“I take pleasure in now with the ability to do no matter I would like in my artwork follow,” he says. He finds it nice enjoyable to meticulously analysis the way to make one thing. “You simply go and do it – it’s such a simple factor to say, however expertise and confidence makes it come extra simply.”
That is an artist who revels in referencing the banality of the true world, particularly promoting logos and types – not that he sees it as banal: from Celine or McDonald’s to IKEA or Panasonic, Sylvester embraces all of it and unpicks the meanings. Life is considered by way of his thinker’s eyes as one thing of a shopping center.
“Generally I feel with the noise or manufacturers, they [viewers] may suppose it is enjoyable,” he says of his new NGV exhibition, deliciously titled Carve a Future, Devour Every thing, Develop into One thing. “It isn’t, it is in no way. Loads of the songs I write are about shedding your job, or dying; the artworks too.”
It is a man who, over the previous 20 years or so, has relentlessly pushed his personal parameters as an artist, and this playing is what curators famous when he exhibited amongst a whole lot of different artists on the NGV’s formidable Melbourne Now exhibition in 2013: the dancefloor-based work For You (2013) was such an enormous hit, with a heady aesthetic so wealthy with department-store perfume-counter colour-and-movement, guests beloved hanging out with it. Thus, we now have this new solo present, one by which the dancefloor, and quite a lot of different earlier works, are recalibrated alongside new works.
At present, in his studio Sylvester is making some ultimate choices about works going into the present which, like a shopping center (after all), may have no central focus however reasonably a sequence of sights alongside the way in which, with a number of mild and sound.
Exterior on the gallery entrance, is a mock island with bronze and porcelain coconuts. Then, within the lobby, is the video If I solely do one good factor in life, that is it. It was filmed with two cameras on tripods at a Melbourne IKEA retailer, and runs for 34 minutes. He wished the continual take to go for hours however a client with a mattress on a trolley curtailed proceedings. Within the video, Sylvester says, the cameras had been positioned on the exit: one dealing with the registers, the opposite on the kiosk as you permit. All through the video, he walks in a circle, buying low-cost soft-serve ice lotions and giving them away to individuals as “a goodwill gesture” whose purpose was “for myself and IKEA to create an act of kindness collectively, in a way, a company synergy between artist and model”.
As exhibition curator Maggie Finch observes, Sylvester’s work shows an in depth data, curiosity and potential reappraisal of consumerism, exploring relationships with advertising and marketing, promoting, cinema, in style music, vogue and, considerably, one another.
“Hopes and goals, middle-class conundrums, the tedium and banality of labor, loss and longing, love and romance, concern of dying – these are topics that seem time and time once more in Sylvester’s so-called ‘modern-day fabrications’,” she writes within the Carve a Future catalogue.
Sylvester does not got down to cynically have a go at rampant consumerism. It is extra advanced than that. “It’s as much as the viewer to wonder if they’re critiques,” he says. “I genuinely do not suppose that they’re. IKEA sells these very low-cost issues; individuals go away with them. Advertisers and influencers are highly effective and seductive – and finally all of us give in, whether or not we prefer it or not. Everybody offers in every day … there is no such thing as a technique to keep away from that.”
The manufacturers, logos and consumerist aesthetics entered his work within the early 2000s when he realised how odd it was that they did not characteristic extra in modern artwork, in the way in which that, traditionally, painters and photographers have captured their instant environment. His created world of “reconstructed ready-mades” displays the methods manufacturers supply us a perceived sense of freedom. “For others it is perhaps faith, however I am not non secular, so what else do you might have? The dopamine hit of retail remedy does that. Even consuming quick meals does that, or a responsible pleasure.”
Trying on the objects and pictures in his studio, Sylvester recollects that whereas rising up, he used to jot down a number of brief tales. These provoked video-clip type photos in his head, informing the story titles, and finally pictures paying homage to movie stills. Narrative-based images, alongside along with his makes an attempt at scriptwriting, shaped the majority of his work till about 2009. Over time, he had wished to carry his imagery “into the true world, bodily”. Images has remained on the core, and the studio is the place he units up eventualities to – no digital manipulations on the pc afterwards, simply the uncooked pictures of worlds he creates from scratch.
“Individuals could be shocked at how B-grade it seems in right here,” he says. “Simply theatre lights and an excellent digital camera.”
Carve a Future, Devour Every thing, Develop into One thing is at NGV Australia, federation Sq., March 1 – June 30 ngv.vic.gov.au