The Man with Two FacesQuoting the Collaborative Hand of Howard Arkley and Juan Davilaby Georgia Jones
This paper examines the historical narrative of Howard Arkley and Juan Davila’s collaborative art practice from 1984 to 1999. It is structured chronologically, to highlight a transformation in the duo’s combined processes—the transition from decidedly tense forms of delineated authorship towards a merged, copycat aesthetic. I draw heavily on Charles Green’s theory of the ‘third hand’ to define an alternate model of collaborative authorship, one which extends Green’s considerations. This paper proposes that Arkley and Davila did not operate under the guise of the third hand, but rather through a form of composite authorship, where the authorial traces of the artists are blurred but still infer their own collaborative construction. The paper concludes with the discovery of a drawing, dated and signed by Davila, which I argue is a reference to his collaborative friendship with Arkley and, furthermore, is an indication of their journey towards a composite form.
Georgia Jones completed Honours in Art History at the University of Melbourne in 2012. She is a Curatorial Assistant in Contemporary Art at the National Gallery of Victoria.