Melbourne-born artist David Cross is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Fine Arts at Massey University, Wellington. His work mixes play and perversity, the convivial and the creepy, the beautiful and the grotesque.
In Closer (2005), a series of four photos, the artist’s eyes peer back from behind multicoloured Halloween masks. Cross plays off cartoon-style horror—represented by the masks—against his own body, which he says has ‘an element of real horror about it’. He is interested in what happens when these two forms of ‘horror’ are brought together.
A three-channel video presents the artist’s own ‘flawed’, 'unpreferred' body alongside the preferred bodies of male models.
Bounce—a large inflatable children’s play structure—is installed in the Gallery foyer for just one day. The audience interacts with it over a seven-hour period. It’s apparent innocence evaporates when participants discover eye holes on top, through which they can see the artist staring back. He's trapped or lurking within.
Cindy Baker explains: ‘… hill-like, it presents a challenge to those interacting with it. In order to reach the summit, one must make a concerted effort to climb its smooth, steep surface. It is only upon reaching the top that the audience might discover the work’s secret, and that they are implicated in the artist’s physical discomfort, perhaps even pain.’
Cross says: ‘At a crucial point the audience response will change, as they fully understand what is actually taking place within the work. That shift in their response from humour into shock or seriousness is what I’m interested in.’