The Big Rainbow Funhouse of Cosmic Brutality

THE HEIDE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART: The aesthetic shock experienced upon leaving the light infused, minimalist space of the Heidi and entering Paul Yore’s raucous installation is surely intentional.
The Big Rainbow Funhouse of Cosmic Brutality
The aesthetic shock experienced upon leaving the light infused, minimalist space of the Heide and entering Paul Yore’s raucous installation is surely intentional. Yore’s work inspires a sense of giddiness and a ferocious appetite for trinkets; innocence and excess collide in a way that could be sinister, but feels inherently safe. A delightfully regressive experience, the viewer is immediately transformed into an over stimulated child on Christmas morning, wanting to rip through the wrappers with gusto. It’s difficult not to become overwhelmed by the sheer explosion of colour and texture. The central part of the exhibition; a giant humpy, teepee or tent, has two small island shrines to either side, the floor is a kaleidoscope of color’s reminiscent of the Magic Roundabout. The island shrines are all Lotus flowers and plastic figures. Ronald McDonald is positioned alongside Shiva; his arms manipulated into a Hindi pose. The external walls of the main installation are awash with fake flowers, plastic grapes and fairy lights; psychedelic in colour and texture, Baz Lurhman lurid with a splash of Bollywood. Yore has created a kind of lost Eden, a shrine to childhood and a general thumbs up to trash and treasure. An anti-consumerist statement prevails whilst simultaneously communicating a fetishistic fervor for collecting and hoarding anachronistic objects and beliefs. There is also an environmental message that screams out from the tin cans and coins, dolls heads and SPC beans and VB cans tacked and glued to the installation alongside children’s toys and sections that are colour coded candy pink and lurid yellow. Twigs and twine hold plastic toys in their tangle. The labour involved is astonishing and it feels only fair the viewer invest equally in studying its deranged glory. The plastic shark blood red fountain at the front, with its fake fur heart beneath - clearly the pièce de résistance - is a kind of gargoyle protecting the structure. The daddy of all shrines resides inside. Part the pink plastic beaded curtains, with its alfoil walls, to see the central shrine, the calming trickle of water from two fountains and a spinning wheel with chimes assist the process of viewing wonderment. Sound and vision conspire to create a sense of awe filled reverence and wonderment amongst purposeful absurdity. The exit sign placed in the middle and surrounding mirrors, seem to invite both introspection and external reflection: are we at the fin de siècle end of a rapacious capitalist consumerism? Are we accountable as individuals? What is of value in this uneven age of excess and abundance? Postmodern postulation aside, this viewer was craving to camp out underneath its cooling, kitsch fountains, which by night, would no doubt have a glow star ceiling. This big cosmic rainbow funhouse is a bowerbird’s nest of lost and found objects and belief systems. The artist may be posing some big questions, but not without humour. Garish, camp and infinitely clever, Yore’s is a fascinating shrine and pastiche of symbols which serve as indexes to memory; collective, cultural and personal. Paul Yore: The Big Rainbow Funhouse of Cosmic Brutality is on until 15 November 2009 The Heide Museum of Modern Art

Ruth McIver

Wednesday 4 November, 2009

About the author

Ruth McIver is Melbourne based music writer, arts reviewer and emerging novelist.