For the first time in Australia, artist Natascha Stellmach will host Agent Provocateur at Anna Pappas Gallery, a project inviting visitors to engage in a personal pen tattoo experience for one night only. This work builds on the scandal around her recent major project with the ashes of Kurt Cobain and critiques the role of contemporary art in society. Since Duchamp’s Pissoir, the nature of art has provoked discourse amongst the critics and public.
Agent Provocateur is informed by her solo exhibition at Perth Institute of Contemporary Art in 2010 and PULSE Contemporary Art Fair, Miami in December 2011. Visitors were invited to choose one of the notorious responses to Stellmach’s project, debating “art”, to be tattooed temporarily onto their skin by the artist. In this way the visitor is transformed into an agent provocateur for a night, questioning the merits, ethics and parameters of contemporary art. The tattoos become both a fashion accessory – with Stellmach tattooing to complement “the evening’s antics and outfit”– as well as a ‘rebrand’ of the author’s initial, often highly-charged sentiment to endorse Stellmach’s project and role as an artist. In Miami, people of all ages queued to have their own temporary text-based tattoo, lasting between one to three days.