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Are YOU Being Served

ANCA Gallery, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2007


All works copyright the Artist 1999-2007.

Are YOU Being Served?

An exhibition of projects produced from 1999 – 2007.

Melbourne photo media artist Pam Kleemann serves up 4 photographic installations representing the last ten years of her work. This exhibition focuses on her interest in, and concern for the human body as a commercialised, commodified and fetishised object. Humour, irony and social commentary are cleverly embedded in the work.

Cooked features a long banquet table seemingly prepared for a feast, with a blood red tablecloth and serving up an arrangement of cooking implements. But, on closer inspection these exquisite platters and pots offer a banquet with a difference. One finds a banquet of body parts laid out as rich baroque tableaux. Kleemann offers up fingers and toes, hands and feet, chests and torsos, breasts and strange bulging bits, putting a new spin on the old adage ''you are what you eat''.

Hairball Cafe features a sumptuous and surreal café style suite of table settings. On each table is a plate serving a hair meal. A hairy tablecloth covers each table, and a hairy napkin is placed ready for mopping up. There are no chairs or diners, just a presence and absence. When the body is gone, hair is a leftover, that which is remaining, like food uneaten at a meal. Although what is served up here looks very enticing, it is indigestible. These meals are offered as a metaphor for all that is unpalatable in the world. Food for thought that is hard to swallow.

Bare Essentials is a stunning display of fashion accessories. One would expect these objects to be made from animal skin, but there is a macabre twist. They are photographs of human skin constructed into handbags, briefcases, wallets, backpacks, bum-bags, fez style 'thinking caps' and more.

Breastplates evolved from Kleemann's personal experience with breast cancer. She serves her breasts to the public on cake stands, complete with clear acrylic breast-shaped food covers. Clinical and surgical, feminine and sexy. Rubber breast balls 'stress relievers', are piled high in the style of a profiterole wedding cake, and a silver tray of MarTiTis is offered as pre or after dinner drinks. The titles play with words and evoke the magic of Alice In Wonderland.