Stuart Ringholt’s work addresses our mental health, particularly our fear of embarrassment. In 2006, the Melbourne artist published Hashish Psychosis, an autobiographical tell-all account of his drug-fuelled breakdown and recovery. In performances, he has placed himself in embarrassing situations, making us confront our own fear of embarrassment by proxy. He has led gallery tours in the nude, where the audience is also required to be undressed. And he has conducted in-gallery anger-management workshops and emotion-purging exercises.
In his video-performance, William Street, Ringholt rides up and down in a lift, as others get on and off. When he is alone, he makes a frightening, purgative groan, returning to normal when others, oblivious of what he’s just done, climb aboard. Ringholt also makes collages. Many of these involve replacing or displacing facial features, or placing someone’s head onto someone else’s body. Funny but creepy, the collages suggest psychic dislocation or dysfunction on the part of both their subjects and the viewer: not seeing yourself properly, not seeing others properly. Stuart Ringholt is represented by Milani Gallery, Brisbane.