Author Archive: Rose Caldwell

Milan Milojevic ~ From the Cabinet of Dr. Moreau

Artist: Milan Milojevic

Content: Print making, digital media

Price Range: Most works from $1900 to $2050

Exhibition: James Makin Gallery – 67 Cambridge Street, Collingwood 3066


Milan Milojevic “Peryton (After Audubon)”

James Makin Gallery presents From the Cabinet of Dr. Moreau, a dazzling  bestiary dragged from the depths of twin human impulses to dominate the natural world and to explore our monstrous fantasies.

The title of the show recalls Wells 1896 novel  The Island of Dr. Moreau, in which one mans scientific abuse of nature brings forth monsters. As the tale unfolds it is revealed that it is Moreau who is truly monstrous, inflicting great suffering in the pursuit of earthly perfection.

As in the tale, the monsters Milojevic creates are purely human in construction, conjured from our own psyche and displayed within lavish unnatural environments. Milojevics technique is thoroughly absorbing, combining repetition, colour and diverse printing techniques to create remarkable images that are at once familiar and alien.

The most striking work in the show is the intensely detailed and textured Outside/In, a wallpaper series of 48 panels that covers a significant area of the gallery space. This piece bears the marks of the artists hand and has a more satisfying patina than the sleek digital prints. From The Cabinet of Dr. Moreau is an intriguing show that reveals both Milojevics intense imagination and technical ability.


Eastern European art

The fundamental extant difference between the “two Europes” in the very period of  European integrative processes after 1989 and the relevant theoretical and interpretative instruments for a proper recognition of artistic projects in Eastern Europe;

One of the main reasons for approaching the issue of Eastern European art and culture must be explained from the theoretical standpoint. It designates the existence of the fundamental extant difference between the “two Europes” in the very period of  European integrative processes after 1989, and pinpoints the way to encounter the core of the problem related to the issues of contemporary art and culture. This approach, as Slovenian theoretician and philosopher Marina Grzinic explains, departs from the fact that “the East has not provided the West with the relevant theoretical and interpretative instruments to recognise the uniqueness, idiosyncrasies, diversity and originality of artistic projects in Eastern Europe”, because of which “there is very little documentation of this history”. The attitude expressed here had thus been provoked by a strong belief that Eastern European art practices lacked the critical theoretical background which would offer and provide critical interpretation and self-reflection on those projects and phenomena. This problem is of crucial importance and, in order to be overcome, requires a systematic action towards “filling the void” of the cultural and theoretical domain of Eastern Europe. This urge for theory has been explicitly declared as early as in the 1980s by one of the most prominent contemporary art phenomena  in Eastern Europe – Slovenian movement Neue Slowenische Kunst (NSK): “NSK needs theoreticians, thinkers, to verbalise our activities, since we would like the creative act to be accompanied by a certain argumentative discipline, whose opinions and theses also enter the game of creation. Just like a painting, we consider a philosophical work an object, which in the centre of its conceptual constellation raises the question of the conditions and possibilities of awareness in general.”
Focusing on the historical perspectives of the artistic strategies and art production in Eastern European space provides necessary basic instruments for the elimination of  this problem and marks out the emergence of new discourses surrounding these phenomena. Furthermore, apart from the traditional debates and strictly art historical interpretations, it investigates the ideological context of the development of such phenomena and their politics of display, and also – in order to propose the ways for their radical de-politicization – it strengthens the relationship between art and overall political, social and cultural climate in an area once known as Eastern Bloc (the former Soviet Union, Central and Eastern Europe, ex-Yugoslavia).

A Bitter Sweet Moment in Francis Street – Ciaran Bennett

One evening strolling down Francis Street, past the Cross Gallery and the other assorted antique and junk shops, and wildly trying to avoid the kitsch fest across the street, we came upon Monster Truck, the white cottage with little windows and a quaint sense of Hans Anderson in the winter twilight. There was an exhibition there, we had been assured and so rapped on the glass. After some hesitation this twinkling apparition appeared at the door. The quite startling juxtaposition of miniature cottage style door, and the even smaller personage, explaining that she was not in costume yet, the installation started in a an hour or so, could we come back, yes the sheer enthusiasm, the slightly perplexing nuances of something from a parallel universe, we were hooked.

After a few bottles of wine, we returned to the cottage, yes it was open, well at least occupied and functioning as a mind altering chamber of the absurd and quixotic, an art event, Dame Dorian Dublin.

Dame explained the process, or at least the purpose of this ritualistic performance, as a return to Ireland. Her parents had immigrated to Canada, where she was born. She had transformed the shell of the interior, into a mock cottage from John Hindes Ireland. The straw were curious and slightly ambiguous paper shreddings from the Arts Council, the walls large floral wallpaper paintings, or were they the exhibition, what were we to read here. The rather baroque costume, more Austrian Tyrol, with a touch of street theatre than rustic colleen, the hand made ceramic goblets, the kettle boiling, and a bottle of Powers, yes it was an Irish Coffee Night, with a bizarre sense of hallucinogenic wonder. She welcomed us, introduced visiting relatives from Limerick, these were quite subdued in the space, or maybe overcome with heavily laced coffee into a state of bewilderment, was this their lost relation from Canada, what was this, the uncertainty amongst them contributed to the eerie sense of the performance.

In the next room, or at least what initially appeared to be a scullery of the enchanted kitchen, envelopes and other paper wrappings contained last and found messages, suspended from the ceiling. These tokens of gratitude and loss paralleled the displacement of the purely cerebral, which was fast occurring with mugs of laced coffee, we entered into the realms of the besotted and the deranged, we who had been visitors became an intrinsic element of Fairyland.