Alex Vivian has been making work at home. Watching the TV, in front of the fan, making things he’s collected go through processes. He conditions things. The works in this show are four small collages on ‘snack plates’ atop $2-shop canvas stretchers and a hat on a pedestal. The collages use a lot of materials to build up their presence. At first view from across the room they read like paint, deep, murky and worn. There is no paint, but Vaseline over square patches of coloured fabric gives a similar impression. Op shop jumpers, polar fleece and the nose of Goofy (which appears like the coarsest Band-Aid ever) are treated with Vaseline, dirt and toilet paper. The hat too has been thrown in the washing machine with a handful of toilet paper, making it wilt and abstract.
The process is one of public sublimation for Vivian. The snack plates he collects in Melbourne second-hand shops have a hypnotic bodily formality to them and a serial nature, alluding to masses of eaters. The toys and jumpers are like skins. Collectively, the rubbed-in dirt, Vaseline and toilet paper are the grubbiness of shared pasts. These abandoned and collected things feel frozen in time, ready for hell. Through his processes Vivian extends and amplifies the decay of their ‘lives’ within the gallery’s white walls.
Alex Vivian, Dirt season lookbook, Sutton Gallery Project Space, Melbourne, 7 March – 6 April 2013.