If I was curator: An imagined conversation
Fiona Hall: Suzette.
Suzette: Ms Hall?
F: Sorry to call late.
S: What time is it?
F: It’s Wrong Way Time. Hahaha!
F: It’s 3am.
S: Jesus. Don’t you sleep?
F: I’ll sleep when I’m dead. Hey. Just finished another sculpture for the Biennale. Shall I text you a pic?
S: Oh. Sure.
F: K. It’s called All the King’s men.
S: I just got it.
F: It articulates the inexorable currents of capitalism, neo-colonialism and civil war with reference to the concentration of media ownership, deforestation and corporate greed.
S: It’s a khaki skull with a glass eye and a bullock mandible for teeth.
F: Don’t you like it?
S: It’s very nightmares—I mean interesting. It’s very interesting.
F: Great. When the exhibition closes, I’d like you to keep it.
S: No no, that’s okay, I couldn’t possibly—
F: I insist.
S: Oh. Thanks. I’ll, um, put it in a prominent place and look at it often.
F: There are 20 more of them for the show.
S: 20?! There are 783 works already.
F: I know right. It will be as though Denton Corker Marshall and Kurtz from Apocalypse now opened a canal-front wunderkammer.
S: What’s that noise? Is that an electric knife?
F: I’m working on a new sculpture: A 1:30 scale replica of an AK-47. Guess what it’s made of.
S: Sardine tins?
S: American currency?
S: I feel like you’ve asked me to guess the medium as though it’s a normal medium when in fact it is really unconventional which no-one would ever guess—
F: I think I’ll make a baker’s dozen. What do you think?
S: I think that’s a lot.
F: Do you think any of the other pavilions will be doing bread?
S: I don’t know. Guns maybe, but probably not in wheat. I think the other pavilions are going paleo. And minimal.
F: You’re anxious about the quantity of works, Boss. I feel you. Relax. Every sculpture is an integral part of the glorious, nihilistic whole. Including each cuckoo clock.
S: Each what?
F: I’ve knocked up a few dozen grandfather and cuckoo clocks for the show.
S: A few dozen.
F: To balance out the 40-odd sculptures from the Tjanpi Desert Weavers collab.
S: I think I’ll start a new spread sheet.
F: Don’t forget to add the bank-note nests from GOMA—
F: —a heap of new sardine tins, and a tapa cloth. Maybe two.
S: I’m going back to sleep. Can we talk about this tomorrow?
F: Tomorrow’s tight. I’m packing a shipping container of Whanganui River driftwood for freight to Venice.
F: Great. Nighty night.
Fiona Hall, Wrong Way Time, 56th International Art Exhibition, Venice Biennale 2015, Italy, 9 May – 22 November 2015.