Im pretty happy I came across this video work, as it seems impossible to find it, or any of hes earlier works that I’ve since researched on the internet!
‘Prime Beef Export Quality’ 1999, is a durational performance work by Australian artist Tony Schwensen. Shown as part of Arts Project Australia’s ‘Let Dance’ exhibition in May 2017.
The video shows the artist wearing casual grey shorts and golden nipple tassels, dancing on the spot and moving his hips left to right, whilst grinning at the camera. He appears to be dancing in a make shift set up in a garage, with speakers, a stereo and disco lights.
He uses satire to express vulnerability, and the banal in the everyday. I guess I liked this because it was unexpected, it felt like a secret revealed, something intimate. I felt I could connect to it on a personal level, because who doesn’t like doing a silly dance every now and then!
This exhibition also featured Cate Consadine’s ‘Cut Colony I (whip), from 2012. Which sees a nude female dancer, performing whips or fouette’s in outback Australia. This appears in stark contrast to Schwensen’s video. The dancer owns the space, with her confident demeanour and intentional movements. I liked the contrast of these two works, but appreciated Schwensen’s rawness, over Consadine’s beauty.
Read about the history of Media Art in Australia since the 1960’s on Scanlines
Main image from the Micheal Buxton Collection