Michael Lindeman

Michael Lindeman’s latest series, ‘An Awkward Dance’, excavates the complex strata of the artist’s own identity by activating repressed impulses. Rendered with Lindeman’s characteristic wit, the paintings, drawings and sculpture playfully invert structures of power, inviting the viewer to poke and prod institutional authority.

Lindeman’s works are inherently dualistic, bringing together sarcasm and subversiveness, comedy and critique. In the show, the central installation of paintings, Implicit Memory System (2018), highlights the artist’s derisive stance towards authority. Featuring a squishy brown ‘Poo’ font, this series of text paintings besmears various individuals who possess an inflated sense of authority – landlords, bouncers, policemen and, apparently, Michael himself. Masking the implied stench with a blanket of fragrance is a colourful grid of air fresheners mounted on the gallery wall, euphemising the pungency of these crude authorial figures.

This provocative tenor continues with a suite of text-based drawings that replicate ‘Obituary Notices’, ‘Missing’ and ‘Seeking Same’ classifieds, announcing the passing of various art movements and reflecting on the clichés riddling the art world – the serious black-clad artist, the inadequate critic, the corrupt art fair and the useless curator. Here Lindeman recasts the notion of artist-genius as artist-clown in an art world circus.

Lindeman further disrupts convention and inverts structures of power in his large text-based sculpture, Thanks (2018), which posits the creative power of debt. Crafted from clear vinyl hand cut into an eponymous three-dimensional font, the sculpture is filled with crumpled copies of rejection letters collected over the past two decades. Symptomatic of the plight of the contemporary artist, this confessional work proposes the idea of failure as a possible artistic strategy; anxiety as a source of creation.

Another work inhabiting the biographic is Lindeman’s parodic self-portrait Midlife Report Card (Selfie) (2018), a life-sized anatomical diagram with textual body parts partnered with witty reflections. Through this analogue selfie, Lindeman confronts his position as an artist and his place in the world, both physically and intellectually.

Through wry institutional critique and self-deprecating humour, Lindeman pronounces the alienation and frustration felt while navigating a world pivoted on fashion, power and wealth. It is indeed an awkward dance.

Michael Lindeman | An Awkward Dance
29 June – 4 August 2018
Sullivan + Strumpf, Sydney



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