradise.
It is precisely this tension in which the strength of Yore’s work operates. This eclectic mish-mash of structures, ideas and beliefs that not only underline interconnectedness, but that also move beyond strict categories and boundaries. In this way Yore shares more with psychotropicalism than simply a superficial appropriation. A term coined by Amelia Douglas in conversation with artist Karla Pringle in 2007, Douglas suggests psychotropicalism as resonating ‘most closely with those artists who produce psychedelic addendums to the absurdity of contemporary life or cycle through forms to transcend perceived boundaries.’2
Yore’s approach suggests an absurdity within contemporary life, but also the potential to transcend its perceived borders. Working in a frenzy of pure creativity, spewing out fun and beauty with energy, grace, and a strange, unregulated, totally unpretentious imagination, Yore proposes there is hope; ‘creativity is transformative and magical, offering redemption in a seemingly confusing epochâ’3. Prioritising sensorial pleasure over intellectual response, it appears Yore maintains that the transformative potential of art resides in the recesses of ones imagination.
– Devon Ackermann
Melbourne based artist and curator
1 Sean O’Hagan A man of mystery The Observer, Sunday, 30 January 2005
2 Amelia Douglas, Psychotropicalism: A Manifesto in Search of a Manifestation. Un Magazine Vol 2.1, 2008, p 11
3 All quotes taken from the artist in conversation. 16 February, 2011.