A Biscotti Exhibition, Carla Ori, at Cage Me a Peacock Gallery, 7th Floor Nicolas House, Swanston St., Melbourne 16-24 March 2018.
Carla Ori, Poor Kitchen, Table Cloth, installation, dye sublimation Oxford weave print, table, polyester upholstered wooden chairs, ceramic, metal and glass objects, and vinyl wall print. Photo credit: Koulla Roussos, reproduced with kind permission of the artist.
Quite by chance today I wandered into Carla Ori’s, Poor Kitchen (a Biscotti exhibition), in Cage Me a Peacock Gallery, 7th Floor, Nicholas House and came across an installation exploring the materialisation of sound into 2D and 3D forms.
Carla Ori, aka Biscotti, is a multi-disciplinary artist from Melbourne, who uses music and performance alongside still images and film to explore personal experiences. Special events were scheduled around this exhibition, comprising of Italian cooking classes, canolli and gnocchi making workshops. ( For further information: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1zu0AecsuoLntD87lKBb7I_QzJQUPmAlACrq6pbzcONI/edit?usp=sharing
Her debut solo exhibition is an installation with the limited edition vinyl record and sleeve, and printed t-shirt-the merchandising at the entrance to the gallery space- the perfect entry (and exit ) point to this exhibition which is further built around an array of photographic prints, upholstered vintage chairs with beeswax and polyester seat coverings.
Dye sublimating print onto Oxford weave. This is the journey through a visual world of an experimental sound artist that began with an album sleeve. The birth and life of a limited-edition vinyl record sleeve. This is a brilliant touch. It sublimates digital desire into an art object.
Digital music, electronic waves seep into fabric like dye sublimation print. It relegates the object into a rarefied fetish, and in turn becomes a useless object of desire.
Carla Ori, L to R: She's too Pure to be Pink, Salami Knees, One Spaghetti Evening ( 2018) Photographic prints, framed, 16 x 12". Photo credit: K. Roussos, reproduced with kind permission of the artist.
What the artist is explicit above all else is the influence of Dario Argento's Italo-schlock cinema and Guy Bourdin's kitsch-pop surreal photography. (http://www.purplesneakers.com.au/2017/02/premiere-biscotti-like-heaven-in-the-movies/). However, Poor Kitchen's reference to Arte Povera was not explicitly articulated by the artist, but the coincidence is intriguing since fabric is a material so intertwined with that movement, and features as an important ingredient to Ori's installation. Like polyester, it is her textures' dye sublimation and vinyl affixed to wall that synthesizes all the artificial in her artifice. This is the arte povera art of the child of the Australian migrant experience.
Is it necessary to resort to ethnography to discern further narratives? Ori’s “Cucina Povera” is a personal account of peculiar identities that have shaped her. Through representations of her Italian family and food porn culture is she aiming to transcend the stereotype by reveling in its vulgarity? This is the artificial twist to Franco Cozzo's Melbourne, the Melbourne of an Italo-Greek working class world of the seventies and eighties. Is it legitimate to relish in that culture’s supreme consumer objects of worship and conduct an archaeology of meaning and influence over these as history?
These are early days. I look for the Melbourne experience outside this city’s stereotype creating culture industries. An overweight hirsute male crouching over and looking over a pasta bowl of threaded gold jewelry, this is Ori’s uncle, a jeweler, look closer and he is wearing tribal beads. As an emerging artist, Ori is embracing the naivete in the vulgar, Ori is stirring vile representation to challenge what is considered iconic about representing her type in art.
Portrait of Carla Ori, inside her installation, Poor Kitchen ( a Biscotti exhibition), at Cage Me a Peacock , 24/3/18. Photo credit: K. Roussos, 2018.
Melbourne the romantic is nostalgic, experiencing tomorrow today. In Ori’s romantic journey though reveling in sentimentality, the pornographic trope is operating, to layer each object with the smut and ordinary madness that surrounded them.
Can an artist materialize in two and three dimensional and representational form the complexities of sound? This is a enormous challenge in one's first solo exhibition. Is language that equilibrium between what is seen and what is heard? Vinyl, fabric, vulgar poverty porn and the over refined. There are so many artificial ingredients to this anti-ethnic’s ethnic dish, turning poverty porn into fine portable conceptual art.
Bicotti, Like Heaven in the Movies, (2017) album design by Carla Ori, Album photo by Carla Ori and Alice Hutchinson.
I have listened to this record on a friend’s sound system, on repeat through a wet and grey Melbourne day. It has been decades since I have listened intently on the sound emanating from a vinyl record. It had been there in the background as I tried to articulate into words and record my thoughts as contemporary critique, of the right here and the now.
Listening to Biscotti's Like Heaven in the Movies, 2017 vinyl album on Damien Collin's suburban sound system, Melbourne 24 March 2018.
Her exhibition spills out of the gallery space and into the private lives of others. There is a lot behind and inside her exhibition. Each sleeve comes with a visual representation of each song. For $25, I scored “Cognac”, B side, third song.
Carla Ori and Alice Hutchinson, Cognac, 2017 digital photographic print, inside album sleeve art work.
An exhibition is such an intimate space for an artist. It is a significant journey for an individual to stitch together the tapestry of her experience. An inner world becomes the document of the exposed body desirous for a communion with another in real time. It was the vinyl sleeve that projected the sound artist back into the cinematic kaleidoscope of Italian B-grade seventies movie and soundtrack schlock. Can she visualize this complexity as infinite as music? Ori in this installation, explored a visual soundscape to a movie that was never made; the visualized soundscape nevertheless to the cinema of her mind.
After some further conversations with the artist, installation rearrangement for an impromptu photo-shoot and armed with a short artist’s statement I left the gallery with a purchased copy of the limited edition vinyl record. The perfect consumption choice providing me with the soundscape to ruminate and write a blog . In delving into her dreamscape, I arrived at a polyester like meaning deciphering Ori’s exhibition as italogastropornografia, and thus succeeding in her attempts (at least with me) to interact in a playful, visceral and intimate way.