Simon Pericich: Future Noir - Art Collector

Issue 45, July - September 2008

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This artist’s world is not an alternative reality. It is our world, the day after tomorrow, writes Ashley Crawford.

Simon Pericich’s world is not one for the faint hearted. There has been a dark shift and nothing is as it once was. Discarded detritus is now collected to build a sacred funeral pyre for consumerism, ready to be set ablaze by a homemade Molotov cocktail made from an oil-filled Coca Cola bottle, brimming with smiley face stickers, and old currency for a fuse.

Like the hapless teenagers in Lord of the Flies, the denizens of Pericich’s world have armed themselves. His sculptural installation, when they come we will be ready, is the arsenal of desperation. It is savagery replete. A domestic iron becomes a post-medieval mace. The steel shaft of a vacuum cleaner is topped with an unsheathed stanley knife. A guitar fret has been hacked off and attached to a clothes hanger, only to be reborn as a crossbow. This is the weaponry of the damned, the stranded. The works in when they come are sculptural paranoia in extremis.

The demented forms of black lacqured timber frames adorned with digital images on stretched satin loom out of the dark. Everything here is patterned with bastardised corporate logos and teen fashion trinkets to create a postmodern voodoo cargo cult sensibility. The explosive cocktail stands ready by the pyre. This is how the world ends, not with a whimper but a bang; this is the endgame for hyper-capitalism.

The working titles of the individual pieces in PROGRESS IN AN AGE OF DECADENCE make the audience implicit in the work by offering a macabre Q&A test:
Q. I never feel alone because...?
a) Every star in the galaxy is capable of supporting
complex life forms.

b) Humans naturally form groups in times of need.

c) I trust the government will always look after its citizens.

Pericich’s LAST DAYS SALE SALE SALE MUST END SOON, which featured as part of the aptly titled group show World’s End at Melbourne’s Carlton Hotel in 2007, felt like a missing scene from Blade Runner. It was a fully functional garage sale of pre-loved goods and artworks of over 15 artists, all housed in a handmade tent constructed from a recycled billboard. Old boots, original paintings, a gas bottle, drawings, jewellery, sculptural objects, hand printed t-shirts and artist-crafted furniture were all up for grabs. With its dim fluorescent lighting, trance music, chai tea and incense sticks, LAST DAYS was decidedly future noir.

This is a world not dissimilar to that of Cormac McCarthy’s breathtaking post-apocalyptic novel, The Road. Here everything is blackened and detritus becomes the new currency, an economics of ruin.

Pericich’s world is not an alternate reality. It is our world – the day after tomorrow.

New work by Simon Pericich will be showing this quarter at Gertrude Street’s Studio 12, Melbourne, until June 21 2008, and Platform, Melbourne, from 4 to 30 August 2008. •

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