DANI MARTI in ‘Friendship as a Way of Life’ at UNSW Galleries

May 13, 2020

Dani Marti’s video installation ‘Notes for Bob’ and evocative wall sculpture made of necklaces ‘The Pleasure Chest’ are part of UNSW Galleries’ group show ‘Friendship as a Way of Life’. This show brings together more than 20 artists and collaborative groups, such as Elmgreen & Dragset, to explore queer kinship and forms of being together. This major project seeks to foreground the way LGBTQI+ communities create alternative networks of support through various creative and resourceful means.⠀

‘Notes for Bob’ was developed during Marti’s New York residency with the Australian Council For The Arts. Issues of power, control, and the ethics of the gaze are all pushed to their limits in this two channel video work, which depicts an intimate exchange between the titular Bob and Dani Marti. Through the artist’s exquisite sensitivity to his subject matter, as well as his unique cinematic style that breaks down the conventions of documentary narrative and its pretensions to objective truth, Bob is afforded an agency that he rarely experiences in his own life. Marti instead becomes a participant who is (literally at some points) manipulated in Bob’s world in order for him to achieve what are rare moments of intimacy, not through overt sexual acts, but through the power of sound. ⠀

In ‘Notes for Bob’ we see Marti produce a work of compelling beauty which leaves the viewer both entranced by the aesthetics of the work and the ideas about human relationships it raises. Equally, ‘The Pleasure Chest’ is a highly tactile work about intimacy and excess that “[begs] to be touched – a desire deeply frustrated by gallery convention.” Art critic Gemma Weston describes how Marti “[weaves] second-hand necklaces into large, intricate monochromes awash with sensations; a flash of the mean reds, an enveloping darkness, the fondling of rosary beads or a pelt of glistening skin.”

You can find out more about ‘Friendship as a Way of Life’ by visiting the UNSW Galleries website.






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