A Night at the Itch Art Show

Words: Faith Thurnwald
Photos: Gunk
I get an invite to Germ’s first Solo exhibition, Itch, and  I’m itching to go (Whether you have a dad or not, we all love a Dad joke – too bad your Dad doesn’t love you), But enough about me!


Walking into the Itch exhibition is like crawling in through the ear and right into the brain of Brisbane based artist, Germ and let me tell you, it’s wonderful in here! Nestled in Germ’s prefrontal cortex is a cartoon chaos of charismatic caricatures. In the purple hue of Germ’s brain, the entrance of the exhibition is a hazardous hallway of facial features and dismembered extremities: eyeballs dangle from the ceiling, and a gaping mouth tries to bite me while I stumble over gigantic feet. It is evident Germ has gone to extremes, not only does Germ’s art surround you, it walks off the walls onto the ceilings and floor, with huge paper mache sculptures welcoming you to the show.

Itch seems to be the birth child of the polarities that occur in all of us; Germ’s almost grotesquely gore cartoons of gigantic creatures crushing cities and murderous banshee brides, sit in perfect contrast next to sentimental love letters to the artist’s past of framed realism. This is where Germ shows their range; dancing beautifully from one extreme to another.


A stand out for me is Germ’s caricatures, and not simply because they physically stand out: dividing the space in huge paneled brilliance. They’re girl power. They’re fun innocence. They bring back an energy, a breath of fresh air into fighting the patriarchy, don’t you know? Girls just want to have fun! And, of course we do: sipping cocktails, and rummaging through Germ’s goody bags, which are perhaps another homage to childhood innocence. They’re reminiscent of party bags, with lollies which mum ends up not letting you eat and other goodies you might ruin with hands still wet from the pool.

I crawl out Germ’s ear, exiting the exhibition. Navigating the streets of Southbank is fucked because it’s River fire, so I eat a burrito on the side of the road in heels that hurt. But this is meant to come later. It’s not 3am and I haven’t even been to the Valley yet? So I rally. Uber back home. Dance in the kitchen. Change shoes. Back out to the bar.


Out on the streets of the city I meet some weirdos, maybe their Germ’s creatures coming to life? They’re chasing me through the city so I hide behind cigarettes and lies. I’m just a girl.  The creeps can’t catch me, I changed my shoes and I’m unstoppable, Germ’s creatures may chase me but I’m girl power manifested, I’m a caricature with a gun. I’m fun!


I get home and pass out, but before I do, I notice something. An itch. An itch I can’t scratch. Maybe I should go to the Doctor or maybe Germ made me itchy: itching for a life as visceral, as adventurous as the artist’s art itself.