Interview with Stuart Ringholt

Stuart Ringholt is a Melbourne based artist whose practice is characterized by unwavering sense of art as a social enterprise. Ringholt modifies and augments popular media images and consumer objects in ways that however slight have a significant impact on the original.

Stuart Ringholt, 54th Venice Biennale

What are you hoping to achieve out of Venice?
Science Fiction has been an ongoing interest so I will be thinking
about teleportation when walking around Venice. I want to test the hypothesis that artists are subjecting the gallery visitor to teleportation.

Have you been to the Venice Biennale or Vernissage before?
Yes – I have fond memories of Beuys’ olive stones at The Arsenale.

What is the subject of your practice?
In regard to the public works: education through feeling. I am equally interested in experiencing how an artwork feels and how it reads and this approach doesn’t begin with a subject. I find the subject through the making of the work.

Setting up public situations such as the Anger Workshops or opening the gallery to nudists concludes with a body of knowledge presenting itself. The knowledge comes out of an active meditation and commitment to the body. When the nudist group put their clothes back on, the penny dropped, and I learnt many things about the inherent nature and structure of the art exhibition.

How do you think your work will translate to an international audience?
My work will be secretly embedded in Venice, is of a subtle nature and largely without an arts audience in real-time. Images will be loaded onto the net with its various social networking sites establishing a preliminary arts audience yet, fundamentally, the audience for this work is anyone in Venice. This said, the arts audience may notice the work but only as a peripheral experience. In a round about way, it will belong to the fabric of the Biennale Vernissage.

What preparations have you had to make for going to Venice?
I have worked closely with a small group of people including the couple who will perform the work. Tailoring their clothing has been particularly important, as has been the discussions around how and where they will perform the work.

Of the artists exhibiting from other countries, who would you most like to meet and why?
I hope Hockney is showing. He is producing his best paintings now.

Why this particular project for Venice?
I have been making a new series of video works and the performance is in keeping with what I am doing right now. Venice is a tourist Mecca and I want to contribute to it with a fiction.

This project has a performative aspect, how does it link to your other work?
Colour has been important in my work and I am again using colour. I am aligning colour and rank, which is a first.

I have often directed my works to the laymen and on their turf, whether it be exhibiting in shopping centres or performing at train stations. When I wore a prosthetic nose for a day and shared a table with someone at a cafe, I doubt the other person sitting there, thought I was performing. When kids laughed at me on the train, I also doubt they thought I was performing. Travelling for a day positions a large audience, much larger than any museum can muster. It is only with time and as I later share these stories that an arts audience experiences the work.

After art, what else will be your priority to do before leaving Venice?
My son has been asking to buy new underpants in Venice so lets see.


Selected exhibitions:
Open House, Singapore Biennale (2011), Let the Healing Begin, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane (2011), 2010 Adelaide Biennale of Australian Art, Art Gallery of South Australia (2010), Vitrines, Anna Schwartz Gallery, Sydney (2010), Still Vast Reserves, Magazzino d’Arte Moderna, Rome (2009), Too Much of Me 7 Paths Through the Absurd (With Detour)*, Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne (2009), Revolutions: Forms that Turn, 16th Biennale of Sydney (2008), Low Sculpture, Anna Schwartz Gallery, Melbourne (2008), TarraWarra Biennial, Victoria (2008), New05, Australian Centre of Contemporary Art, Melbourne (2005).