As Seen on TV

Will Coles isn't a household name just yet but many Sydney-siders are already familiar with his work, whether they realise it or not. Will has been sneaking around in the dead of night, placing his eponymous concrete television sets and remote controls around the streets of Sydney for the best part of the last decade, so I must admit I barely flinched when I noticed a new addition in my very own 'hood.

Will is somewhat of an infamous figure in Sydney art circles, and is possibly most renowned for his unofficial additions to the prestigious Sculptures by the Sea exhibition back in 2005. After his official exhibition pitch was knocked back, Will decided to make lemonade from the proverbial lemons. He cast a new series of concrete televisions inscribed with the word 'reject'd', and covertly installed four throughout the exhibition.

Will's efforts were foiled by clued in security guards and lasted little more than 24 hours, but headlines soon followed.

His 'silence' series has gone on to be widely published, with the sneaky little television sets popping up everywhere from train stations to the steps of the Sydney Opera House.

Not one to shy away from controversy, Will went on to ruffle a few feathers when he openly declared that his art was unashamedly taking the p**s out of the Australian art crowd, who he thinks runs the risk of becoming little more than a humourless, back-patting exercise in champagne consumption.

And what better way to get the point across than a concrete television set that begs the question " it art?"

Will's subject matter is fairly straightforward but thought provoking nonetheless. In his own words, he's exploring "the death of art, culture and pure creative pursuit", and while this all sounds a bit dramatic, his original pitch to the Sculptures by the Sea included a telling, insightful proposal - a television engraved with the words "seeing more but feeling less". He may be on to something.

Despite the heavy-hitting social commentary, Will maintains that his distinctive brand of readily accessible sculpture is largely his way of telling the art crowd to lighten up, and he's taking the message to the streets. More concrete remote controls, televisions (including new flatscreen models) and cell phones continue to appear around Sydney, many of them concentrated in the inner western Sydney suburb of Newtown, but it seems that Will is keen to spread the word far and wide, with my very own steps now adorned with an 'Isolation' remote control. And I'm in on the joke.

More at Will Coles.


Anonymous said...

Near Genius. I like the originality of it.