CHRIS THURMAN: Art of showing authority two (paint-stained) fingers
South African artist Candice Breitz’s exhibition is hardly chain-yourself-to-the-gates stuff, but it is a demonstration of conviction, however modest the gesture may be
South African artist Candice Breitz, whose work is being exhibited at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, has chosen to protest against the mistreatment of refugees in Australia’s immigration detention centres by insisting that her multichannel video installation, Love Story, be renamed Wilson Must Go – a reference to Wilson Security, which has contracts to protect the gallery and to enact Australian state violence on asylum seekers. This is hardly chain-yourself-to-the-gates stuff, but it is a demonstration of conviction, however modest the gesture may be. Artists have a public platform and it is only appropriate to use this platform to oppose forms of injustice. A few years ago, photographer David Goldblatt turned down the Order of Ikhamanga because he objected to the passage of the Protection of State Information bill. Again, this was protest in a minor key; Goldblatt has been more vociferous over the years on other topics, and as a visual documenter of apartheid and p...