Clinamen, by French artist and composer Céleste Boursier-Mougenot
Image from the NGV website, http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/whats-on/exhibitions/exhibitions/celeste-boursier-mougenot-clinamen
Accessed 21st June, 2013
Art is meant to be touched. To be tangible and an experience.
Now, don't take this out of context. I don't mean that we should be touching art that will be damaged or is archived. I mean the contemporary art that is happening now. The art that is interactive just by the very nature of it.
I've grown to loath the security guards at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV). The tipping point was with this artwork (pictured left) by French artist and composer Céleste Boursier-Mougenot called Clinamen. It's a large circular shallow pool that all these gorgeous pure white bowls wonder around in. When they clink together they produce sounds from soft, barely audible high sounds to gorgeous warm lower sounds that ring out across the whole lower floor of the gallery. They're pushed around the water by a small motor about a foot across, concealed at the edge of the pool.
I've heard only one other adult express their concern about not being able to touch the artwork. Although every kid that's walked past has been told off by security for getting too close. They say you're an artist as soon as you're born and then you are taught out it. Clinamen in the NGV, epitomises that notion.
Robin Rhode also has an exhibition at the NGV. There is a section in it which encourages children and families to participate in the wall drawings. Robin is influenced by the trends of his generation, being hip-hop, sports and graffiti.
The problem I have with how the NGV have approached this is that once again the interactivity and the experience of the artwork is held away from us. We're being told that to interact is to be childish. It's not something that is normal for adults to want to do or appreciate.
Please NGV, STOP telling your security that viewers need to stand at least a metre and a half from all works at all times. Stop holding up art as something made for anyone other than us. The people who made the art were not more than human. They lived and breathed and felt just like us.