Big Bull Market
April 11 - May 10, 2008
Poised and muscly in the front space - reckless even - Robert Hood has lain, stacked and leant some forty odd broken windscreens like a house of cards. The work is free-form and in progress - creaking and groaning - debilitating under its own weight. Threatening even.
Adjacent is a large square photograph of burn outs - tyre marks on a dead end road behind Christchurch airport. This is Hood behaviour - Christchurch gothic as cause and effect. Burn outs as found objects lyrical in touch, are presented here in suburban and wilderness playgrounds, both busy and eerily alone.
In the Gallery behind, a barrier arm intermittently rises and falls, and council junction boxes swarm from a corner lit by three old street lamps - a campfire Hood would have us believe. The red neon of the sizable sign once suspended above Gloucester and Colombo streets (to direct traffic out of the Square), is the other light in this space. It feels eerie and sensational.
But what is really illuminated here by deft placement and a lightness of touch, is Hood's over-arching sense of humour. You cannot miss two small monitors across the floor from one another. "50% Orange Warm-Up" features smoking tyres being warmed up pre-race, played loud but at half speed. "Porkys" is the back end of a kune kune sow close-up and silent, with tail wagging like a speedometer needle, pathetic phallus or both. This self-titled DVD plays beneath "Receipt Wall", in which Hood bravely reveals the details of his Olivia Spencer-Bower Fellowship accounts - all $30,000 of them. Receipts for beer are mixed in with those for food and other costs - the odd lottery ticket alongside Pak'n'Save advertising and letters promising fiscal riches quick.
This is the big bull market afterall, with consumerism characterized as the never-ending search for life improvement. Re-cycling however, is the new mantra, and Hood is good. Everything is re-used from supermarket bags to his old double album collection. Framed and put on the wall as poster-boys of the entertainment industry, they are full of plastic enterprise. Kings of the marketplace they were - think Bowie, Presley and Cash - with spirit. Recycle that spirit, (and what a lot of plastic there is), and the blessings of immortality might be yours. Or ours. Or not.
The artist would like to acknowledge the support of the Olivia Spencer-Bower Foundation.
All works are from 2007 - the year of Robert's Fellowship.