Breaking Up is Hard to Do
Don’t take your love away from me
Don’t you leave my heart in misery
If you go then I’ll be blue
’Cause breaking up is hard to do.
Neil Sedaka, Breaking Up is Hard to Do (1962)
A garage/studio in Bondi Beach. An artist and a curator drink and talk endlessly as the Wu Tang Clan plays in the background on a hot summer’s night; the heat amplified by the confines of the garage, the temporary thrift store Persian rug flooring and the smell of aerosol. The artist paints with focus, occasionally narrowing his eyes and glancing back and forth at the painting. Each time trying to work out a puzzle, a battle with an idea, an image in his head that morphs in and out of focus. Early evening becomes late evening and eventually dawn. And as the day breaks, the two sit back and light cigarettes and consider a work forged from a simple idea: the idea that breaking up is hard to do.
For this project, I was commissioned to develop a variation of the classic parlour game ‘Gossip’, also known as ‘Telephone’ internationally or, unfortunately, by its politically incorrect name ‘Chinese whispers’. The idea was to formulate a curatorial concept, share it with a single artist and then give that artist a week to make a work in response. I would then show the work to a second artist who would make a work in response to the first work. The second artist’s work would be shown to a third artist and so on down the line until eight artists had each made a work. Like the parlour game, the inherent objective was to see what became of the meaning of the first message, an art game of ideas and reactions.