Jodie Whalen’s performances are structured around ideas of everyday endurance. Incorporating banal activities taken to fanatical extremes, they invite us to consider notions of physical and psychological finish lines; success and failure; obsession and self-belief. Whalen’s current projects are informed by her employment as an art gallery attendant and educator. They explore how this job interacts with her role as an artist and test people’s expectations of what it is that artists actually do. Interested in the tension her presence can generate in the gallery and the confusion that can arise in terms of her identity, Whalen stages Day Job / After Work Drinks (2013) in a provisional office environment set up inside the MCA. Greeting visitors as they enter the gallery and talking to them about her work, Whalen’s act of ‘shameless self-promotion’ evolves into a test of stamina and commitment, as she adheres to a set of unstated rules dictating her behaviour over an 11-hour period.1
Jodie Whalen (b. 1983) lives and works in Sydney. Recent exhibitions include Onside, Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, 2013; The Social, Campbelltown Arts Centre, 2013; I’m Worth My Weight In Gold, Firstdraft Gallery, Sydney, 2012; Day Job, SafARI, Sydney 2012; SIXTY KILOGRAMS, MOP Projects, Sydney, 2011; Yes I Can/ No Can Do, Blacktown Arts Centre, 2011; The Churchie National Emerging Art Prize, Griffith University Art Gallery, Brisbane, 2011; I’m just Your Girlfriend – I’m a Liar, Gaffa, Sydney, 2011.
1. Artist’s statement 2013
Jodie Whalen, I Love You. I Do. 2011, performance, Damien Minton Annex, Sydney, 2011, image courtesy and © the artist, photograph: David Capra
During each Workout performance Brain Fuata performs Reading instructions now, transcribing his own texts and those gleaned from his co-participants as ‘a way of responding, documenting and re-performing what is enacted during the week’. He invites the other Workout artists to read his presence in the gallery, and their relationship to it.