Blue Oyster Art Project Space: 18 June – 13 July 2013
Peace Gallery, Whitecliffe College of Arts and Design: 7 October 2013
Put up your Dukes! is a two part project by Auckland-based artists Gabrielle Amodeo and Jill Sorensen in which the artists debate the pros and cons of their respective stances on art-making. Taking 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 project utilises the structure of the Douglas-Lincoln debate format used in the campaign for the Illinois senate in 1858 between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas.
Put Up Your Dukes! is a standoff in which each artist states their case and elaborates on their claim to a common territory. Over the duration of the project 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.
Put up your Dukes! Was initiated for, and developed in conversation with, Blue Oyster Art Project Space. In response to the oppositional nature of the projects the artists decided to each produce a book by which to navigate the installation. These two books have been remade as an edition of 100, to sit alongside the more conventional catalogue, which contains an essay by Franky Strachan and provides an overview of the project. This last book was generated over the duration of the exhibition and presented, along with a performance and a debate, at the closing of the exhibition.
Part two of the project arose out of the many alternative paths not pursued and rejoinders not voiced in the Blue Oyster Show. So where the first project adhered closely to the structure of the debate format, Part Two is more of a free-for-all, a cacophony of differing opinions, vernaculars and volumes. The three books play a central role in this exhibition, serving the duel purposes of providing background to the wider project while at the same time engendering a cryptic mis-navigation of the work presented. The navigational guide becomes an aid in losing ones way in an untidy thicket of art.