15 June 2008
The Bon Scott Project
The Bon Scott Project -
Bon to Rock’n’Roll
Fremantle Arts Centre puts the
spotlight on one of rock’s leading lads
17 MAY - 29 JUNE 2008
Inspired by Australia’s most iconic rock and roller, the Bon Scott Project is a multi-faceted program celebrating and critiquing the life and times of Bon Scott, lead singer and co-lyricist of AC/DC (1974-1980). The exhibition is presented by Fremantle Arts Centre, in the city where Bon grew up and where his grave, now listed by the National Trust, is the most visited in Australia.
The Project sets out to uncover how notions of masculinity, remembrance and rebellion coalesce around the iconic figure of Bon Scott. How these notions play out in relationships forged between Bon, the curator, his fans and the nineteen artists in the spaces of the gallery, the street and the web are
The Project is led by three works which have the capacity to stimulate interest in the question of public art. Lucas Ihlein was commissioned to write a blog, http://www.bonscottblog.com , for the public sphere of the World Wide Web that records his experience as a non-fan coming to know Bon through the eyes and ears of the fans. Ihlein is also curating the LED welcome sign situated on the main road into Fremantle. Bon’s lyrics and messages from fans are being transmitted during the exhibitions and shown on the blog. Bevan Honey’s Apparition sees Bon’s face stencilled onto the southern pylon of the Stirling Highway Bridge, appearing only sporadically depending on the time of day and the atmospheric conditions. For those missing Bon, self-described professional mourner Tanya Visosevic (Madam TV) is also on hand to connect callers to Bon whom she channels in a live videophone performance.
A group show of sixteen artists across the Centre’s five galleries presents new works by artists who are fans and non-fans alike. Notable inclusions are Stuart Bailey (NSW), who has created a bootleg merchandise stand designed to cash in on the profile of the newly bronzed Bon Scott memorial statue; Richard Lewer (VIC), whose charcoal wall drawing of AC/DC members mingling with church figures references his strict Catholic upbringing; Ian Haig (VIC) whose animation recreates his excitement as an eleven year old seeing AC/DC perform at his local shopping centre; and Guy Benfield (New York) whose video characterises the artist as a quixotic figure for whom ‘it is a long way to the top if you want to rock ‘n’ roll’.
These works and many more are framed by the first curated exhibition of Bon Scott’s letters, compiled by curator Katie Dyer; a panel discussion on the unlikely topic of The Ugly/Sexy Factor: Bon and Fashion; and the creation of two bands - a house tribute band, FAC/DC, with its line-up drawn from notable Western Australian acts, and the hit-interpreting Dolomiten Polka Band.
The Project’s eclectic structure is a reflection of Fremantle Arts Centre’s multi-arts role and its increasing desire for local resonance and international reach. The Project is unashamedly framed by the interests of the Centre’s staff, who have jointly developed a generative programming methodology which seeks to value uncertainty, rigour and participation. A first for Australia and indeed the world, the Bon Scott Project opens up a far-reaching conversation between fans, artists and the community and unites them through the power of rock‘n’roll!
The Bon Scott Project is made possible through the support of the Western Australian Department of Culture and the Arts, the Australia Council for the Arts, and the Gordon Darling Foundation.