You know how there is this massive, uber-ambitious ‘Melbourne Now’ exhibition at the NGV, over 500 artists and all. One of the artists there is Mark Hilton. His work in the exhibition is called dontworry (yes, precisely, it’s spelt this way). If you go to NGV International, you won’t miss it. Two things about it – firstly, I’m totally taken with Mark’s piece (smitten and bewitched, the works) and, secondly, there is an eponymously titled book about it, to which I contributed an essay. It’s sold at the NGV bookshop, I think. The book is edited by the fantastic Stephanie Holt, who published my first-ever piece fifteen years ago – Meanjin, 1999. Feels like some kind of lovely symmetry. Below is a teeny-tiny bit from the essay:
Here is a relief panel, the first of nine, in which different narratives co-exist in a tense, occasionally mocking way, invading each other and scrambling each other up—a trunk of an elephant becomes a mega-phallus, while Miracle Mike makes a nuisance of himself under the feet of anguished, cataclysmic figures. You can do what you want with dontworry — it’s a free country and all. But if you look hard at every bit of it, it’ll look back at you. Decipher, decode, read between the lines just as Dante wanted the readers of The Divine Comedy to do (I am thinking a lot about The Divine Comedy when I stand in front of dontworry). Look till your eyes roll back. Whatever you do with it, it won’t dry up on you.
© Mark Hilton 2013