Cover image of the review
Merlin Carpenter, Room Based, installation view, 2021.

Merlin Carpenter, Room Based

10 Jul 2021
Guzzler 26 Jun - 12 Jul 2021

Room Based is Merlin Carpenter’s first Australian solo exhibition at Guzzler, curated by David Homewood, Luke Sands and Alex Vivian out of their Rosanna share house. In their small backyard shed turned meticulously white-walled but still dirt-floored gallery, they have faithfully followed Carpenter’s managerial orders to fill the space with fifteen European-style orange and silver traffic cones purchased out of their own pocket in a five by three symmetrical arrangement.

It’s always a bit of a journey in itself getting to Guzzler. For most people in attendance at Room Based’s opening, it involved organising carpools or catching multiple buses and trains. In my case, it meant nursing a hangover from the Friday night before, hitching a last-minute ride and making a refreshing pitstop at a Rosanna tapas bar for cocktails before arriving at the destination. But since Carpenter’s “network painting” has been rather influential on many of Melbourne’s self-styled enfant terrible artists like Hamishi Farah and Zac Segbedzi, whose work also trolls its own spectators and socio-cultural environs, there was an unusual amount of excited conversations and eager anticipation leading up to the show as something that simply couldn’t be missed.

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