“One thing I have learned is you can't control art, just shape it.”
The creation of a theatrical performance is a collaborative endeavor where the director, the performers, the designers and the musicians come together to give life to an author’s vision. Whilst performances may vary from performance to performance or from production to production the longevity of the work is dependent upon the quality of the script, the score or the choreography.
This collaborative approach is one that sits comfortably with the West Australian pop orientated conceptual artist Matthew McVeigh. To which his latest work Economy Class to Bali (see above) attests.
In collaboration with Balinese artist Ida Bagus Rekah Bakurha, McVeigh explores the clash of cultures wherein a new and often foreign culture imposes itself upon the traditional.
As he says in his artist’s statement for the work “The work explores the particular phenomenon of young Australians heading to Bali as a rite of passage, their actions often taking on a religious fervor. The desire to make the work came from my own personal disgust, shame and reflections after observing other young Australians behaving in this foreign land with entitlement and a lack of respect for the culture, customs and spirit of place.”
Diagnosed as a child with ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), which his parents treated organically rather than chemically, it had little effect upon the academic side of McVeigh’s education. And his skill at drawing saw him become the go to person amongst his peers when visual renditions became a necessity. Although the prospect of a career in the arts was given little thought.
With an interest in architecture, history and literature McVeigh’s acceptance into the Production and Design course of the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts was turning point in his life and with its supportive collaborative culture it enabled him to gain his Bachelor of Performing Arts.
After a handful of years designing theatrical works that covered the genres of drama, dance, opera and puppetry McVeigh gravitated to community arts with residencies at schools and communities throughout the state. And all the while producing his own self-generated work which more often than not are collaborative in nature.
Like the kinetic sculptural work Delineate (see below) in which 24 builders spirt levels perform a stately gavotte. McVeigh has orchestrated the efforts of five others (Ken Seeber, Brett Seeber, Lachlan McVeigh, Jacob Leher and Hiroshi Ransom) to provide the expertise required to present this exploration of the building trades basic structure the square.
As he told me in a conversation at the gallery “What we build today is about what we build tomorrow and that is driven by working with other people.”
McVeigh’s current exhibition Built is on show at Western Australia’s Linton & Kay Perth gallery until the 29th of February.