Review / ‘Have You Seen the Listers?’ (M) *** and a half

ON completion, a creative work in whatever medium – painting, writing, hewing stone, composing concertos, working with fibre or metal, the list goes on – must sink or swim not necessarily on its merits but certainly on how its consumers judge it.

Much never emerges into public view because, having toiled on it, the artist is dissatisfied. The artist may some day revisit it – some of history’s most enduring creations have experienced that treatment, for which let us be thankful.

I offer this brief homily about the relationship between artist and consumer because the common element in the relationship is taste. I review films which I find distasteful. You, dear reader, are free to disagree with what I write about films that I consider meritorious but you don’t.

A case in point is Eddie Martin’s feature-length documentary about Anthony ListeR. Is Anthony an artist or merely a painter? Those two classifications are not synonymous. Collectors here and overseas obviously regard his work as worth putting significant money down to get a piece of. People have published books about him and his work. He must have slipped my attention. Martin’s film has rammed Anthony ListeR into my brain. He’s not easy to ignore once you’ve seen his work.

Martin pulls no punches in his observations of the artist – life, persona and work. He’s a Brisbane boy who despises Brisbane yet keeps returning there. He has sired three lovely kids with his wife Anika, now divorced. He radiates energy. He indulges his senses with substances that if not illegal are dangerous. He is a man of few words, many unprintable in a family newspaper.

Watching him at work is a breathtaking experience, putting lines and spaces to work that seem not to follow a plan yet become designs that say things that, while perhaps not needing to be said, are not easy to ignore or overlook.

It’s my and my wife’s good fortune to live among a small but choice collection of original artwork. I have no regret that none of them is by Anthony ListeR. He is at heart a street artist, producing images and designs best appreciated from a distance in an open space. The film spends much time watching him making images that have something to say. Are they art? Graffiti? Disfigurations of public spaces or large wall areas? Is their message worth knowing? Brisbane City Council spent a lot of money rolling paint over them.

And everything he puts on public view is signed in block letters beginning and finishing with a capital. Just like in this review.

At Palace Electric

 

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