Michael Lindeman’s An Awkward Dance is a complex exploration into his own identity, a burrowing into the realm of institutional critique, and an exercise in bypassing culturally sanctioned principles. An Awkward Dance is a presentation of paintings, drawings and sculpture that invert structures of power and authority with wit and sarcasm. Lindeman is compelled to make art that entertains himself, art that does something other than sitting on its arse in a gallery space. His conceptual practice calls for a dynamic engagement from the viewer by way of a shared experience.
The central installation of paintings titled Implicit Memory System highlights Lindeman’s disposition towards authority. Activated by an animated, satirical ‘Poo’ font, this collection of text paintings calls-out various individuals associated with an inflated sense of authority. Masking the implied stench, a grid of colourful air fresheners extends over the entire gallery wall – blanketing the exhibition space with a cock- tail of subtle, fresh fragrances.
Lindeman’s wry institutional critique is continued throughout his exhibition with a suite of drawings that replicate ‘Obituary Notices’, ‘Missing’ and ‘Seeking Same’ classifieds. The comical yet critical drawings in the series announce the passing of various art movements and other absurd considerations of the art world.In the large text-based sculpture titled and forming the word Thanks, Lindeman focuses on the repackaging of bad debt. Crafted from clear vinyl material hand cut into a disquieting, deflating three-dimensional font, the sculpture is filled with crumpled copies of rejection letters that Lindeman has collected for the past twenty years. Anxiety ridden and with a confessional bent, Thanks proposes the idea of failure as a possible artistic strategy, while splitting open the art worlds system of inclusion and exclusion.
The final offering in Lindeman’s presentation An Awkward Dance, is a humorous parody of an anatomical diagram titled Midlife Report Card (Selfie). A 1:1 scaled painted version of the artists’ body, this radical self-portrait continues his interest in pushing at the edges of the field. Through Midlife Report Card (Selfie) Lindeman confronts his position as an artist, and more broadly his place in the world both physically and intellectually.
Michael Lindeman’s exhibition An Awkward Dance sets out to activate repressed impulses, embody alienation, disrupt convention and invert structures of power with a certain self-deprecating humour. In direct contrast to the notion of artist as genius, Lindeman’s wilful idiocy goes out on a limb, he risks his neck to propose a body of works that are a mismatch with any current fashionable aesthetics, it is an awkward dance.