Read The Age article about the recent controversy around a new work by Van Thanh Rudd, part of Resisting Subversion of Subversive Resistance, a show exploring contemporary arts activists in Australia.
The Platform response to this issue was as follows:
6 March 2009
STATEMENT REGARDING THE CURRENT EXHIBITION
Throughout this year, and for the last 20 years, Platform Artists Group Inc. has actively sought to engage the Melbourne public with a diverse range of artists, practices, techniques and critical thinking. This particular exhibition explores the various ways that arts activists engage the public in debate and discussion around social, political and environmental issues that directly impact our communities.
This week we have received some correspondence and communications about one of the works installed on Monday 2nd March: Economy of Movement - A Piece of Palestine, by Van Thanh Rudd. In response to this, the City of Melbourne invoked the Protocol on Artworks, forming a Review Panel of professional arts and community advisers to assess the work and determine its suitability for public exhibition.
The Protocol on Artworks Review Panel findings have now been made public:
· In context of the Protocol, the Review Panel does not see a valid argument to prohibit the work in the public domain.
· The Review Panel noted Council’s ‘arms length’ funding arrangement with Platform – and that Platform is jointly funded by other government bodies.
· The Review Panel acknowledges potential concerns that might be raised by the artwork but considered them insufficient to override the freedom of expression principle articulated in the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibility.
Following this decision and all relevant advice to Platform Artists Group Inc., we are presenting the work at the opening event to be held tonight, 6-8pm 6th March. The work will remain on show for the remainder of March.
The opinions expressed by artists as part of Platform’s programming do not necessarily reflect those of the Platform Artists Group Inc. board and staff, our sponsors, festival partners or funding bodies. Under the Victorian Charter of Human Rights in regard to freedom of expression, we encourage a diverse range of opinions and ideas from artists and the broader community.
Van's artist statement was also republished for the exhibition:
Van Thanh Rudd
Economy of Movement - A Piece of Palestine
This artwork is intentionally displayed like a museum piece – inspired by artist Hans Haake. The work contains a stone on a glass pedestal with two frames hanging on the rear wall (coloured blue and white with silver framing). Aesthetics has also played an important role in developing the work. The blue and white colours were chosen to represent blue sky and freedom - the sky that covers all countries of the world. It also references the colours of the flag of the state of Israel - a symbol of oppression to many Palestinians. As mentioned above, the artwork as a whole is presented to appear as though it is a museum piece where aesthetics is as important as the text content.