Clunie Reid

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Clunie Reid
I Need You To Behave, 2007
Marker pen and stickers on c-type print
34.7 x 29 cm

I Need You To Behave shows the Oval Office inset with a news clipping of guide dogs trained to operate ATMs. Adorned with a sticker and marker pen drawing, Reid’s photo-collage dissembles notions of power and corruption to ridiculously abject proportions. “The text is like a psychotic voice addressing the image,” says Reid. “There’s an imperative in the way that the text works in relation to the image. The drawing is a continuity of the photograph. It’s all organised quite formally and done very quickly. There’s not a lot of time spent considering, and I do more than I use, make and edit later. Each work is developed from a bank of association. It’s informed, but the connections come from the habit of making. Most of my work deals with the idea of absurdity – things like ‘Homer’s finger’s too fat’, cultural things that enter parlance, things that get picked up amongst friends: they’re like symptoms or a currency. This ties in with physical awkwardness; it’s related to our physical relation to things, like making art.”

Clunie Reid
Take No Photographs, Leave Only Ripples, 2009
27 silver Inkjet prints
each 84 x 120 cm, or 120 x 84 cm

Clunie Reid approaches the junk food menu of consumer culture with bulimic gusto: gluttonously binging on the whole of mass media only to regurgitate it, macerated and comically bilious. The more she consumes, the leaner her work gets, distilling the very essence of pop consciousness. Using the photographic image as both her subject and media, Reid takes pictures of advertisements, newspapers, magazines, TV, and the internet, things she finds on the street, things in her studio; she even re-photographs her photos. She makes collages and drawings on them, scrawls absurd logos, spontaneous retorts to the camera’s neatly packaged imagery. And then she re-photographs them again. “The images are not enclosed thematically,” Reid says of Take No Photographs..., “they were chosen because of how they can be played off each other. I’m interested in advertising, the way in which images of bodies and objects have a relationship to the way our view of the world is constructed. By vulgarising this imagery, my work explores the hidden mechanics of image construction, highlighting things which are implicit in media.”

Clunie Reid
Window, Smoke, Square, 2007
Marker pen and stickers on c-type print
34.7 x 29 cm

In Window, Smoke, Square, Reid constructs an image to reiterate the viewer’s processes of perception. The piece shows a detail of a generic magazine picture which Reid re-photographed (the glare in the bottom right corner is a result of her camera’s flash) and then over-layed with a decorative sticker and text. Labelling every element of the photo, Reid compounds the act of looking to a state of hyper-consciousness. “It’s about the amount of information you have in an image,” explains Reid, “how you make sense of an image if everything is active in telling you what it is. The work is proactive, or interfering, with a transparent viewing process: the degrees of substantiality or surreality of the thing in the image in relation to just seeing the image as purely icon. The square is a square but also something else, the room is negative space but is positive in comparison to the text, and the girl is reduced to the level of the other objects in the image.”

Clunie Reid
Pete, 2007
Marker pen on C-type print
34.7 x 29 cm

Reid’s observed ‘life’ lived through the lens cumulates as a sublime private/public collapse, a nervous breakdown of mixed messaging, unattainable ideals, transparent clichés and hypocrisies. Picturing a photo of Pete from Big Brother taken from a gossip magazine, Reid uses his celebrity persona as a departure point into making. Pete, who has become the country’s most famous face of Tourette’s Syndrome, is well known for his clowny behaviour which intentionally exaggerates the perception of his condition, turning his ‘freakishness’ into a charismatic attribute. The stripes drawn on top of the photo roughly approximate the TV flickering of skewed transmission. Made with marker pen and a ruler, the ink bled under the ruler’s surface creating aberrant smudges from what might have been a perfectly straight line, they suggest a sense of violence and beauty in their degraded communication.

Clunie Reid
She Gets Even Happier, 2008
Mixed media (63 components)
Dimensions variable

Reid’s work is a testament, symptom, and purge of media over-identification: situating herself as a kind of human ‘broadband’, she streams the experience of information overload in her large-scale photographic installations. These replicate the omnipresent bombardment of media messaging, as well as the internal expanse of the psyche. Her consumed images are re-ordered, re-authored, and personalised, subsumed into a warped constructed identity. She Gets Even Happier presents dozens of photographs, drawings, and collages on roughly cut foam-board, each humorously hung with a wire, a cartoon lingo for ‘picture’. “I wanted to find a way to present photo images on that kind of scale,” Reid explains. “Their multiplicity could also be something bigger, operate more ambitiously, be more monumental. It also allows me to go beyond the photo, to write, scrawl beyond the image, to play with something that’s a bit more autographic or direct – a bit like graffiti or vandalism.”

Clunie Reid
It’s Time For Bed Cassiopeia, 2009
Marker pen on silver inkjet print
112 x 84 cm

Reid describes her work as: “Drawing narratives or paradoxes between images and materials. I’m drawn to images that suggest hyperreal or transcendent states: the body, derelict and abject images, images that can also be made to oscillate between these. There’s often a sexual matrix in the work; loads and loads of really simplistic jokes that come from Freud or Lacan For Beginners, really bottom-level dumb jokes.” In It’s Time For Bed Cassiopeia, Reid plays off the Greek legend of Cassiopeia, a beautiful vain queen who was imprisoned in the sky, in a star constellation that often appears reversed. Her duplicity is rendered in Reid’s silver foil-based portrait as a background divided in two parts. The figure’s face, taken from a Manga porn character, is embodied in a crude sexy drawing; her top half set against shrewd calculating blue, and her nether bits bathed in tempting red, both warranting the applied parental advisory label.

Clunie Reid
She Likes The Way She Feels, 2009
Mixed media on silver inkjet print
84 x 112 cm

She Likes The Way She Feels was made at a time when Reid was working on an animation featuring Pamela Anderson in a shower, and much of its visual ‘logic’ extends from her film; this illustrates Reid’s creative processes of stream of consciousness association, overlapping images and ideas in continuous cross reference that mirror media’s output. The background is a negative and reversed image of a casino, its aqua blue hues and solarised treatment reference water: “as a spiritual or subjective state, of being in perfect harmony with one’s surroundings,” Reid explains. “The text suggests a self-conscious feeling of pleasure, and a movement towards that being objectified. ‘Attention’ at the bottom brings it all back to a narcissistic self image.” Covered with super-girlie decals, Reid points to the infantilisation of female sexuality in popular culture.



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