Temple. Funhouse. Mega church.

Victorian visual artist Paul Yore uses a lot of evocative words to describe Seeing is believing, but feeling is the truth, a big six- by six- by five-metre installation he’s building specifically for Rising. (For visualisation purposes, that’s roughly four standard shipping containers, stacked two wide and two high.) “My idea, usually, with installation works is that people feel very immersed,” he says.

Yore has plenty of experience showing his garish, kitschy, collage-like works at this scale. But only indoors, working with fragile media such as coloured paper, cardboard tubes and knitted wool. “I like to make the work wondrous and whimsical, but then there’s this nauseating element,” he says. “It’s teetering on the edge of sickly sweet.” Seeing is believing, but feeling is the truth, on the other hand, will act as the centrepiece at Golden Square rooftop, sitting outdoors for two weeks and likely being rained on. And one of the first discussions he had with the festival was about how much weight the rooftop can bear. “It’s an exciting challenge,” says Yore, who’s employing prefabricated trusses, neon tube lighting and mirrors to create an almost architectural piece that visitors can walk into and around. How he’ll use these new materials to convey his usual ideas remains to be seen, in person.

Yore’s work often deals with themes such as sexuality, homophobia, consumerism, late capitalism and celebrity worship, drawing on his own experience as a gay man. Always, it’s through a kitschy yet cutting lens.

In 2019 his collage Taste The Feeling was pulled from a gallery in Wales after a misguided visitor accused it of “spew[ing] homophobic hatred”. The work put common anti-LGBTQ slogans like “God hates fags” and “Gays doom nations” next to the faces of conservative figures including Gina Rinehart and Tony Abbott.

While this new work is unlikely to feature such literal messaging, it won’t be without meaning, responding directly to the car park as a “utilitarian commercial space” and referencing the visual qualities of “an abandoned fast-food restaurant”. Golden Square has a different aspect to the blank slate that is traditional art galleries, Yore stresses, and he wants to address this – even if it means creating a bigger hill to climb.“Working with such a large piece in a public space, the line between being an artist and a creative and then actually having to think about engineering specs, it’s ... interesting,” he says with a wry laugh.

Inside, visitors will be able to view (and potentially buy) one of 10 limited-edition $1100 neck- laces created with Melbourne jewellery designer Seb Brown. True to Yore’s provocative history, the threaded pearl piece features two glass mush- rooms and a sterling silver cock with inset gems.

Seeing is believing, but feeling is the truth, is on show from the 1–12 June at Golden Square Rooftop, 217 Lonsdale Street. Tickets are $24.

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