Review: Worktable

Published on February 22, 2019
Categories - Blog, Event Review, Read About

I am hesitant to reveal too much about New Zealand born, Brussels based artist Kate McIntosh’s live installation Worktable. I want to tell you to just go for it, commit, buy a ticket and live the joy for yourself, no questions asked. If that’s enough, stop reading and go book your place here. If you need more convincing, read on.

Produced by SPIN (Belgium) and presented by Perth Festival, Worktable is an experience. On arrival you’re invited to choose an object, and when it’s your turn, you enter three different rooms and follow the simple instructions. It’s a creative experience that yields no wrong answer.

Room one is all about destruction. Safety equipment and tools are provided, so you’d do well not to choose an object you’re attached to. Or do: Worktable gives rise to a range of emotions, and the feeling you get destroying something you have an emotional connection to is an interesting one. The objects have been chosen with this in mind. Curator Pascal Proteau was given the immense responsibility of selecting the library of items within guidelines set by artist and devisor McIntosh. I opted for a Polaroid camera, and making that first hit with a mallet was a challenge, but any misgivings soon made way for curiosity as I discovered the inner workings of a tool I frequently use.

Destruction is unsupervised. You can follow the instructions whatever way you choose, and spend as long or as little time as you like in each room. The extent to and manner in which you destroy your item is up to you, and what’s so great about Worktable is that the installation has its effect no matter what you do. For me, once I got started I had to explore every far recess of that plastic box and discover every spring, copper wire, cog, mirror and lens.

Room two is all about creation, though fortunately no creative talents are required. I won’t say too much about this process but the time spent in here filled me with a childlike joy.

And then room three, the room you pass through before leaving. Room three was an absolute delight. Exploring the ways different individuals took things apart and put things together was such a treat. A deck of cards with the centre heart worn away with sandpaper, a ceramic cat kept together by a rainbow of tightly wound twine, every object garners a different emotional response.

Worktable is a fascinating study of what objects mean and what we throw away. It’s about connection, collaboration and creation. It explores ideas of loss, it offers agency, it encourages you to slow down and above all it is a load of fun.

Enjoy Worktable for yourself at Gallery Central, Northbridge, until 3 March. Book your place here.


Claire Trolio

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  • Hey Claire, I love your review, its such a privilege to have a show of this calibre at gallery central and the artist in her wonderful talk explained how the work was devised – as she was moving out of dance, into theatre and beyond, she wanted to create a work with no audience and no performer. Worktable is all of that and more!

    by thelma on February 27, 2019 at 11:41 am

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