September 14 – October 20, 2013.
Latrobe University Visual Arts Centre Bendigo, Australia.
Opened by Kelly Gellatly, Director Ian Potter Museum of Art Melbourne.
[Featuring an encore performance of Romitelli’s Trash TV Trance by Mauricio Carrasco]
In 2008, Natascha Stellmach sent out an international call, inviting six volunteers to join her in smoking the ashes of the dead rock star, Kurt Cobain, in a private, undocumented ritual. Immediately hype, hysteria and intrigue spread across 58 countries, while the online world erupted with the news. Hundreds of unsolicited comments such as, ‘I hope you die of the worst kind of cancer after watching your entire family die in a car fire,’ (Eric, from Canada) and ‘It would truly hurt me if you are doing this only for art and not for Kurt,’ (Sabrina, from Germany) were sent to the artist. The public’s responses of anger, confusion and admiration, spurred the artist on to further examine what this invitation meant both to the public and herself.
If the smoking of the ashes was the final act, then Complete Burning Away is the epilogue. In this solo exhibition and suite of works, Stellmach interrogates the public ownership of celebrities while critiquing the role of the artist, the media and contemporary art in society. More than that, it is a reflection on suicide, tragedy and commemoration. (more)
Six of the ten works in Complete Burning Away have been chosen for this exhibition, including the intimate video work, Who will smoke the ashes of Kurt Cobain?– candid monologues of the six volunteers who answered the call to smoke the remains with the artist; a site specific ceiling-to-floor text painting, Whatever Happened To Painting?’ spanning the entire VAC foyer, and the small silver case that once held the infamous joint, Gone.
PRESS & ESSAYS
Bendigo Weekly | Stellmach’s Dramatic Impact – Review
Lip Magazine | Review by Audrey Hulm
Troublemag | Gone – Video Interview by Steve & Melissa Proposch
Marcus Canning | Complete Burning Away – PICA speech
Complete Burning Away | PICA catalogue 2010 – Essay by Aaron Moulton
See WORKS for more information.