Put Up Your Dukes!

On at Blue Oyster Project Space

Jill Sorensen and Gabrielle Amodeo

Exhibition Preview: Tuesday 18 June at 5:30pm
Exhibition Runs: Wednesday 19 June – Saturday 13 July 2013.


Put up your Dukes! is a visual debate between Auckland-based artists Gabrielle Amodeo and Jill Sorensen with the moot: In art, as in life, we occupy an ad-hoc middle ground in which the only certainty is the impossibility of certainty. The exhibition utilises the structure of the Douglas-Lincoln debate format used in the campaign for the Illinois senate in 1858 contested by Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas.

This proposition has grown out of the pair’s long history of enjoying each other’s practices and wanting to show together, but struggling to find common ground to start from. Put Up Your Dukes! is a standoff in which each artist will state their case and elaborate on their claim to a common territory. In the build-up to this exhibition new works have been developed in a call / response fashion and use the idea of nature as a foil, a subject matter and directive, but the debate itself centres around the artists’ different methodologies.

Sorensen states:

I am interested in the territory in which art abandons good-sense to joyfully embrace the vernacular of the stupid, the obvious, simple, pointless, pleasurable, silly, excessive, lazy, expedient and useless.

Amodeo proposes:

Labour as its own reward / the person who cuts his own firewood warms himself twice / validation through accumulation (being able to cite a big number validates a project) / refer to things obliquely, answer questions with questions.

The artists have considered their works in relation to the time allotments of the debate; the affirmative has the time allotted in four parts, the negative in three. Thus, Sorensen who has taken the affirmative side has four ‘smaller’ works, whereas Amodeo, who has taken the negative, has three ‘larger’ works. The idea of time translating into space is by nature subjective; the concepts of small and large, long and short, differ according to each artist’s practice.

At the beginning of the installation Sorensen will choose the space in the gallery for her affirmative constructive forcing Amodeo to respond both to her work and the spatial decision with her cross-examination. The debate will then unravel through the gallery. Through this process Amodeo and Sorensen will show that to argue doesn’t necessarily mean to disagree, that call / response can be, but isn’t always adversarial, and that while they stake their own territory each artist borrows from, and overlaps, the other.