With casual humour and mixed mediums, Michael Lindeman is making audiences think.
Most of his work examines personal identity in the wake of artistic commodification. Mixed medium works usually have text as the central subject, prompting audiences to disrupt conventional thinking. Simply, Lindeman asks us what art is and why we view it.
“A lot of the work is informed by experiences from travel, reading, viewing exhibitions, film…,” Lindeman said.
But look at his work and you’ll see it’s not just serious social critique: it’s funny. Lindeman uses humour as an essential ingredient in conversation.
“I think we’re [artists] kind of obligated to be subversive, challenge authority and question what’s happening… We kind of act as a touchstone for the wider community. Humour can be an entry point,” he said.
The upcoming Art Habits exhibition has four bodies of work designed to give a laugh (after we’ve considered our social compass, of course).
In one, all of Lindeman’s rejection letters are covered in vinyl, moulded to the shape of migrantry gang signs from after the US civil war. They symbolised vital communications amongst travellers.
“I just thought it would be a really interesting way of appropriating these symbols for my own needs… to create a visual language,” Lindeman said.
The piece is an homage to Lindeman’s experiences as an artist.
“For me it’s about creating work and being kind, generous, and funny. [It’s] poking fun at people, but also poking fun at myself. There’s a lot of self-deprecating humour in the work as well… It’s about connecting and being open.”