Vote for Kristan!! Grange Prize 2010
Last night, I was invited by the AGO to speak at one of their Next events -- nominally, their quasi-young patrons circle, where under-40s gather monthly for cultural edification and, just as importantly, free booze -- centred on the $50,000 Grange Prize for photography.
The idea was this: Four photographers in competition, four speakers stumping for their assigned candidate, and a roomful of potential votes (the Grange Prize is decided not by an esteemed jury, but American Idol style -- by y-o-u through online voting.)
In any case, my artist was Kristan Horton, who I was lucky enough to be able to choose, having had first crack (Greg Seale, advocating for Leslie Hewitt, had Kristan listed as his first choice as well). My only worry was whether or not, given a 5-minute time limit,I coud possibly do justive to the dizzying complexities of Kristan's work.
The answer: Of course not. Rattled by the ticking clock with 90 seconds remaining, I found myself rapidly babbling to wedge in all the stuff I wanted to say, forgot half of it, and went way, way over time anyway. As I sat and listened to the other candidates, I realized something, not just about the process, but about Kristan's work: Conceptually complex as it is, there's always a dizzying gut-check moment when you stand in front of one of his intensely constructed images, or equally manic-obsessive stop-motion videos.
For all the easy gropes to art history -- surrealism, abstraction -- and pop culture -- Kubrick, Poltergeist -- Kristan works at a deeply committed intuitive level that does nothign so much as tilt vainly at rendering order from the image-laden chaos of our current culture. His intensely constructed images are simultaneously being dismantled in front of your eyes, forcing you to question the veracity of what you're seeing, and,by extension, the truthfulness of any image. Kristan takes things apart in a quest to unearth the truth of the image, and finding none, re-assembles the component parts into something no less real, but entirely new. It's a hectic, satisfying confusion, brimming with intense commitment and leavened with good humour. Importantly, as I said last night, while his techniques may be in wide use, nobody does what Kristan does. He is mesmerizingly original. So go here, and vote for him.
It's the right thing to do.