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This piece was commissioned in 2013 by Artbank, (an organization which promotes, collects and rents out the work of living Australian artists).


I was invited to research some of Artbank’s collection and then over five hours playfully respond to ten of the artworks by documenting them in the public.


My writing about the experience, as well as the accompanying photographs, were then published in issue one of Artbank’s book Sturgeon, launched in December of 2013.


But in addition to seeing it in issue one of Sturgeon, thanks to Artbank you can also read the piece right here on my website. Hope you like it.

























                                10 Artworks, 5 Hours.

                                by Kenny Pittock. 2013.

Hey, nice to meet you. My name’s Kenny Pittock, I’m a 25 year old Melbourne artist. Hi.


If you asked me to describe my art I guess I’d say that it plays with linguistics, humor, sentimentality and Australian iconography, and I think what I’m interested in are the crossovers and contradictions between the public and the personal.


One of the main things I do is make sculptures and paintings of contemporary objects, but also a big part of my practice is documenting those works within their typical context.


So ok, one example of what I mean would be last year when I made a painting and then installed it on the outside wall of my local bank.





















Not necessarily for art, just for fun. I also like to try this with other people’s work. For instance last month I installed a painting by my friend and mentor Lisa Radford onto the front of a train seat while I was taking it to a gallery.

























I guess because of photos like these, yesterday I was given the amazing opportunity to have a look through the Melbourne Artbank collection store, and respond to a selection of works.

Not only that, but I was also provided with both a photographer and a two person art handling crew. A bit of a change from just doing it all myself.


My goal was to try and document ten artworks in five hours.


Choosing the ten works was really hard. The Artbank collection has so much great stuff. To help make choosing a bit easier I limited my selection to Melbourne artists.


The first works I chose were The Kiss Part 1 and 4 by Anastasia Klose.




























The Kiss is a series of photographs depicting the artist kissing a man in front of a handwritten sign that reads FREE KISSES. MAN, WOMAN, CHILD, AND DOG. ALL WELCOME. The sign also explains that the kisses will be photographed by Klose's mum.


I'm a big fan of Anastasia Klose and when I saw that Artbank had The Kiss in their collection I joked that I should probably kiss her in front of it. The next day I had an email from Artbank explaining that they'd contacted Klose and that she'd agreed to come in on the day at 9.30am for the proposed kiss.


I'd never met Anastasia Klose and I was nervous.


Despite my nerves I figured that if I was going to do this then I should do it right, so I arranged for my mum to also come to Artbank at 9.30am. I didn't explain to mum why I wanted her there until after she'd arrived.


But so ok, it happened, here's a photo of me kissing Anastasia Klose in front of her work, taken by my mum.




































It was a weird situation, but it went much more smoothly than my first kisses usually go. I should get Artbank to organise all my future make out sessions.


Having had my kiss, and because the handwritten sign in Klose’s work specifically welcomes dogs, I brought out Perri, my Maltese cross Shih Tzu.


So if you don’t want to see it then Klose your eyes now, but here's a photo taken by my mum of Anastasia Klose giving my pooch a smooch.





















Puppy love.


Now that Perri and I had had our Klose encounters it was time to sink my teeth into nine other artworks. Having built up a hard earned thirst, the next work I chose was a painting of a can of Victoria Bitter by Adam Pyett.























For this photograph I basically just sat on the ground outside a bottle shop as my Expert-Professional-Art-Handling-Crew strutted the painting past me.


I put on a singlet and beanie, opened a can and lit a cigarette. I don't usually smoke but I happily did for this photograph. It was pretty early for a beer, but you know, you have to suffer for your art.




































The Pyett is such a great painting and, unlike most things associated with VB, it looked even better in natural light.


Unfortunately the ratio settings in our camera kept changing dimensions and so some of these photos are square instead of rectangle. I feel like I should point that out, unless of course you think it’s hip that some of the photos look cropped like Instagram, in which case sure, I did it on purpose.


I think the composition of this next photo however actually does benefit from being square. The piece I was documenting was On Holiday, a photograph by the haunting visual artist and musician, Darren Sylvester.




















There's something otherworldly about On Holiday. It's undeniably seductive, but it's also completely artificial and the more I really think about it the more it just really creeps me out. A bit like porn.


I’d love to take On Holiday onto an actual plane, but I figured the next best thing was to take it into a travel agent.


So here I am in Flight Centre, discussing the prices of flying to Perth while my Expert-Professional-Art-Handling-Crew holds up the very heavy Darren Sylvester photograph behind me.




































Anyway, after a morning of kissing and drinking and smoking I felt like I needed some culture and everybody knows that when a person needs culture they don't go on holiday, they watch a movie.


With this in mind, the next work I chose is titled Film Noir, a stunning work by Victoria Reichelt, an incredible painter who won the 2013 Sulman Prize.


(Now I know I said that I was only documenting Melbourne artists, and Reichelt lives in Queensland, but I think it's ok because her first name is Victoria).


I took Film Noir into a Blockbuster video shop where I then posed for this cinematic photograph.




































I was trying my hardest to look tough in front of a kid by pretending to pick a movie from the horror section, but really it's just for show, I would never look in the horror section. Scary movies scare me and I'll probably have nightmares for weeks just from reading the titles in that section.


One movie I might hire though is everyone’s favorite 1995 Pixar classic, Toy Story, which amazingly, the Blockbuster near Artbank still has on VHS.




























Mentioning Toy Story is my perfect segue into the next artwork: a killer sculpture of a large melted toy solider by Marcel Cousins.
























I bought a magnifying glass and my plan for the photo was to pretend to melt the sculpture, just like Sid, the baddie next-door neighbor from Toy Story.


Because I was gonna be like Sid, I painted the same skull on my t-shirt and brought along my Buzz Lightyear action figure.


So here's me, as Sid, pretending to burn a hole in the forehead of Marcel Cousins’s work Moments in Time #2




























I only held the magnifying glass for a few seconds so that I didn’t actually melt the sculpture.


The day before the shoot I practiced on one of my toys. I'd never had a magnifying glass before and didn't realize how easy it is. I thought it only happened in cartoons. I'm gonna melt stuff all the time now.


Before I could do anymore melting though I had to solider on to the next work, Pig Study, by Greg Creek. 


Pig Study is so good, it's nearly impossible to look at the painting without smiling.


Here's a study I made of pig study.































And here's Pig Study at the deli in a supermarket in St. Kilda, where Creek used to live.


























All this pig handling made me hungry and so whilst trotting to the next location I sniffed out a bakery and bought an unusually sloppy steak and bacon pie. 


After pigging out on the pie I rubbed my saucy hands clean with what I thought was a tissue. It wasn't until it was much too late that I realized I'd actually used one of my art handling gloves.




























I guess I'm just not used to carrying art handling gloves. I got really embarrassed and stuffed the evidence into my back pocket before anyone could see.


I went back to the car though and got myself a new pair from the glove box as the next work I chose was a painting on paper titled Demo Space, by Melbourne Art Royalty Howard Arkley.

























Not many Melbourne artists have their work reproduced more than Howard Arkley. Surrounding the Melbourne Artbank office is about ten of those high-end shops that sell frames and reproduction prints. In just about every one of them you can buy a Howard Arkley print.


For this photo I picked a print shop that had three Howard Arkley reproductions hung in a row and in front of them I leant the real Howard Arkley painting.


A "Will the real Howard Arkley please stand up" kind of situation.

























It's a pretty simple idea but I think this might be my favorite photo from yesterday, mainly because I love Howard Arkley and without Artbank I can't imagine ever having the opportunity to have done this.


The next photograph I also would never have been to take is of this painting by Colin Parker of the Yarra River, taken of course at the Yarra River.



























It was pretty exciting to compare the painting with the real thing. It was also nice to combine Artbank with the riverbank. My two favorite banks (except for Commonwealth obviously, you know, because they have my money).


At this point I only had two photos to go. The day was going swimmingly and so to finish things off I decided to do a little swimming myself.


The work I was getting in the water for was a watercolor painting by Ben Taylor. I think it might be my favorite artwork in the Artbank collection. 


















(I've since learnt that Ben Taylor isn’t a Melbourne artist. Apparently Taylor is an artist based in some place called Canberra, although if you ask me Canberra sounds made up).


We took the painting to St. Kilda beach and as my Expert-Professional-Art-Handling-Crew walked the painting along the pier, I dived into the freezing water and swam along beside it.

























After I’d gotten out of the water I took advantage of the size of the Ben Taylor painting by getting changed behind it.


























Once dry, we headed back to the Artbank headquarters and with one work to go we hung Fall of the Good Modernist, a breathtaking painting by the iconic Jon Cattapan.


I’d had such a fun morning and the day had really cattapanned out well, but even still the whole time I’d been looking forward to taking this photo more than any other.


So ok, as the grand finale, and possibly one of the highlights of my career, here’s me, standing in front of a Cattapan, while holding a cat, in a pan.





































And so there you go, it turns out putting a cat in a pan isn’t only the purrfect way to prepare delicious gourmet dim sims, but sometimes it can also be the pawfect way to respond to art.














Kenny Pittock gratefully acknowledges the assistance of Artbank, Cherie Peele, Daniel Mudie Cunningham, Mark Chapman (the removalist, not the Mark Chapman who killed John Lennon), Mum, Anastasia Klose, Perri the dog and Lola the cat.