2018 Installation Contemporary
Call me by my name, 2018
Manual embroidery made with the assistance of DGTMB Studio
Yavuz Gallery, Singapore
Abdul Abdullah’s installation Call me by my name featured several embroideries hung in a circle at face height. In these embroideries, young people each look out at the viewer from behind the superficially qualifying symbol of a smiley-face. The contrasting smiley-face icon and the figure lurking behind suggest a façade of joy, shielding the viewer from a deeper, more ominous truth concealed within the stoic sitter. It is used by the artist as a way to reflect the contemporary use of the emoji as a reductive form of written language, as hieroglyphs that rely on particular cultural understandings that can be cynical and dismissive.
In Call me by my name the emoji acts as both a shield and a cover from charges of generational failure, and by hanging at face height the installation positions itself as a direct request for civility and respect. It asks the audience to afford others the specificity and complexity in judgement that they afford themselves.
Acrylic on board
160 x 300 cm
Galerie pompom, Sydney
Ron Adams’ large multi-panel works command attention through their use of arresting text quotations whose bold, uppercase type often fits neatly together like a puzzle. The works are autobiographical and formed out of personal experiences and influences. A large majority of the text Adams uses is borrowed from the 80s English pop band The Smiths, who played an enormous role in his life during this period.
Adams’ large text installation Choices declares: ‘I am the son and heir of nothing in particular,’ referencing The Smiths’ 1984 song How Soon is Now?, as well as an earlier iteration of this text work, exhibited in Our Lucky Country (still different) at Hazelhurst Regional Gallery in 2007. Naomi Evans wrote of the work’s ‘observation that we are of a time where the past no longer promises a grand inheritance.’ These words haunt the uncertain territory of the arts in Australia today. But they also speak to opportunity, ‘the fact that not one thing defines us, that we are a composite of parts, not one leading above the others.’
Rainbow across the world I & II (diptych), 2018
Neon, paper, acrylic paint, canvas, timber and dibond
240 x 160 cm each panel
Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney.
Brook Andrew’s practice harnesses alternate narratives to assemble new directions of understanding historical legacies of colonialism and modernist histories. Andrew’s interdisciplinary practice challenges the limitations imposed by power structures, historical amnesia, stereotyping and complicity. Interweaving Wiradjuri language, collective memory, history and culture with museum intervention, Andrew recreates powerful contemporary images of Indigenous identity.
Rainbow across the world I & II, 2018 (diptych) includes a found archive of African American newspaper clippings and images from his own personal archive and was constructed out of a photography Residency Laureate at the musée du quai Branly, Paris in 2016. Andrew interrogated the vast photographic archive collections, teasing out aspects of who is seen and not seen and the representation of the local, the visitor and the interrogator in these (often difficult) representations of peoples from past colonial times. Through museum and archival interventions and curatorial projects, Andrew aims to make forgotten stories visible and offer alternative choices for interpreting history in the world today.
GIRRINGUN ABORIGINAL ART CENTRE
Bagu of Girringun, 2018
Clay and mixed media
Sabbia Gallery, Sydney
Created by a group of contemporary Indigenous artists from Girringun Aboriginal Art Centre, the Bagu demonstrate the many art forms and materials the artists employ, from the traditional weaving skills they are known for and the ceramic processes that have recently become a major part of the artists’ practice. Traditionally, the firesticks were made up of two timber parts, the Bagu (body) and Jiman (sticks). Bagu is normally made from the boogadilla (milky pine tree) and Jiman are made from mudja (wild guava tree). The imagery on the Bagu is based on traditional patterns and motifs, storylines, the rainforest environment and contemporary culture of the rainforest Aboriginal people of the Girringun region in Far North Queensland, and the artists use clay, string and other materials to evoke the spirit of the old people.
The Girringun Aboriginal Corporation represents the land and sea interests of Traditional Owners of nine tribal groups – the Nywaigi, Gugu-Badhun, Warrgamay, Warungnu, Girramay, Bandjin, Jirrbal, Gulnay and the Djiru people. These tribal groups are the Traditional Owners of the country which covers over 25,000 square kilometres ranging from Rollingstone in the south, Clarke River in the south-west, the Mission Beach area in the north, west to Mt Garnet area and east to include Hinchinbrook and the Family Group Islands in Far North Queensland. The Girringun Aboriginal Art Centre began full time operations in September 2008.
Plywood, ceramic, earthenware
yourheartisahousewiththedoorsleftopen continues Glenn Barkley’s interest in the grotto and the ‘horror vacui’ – fear of empty spaces. The title of the work comes from a poem by Brisbane-based poet Shastra Deo.
The walls were covered in a wallpaper paste-up, the centrepiece of which was a ‘roundel’ composed of hundreds of ceramic tokens. New vessel forms, some of which are based on the poems of Shastra Deo and Eileen Chong, sat on shelves alongside new collaborative works made with Sydney ceramicist Mechelle Bounpraseuth and Melbourne fibre artist Louise Meuwissen. Intense and jewel-box-like, the work has connections to the idea of the ‘wunderkammer’, or cabinet of curiosities. Like the curiosities of the wunderkammer, the organic forms of Barkley’s tokens are often derived from the natural worlds of the garden or the sea. The installation had an element of joy, the sheer abundance of tokens and formal density making it at once both memorable and humbly spectacular.
Black Bounty, 2015
wood model, cotton sale and rigging, colour print, light system
210 x 275 x 80 cm
“The Bounty was chartered by the British Admiralty to collect bread- fruit trees in Tahiti. When tensions on the ship rose, one of the crew, Fletcher Christian, along with other disaffected crewmen, seized control of the Bounty, tricked Tahitian men and women into boarding the ship and set sail for Pitcairn Island. After disembarking, they burnt the Bounty on 23 January 1790.
I like to imagine Christian being inspired by the story of Libertalia, a fictional tale published 70 years earlier in which two men, both obsessed with Utopias, abandon their roles in European civilisation, sail the Jolly Roger and settle on an Island in Madagascar to found the ideal society with their crew.
In 1999 a scandal occurred that shook the community of Pitcairn Island where a large number of cases of sexual abuse came to light; committed by certain men on almost all of the Pitcairn women, while the latter were still minors. Some of the accused appealed to practices current and ancient, claiming in their defence that underage sex had been widely accepted as a Polynesian tradition since the settlement of the island in 1790.
What has been obscured by the romantic quality of Libertalia is the place of women. Libertalia might have been a libertarian utopia in which slavery was abolished, one that preached freedom and equality for men; but women seem to have had no role in this project. On the contrary – their status there was regressive”. – Mathieu Brand
Untitled (Old Kahibah), 2018
Maps on vinyl, sound extraction and abstraction, sourced rocks and hollowed timber, violin, cello
and bass strings
THIS IS NO FANTASY dianne tanzer + nicola stein, Melbourne
An interactive sound sculpture, Megan Cope’s Untitled (Old Kahibah) responds to the lands of the Awabakal people and Newcastle region, a place of significant alteration and extraction, geological movements and extensive industrial histories. In this work the artist combined timber and rocks from country together with metal strings that enable the elements of country to sing its story of change upon colonisation.
Artists and performers Eric Avery and Amrita Hepi joined Megan for three performances in which the work was activated with physical movements to create a passage of sound, mapping both country and stories responding to this landscape.
2 Drop, 2013
Furniture, fluorescent tubes
Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney
Appearing like a deconstructed industrial chandelier, Bill Culbert’s 2 Drop comprises a cascade of upturned chairs and tables with each piece of furniture pierced by a single, five-foot-long fluorescent tube. 2 Drop has a rhythm of its own, at the same time elegant, lyrical, humorous and sublime, welcoming all who wander under this light-filled sculptural installation. Culbert’s ability to transform ordinary and often discarded objects into an extraordinary ‘otherness’ is uplifting. Combining light and found objects with rare economy, he produces art that is austere, poetic and challenging in the way it invites us to revalue familiar objects and focus our perceptions.
Social Construct, 2018
Polished stainless steel
200 x 50 x 50 cm each
Dominik Mersch Gallery, Sydney
Sydney-based artist Lucas Davidson engages in a process of both forging and fracturing images of the self. Social Construct, a series of mirrored columns, uses geometries and repetition to reconfigure the body. Social Construct stands as an anti-object in the way that it reflects and deflects visual attention away from the sculpture itself. What is on view is a fragmented mirror image of the viewer’s body, juxtaposed with other bodies and the immediate environment. By making his surfaces both self-referential and fluid Davidson aims to highlight the mutability of perception and identity, encouraging us to consider ourselves not as an uninterrupted whole but as pieces that are continuously shaped and informed by the broader context of our surroundings.
Sea Change, 2017
Silicon, nylon thread, plastic
Penelope Davis’ Sea Change is a sculptural installation that evokes the precarious beauty of the ocean environment and human impact upon it. Using jellyfish as a motif to examine consumption, environmental degradation and issues surrounding global warming, the work’s delicate beauty and unsettling hybridity invites viewers into an enveloping, contemplative space to reflect on their own relationship with the ocean environment, the natural world and the issues emerging from future climate change.
The works are silicone moulds cast from a range of objects – discarded industrial devices, electrical equipment, mass produced plastic items, organic vegetation and other sources. The artist hand sews these fragments together to create Frankenstein-like amalgams –plausible but mutant jellyfish. Displayed as an installation suspended from the ceiling, the works form a swarm, or smack, of jellyfish. Selected individual works are lit from within using LED lighting to animate the installation. These subtle lighting effects create an immersive installation that recalls the uncanny, dream-like space of the ocean depths
I looked up and saw that we are alone, 2017-2018
Mixed media installation
Galerie pompom, Sydney
A single finger opens drawn venetian blinds.
The sad clown peers out, underwear fallen around his ankles.
Roses drooping in a nosey vase,
On the mantle piece the remnants of another quiet night in.
Old socks on kitchen linoleum,
tomato pasta with the anxiety of eating al fresco.
– Chris Dolman
Using self-deprecating and wry humour, Chris Dolman juxtaposes tropes from the genres of still life, self-portraiture and domestic interiors in sculptural installations which set up tragicomic scenes of misfortune and loss. Mixing formalist tendencies with an eccentric and sometimes ad hoc use of materials, Dolman creates absurd psychological narratives that combine the humour and caricature of Pop Art with the whimsy and obsession with the uncanny that typified Surrealism. Through highly idiosyncratic characterisation and the collaging of disparate elements, Dolman’s sculptures mine the mundane melodramas of the everyday.
L’Incivil (after maquette dated 2 August-December 1973), 1973/2014
polyurethane paint on epoxy
420.1 x 269.2 x 200 cm, overall installed
393.1 x 211.1 x 61.9 cm, sculpture
Work of art by Jean Dubuffet © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
Pace Gallery, New York, Hong Kong, London, Beijing, Seoul, Palo Alto and Geneva
Jean Dubuffet’s L’Incivil (1973/2014) is one of the five figures that comprise the artist’s monumental sculptural complex Welcome Parade, originally conceived by Dubuffet during a long collaboration with architect I.M. Pei. This unique sculpture was produced in 2014 based on a model the artist made in 1973; it is the largest version of its figure and part of the only grouping that can be installed individually.
Most recently presented in a major outdoor sculpture exhibition at the Rijksmuseum in 2017, L’Incivil highlights the artist’s continued interest and support of art brut – “raw art” – which for Dubuffet sprang from a spontaneous and obsessive need for the artist to express himself and rely on his own language and means of expression. .
SIMON INGRAM IN COLLABORATION WITH JOHN-PAUL POCHIN
Monadic Device (2018)
Aluminium, electronics, cable, motors, servos, EEG headset, software, computer, paint, brushes, linen canvases.
Gow Langsford Gallery, Auckland
“[The] skull represents the same infinity for the movement of conceptions. It is equal to the universe, for in it is contained all that sees in it. Likewise the sun and whole starry sky of comets and the sun pass in it and shine and move as in nature… Is not the whole universe that strange skull in which meteors, suns, comets and planets rush endlessly?”
Kazimir Malevich, ‘God is not cast down’, Futurism, edited by Didier Ottinger, Centre Pompidou / 5 Continents Editions, 2008, pp 65.
An endurance-based artwork of sorts, Monadic Device was a five-day painting event in which Ingram’s mental activity was recorded as a response to his own drawing and to the environment of Sydney Contemporary. Picked up by an EEG headset and interpreted by custom software, this data then materialised as a series of paintings made by a machine developed by the artist. In this era of surveillance and the devastation of our private world of the imagination, the subconscious again features here as artistic enquiry. This project explores the contemporary finding that 98% of our minds are subconscious and far more responsible for the way the world is organised than the conscious 2% that plans and reasons.
In undertaking this project the artist brings together elements of his recent work at Germany’s ZKM Centre for Art and Media where invisible cosmic energy was made visible as painting with a new, rekindled interest in subjectivity, people, and politics.
The artist gratefully acknowledges the support of Gow Langsford Gallery, The University of Auckland and Kamahi Electronics in Aotearoa New Zealand
Powder coated mild steel, powder coated aluminium, mirror pane glass, neon
240 x 400 x 60 cm
KAOKAO is a tukutuku chevron pattern found in Maori tribal houses that signifies fortitude and virility. Compositionally it aligns with the haka stance assumed as a prelude to war or in celebration of victory. The Kaokao chevron configuration is created by bringing together two crosses (X’s) with a bilateral inversion of the chevron to create the ‘K’ figure associated with Polynesian art. It is a motif that appears as an inverted ‘W’ pattern representing rows of headless humans, elbows on knees, on Austral Islands adzes. It is no coincidence that the double cross also aligns with many of the Maori signatures on the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi.
KAOKAO continues Robert Jahnke’s engagement with transformative tukutuku (tribal house lattice work), conditioned in its first showing at headland Sculpture on the Gulf on Waiheke Island in the Hauraki Gulf by an engagement with site (the Whetumatarau land block on the Island) and tangata whenua (Ngati Paoa). It was conceived as a cultural beacon to create a viewing portal that framed a heritage site on the Whetumatarau headland to remind people of a history of land alienation and the two waves of settlement on Waiheke Island: Maori and European.
Gravity System Response, 2018
Synthetic polymer on linen
2 panels, each 200 x 150 cm
Melbourne artist Ash Keating creates large, colourful, abstract canvases whose gestural mode of painting acknowledges a debt to post-war American movements such as abstract expressionism and colour field painting. Keating’s process is intuitive and unpredictable and involves shooting the canvas from a distance with an airless sprayer full of paint and water, creating an all-over effect that is at once minimalist and maximalist. His works constitute a longstanding exploration of the arbitrary energies of paint, water and air combined.
In Gravity System Response, teal and magenta are layered underneath intense coatings of blues; silver trickles into white and ultramarine is washed with violet pigments. In this diptych, the artist is not attempting to create a representational image but instead to liberate colour from any cultural restraints in order to generate an exhilarating work that vibrates with pure energy and emotion.
Dreaming under Water, 2017 – 2018
Mirror polished stainless steel
Lindy Lee’s practice explores her Chinese ancestry through Taoism and Ch’an (Zen) Buddhism – philosophies that see humanity and nature as inextricably linked. She employs chance and spontaneity to produce a galaxy of images that embody the intimate connections between human existence and the cosmos. Her works are meditative, often revealing themselves through time. These three sculptures use light to create an immersive installation. Installed in a darkened space with the objects lit from within, the sculptures cast dapples and shadows on nearby walls, reflecting the Zen conception that ‘who’ and ‘what’ we are extends well beyond the boundaries of our skin.
Strontium – 90: Fallout Babies, 2016
Blown glass, acrylic, found hospital cribs and vinyl wallpaper
THIS IS NO FANTASY: dianne tanzer + nicola stein
Yhonnie Scarce’s work references the ongoing effects of colonisation on Aboriginal people. In Strontium – 90: Fallout Babies, Scarce returns to her birthplace in Woomera, South Australia, to investigate the British Atomic testing carried out in Maralinga area during the 1950s and 60’s and the effects radiation had on the local indigenous population. The work is a poignant and evocative installation consisting of five 1970’s neo natal baby cribs containing Scarce’s iconic hand blown bush fruits set against a large scale wallpaper mural of Woomera.
The Golden Calf, 2018
Polyethylene road barriers, printed vinyl
350 x 191 x 191cm
The Golden Calf is a large stack of barriers of the kind used in road safety, arranged in a crosshatched pattern, and crowned with a single gold barrier. The work serves as an effigy to a world ever-more intent on throwing up walls to divide us. In an age of closing borders, and the seemingly endless rebuilding of our cities in the name of progress, the wall and barrier are potent symbols. Installed in Carriageworks as part of Sydney Contemporary, The Golden Calf disrupts the lines of sight of visitors within the art fair, through which so much money and influence flows. It asks us to consider where our attention and values are focused, and what we fail to see behind the wall.
This work represents a revisiting of Seton’s previous work with marble barriers, created in 2007 in response to the APEC summit and the post-9/11 world. Revisited some 10 years on, the work asks us to consider how far we’ve come in that time, and if anything has really changed.
Oneirophrenia (Blue), 2015
Tim Silver’s sculptural series Oneirophrenia (Blue) explores the interface between time, decay and the human body. The series dismantles the traditional concept of the classical bust and creates random mutations of matter. Rather than using traditional sculptural materials that strive towards a sense of permanence, Silver often uses organic or entropic mediums that degrade and change over time. For this body of work, Silver has filled busts with bread dough which, as it rises, breaks through the plaster skin. He then makes unique concrete casts of each bust.
‘Oneirophrenia’ derives from the Greek word ‘oneiros’, meaning dreams, and ‘phrenos’, meaning mind. It is defined as a hallucinatory, dreamlike state caused by prolonged sleep deprivation, sensory deprivation, or drug use. In Greek mythology, the Oneiroi were the three sons of the god of night or sleep, and personifications of the act of dreaming. Morpheus, the winged god of dreams, could take on a human form, Phobetor personified nightmares, masked as animals or monsters, and Phantasos created surreal or illusionary dreams.
Light Shifter, 2017
Powder coated stainless steel, reflective glass, mirror, LED lighting, fan and concrete plinth
120 x 85 x 85cm (including plinth)
Jason Sims works in the realm of perceptual art. Using the the reflective properties of light and mirror, he constructs wall works, freestanding sculptures, large-scale installations and public artwork that create simple illusions of space and form. These objects, that appear to defy limitations of three-dimensional space, invite a kind of examination of the world as we see it, or at least believe we see it. While the inherent nature of illusion is to deceive, his work is not intended to be deceptive. He is instead interested in creating work that serves as a vehicle to re-imagine the space encountered – to deconstruct perceived physical limitations – and facilitate a kind of meditative response allowing viewers to interpret the illusion of space created/consumed as reality.
Though we are largely shaped by individual experience through feedback received from our senses, exercising our imagination can change the way we perceive the world around us and how we question assumed truths. It is this inherent imaginative component of our makeup and the way in which it can influence our understanding of reality that interests Sims, as it is this quality that allows us to see the world in new ways.
226 sheets of hand-carved plywood
240 x 200 x 30 cm
Utopia Art Sydney
Kylie Stillman’s Scape is a free-standing stack of over 200 hand-cut plywood panels. The work continues Stillman’s use of everyday materials, which has previously included stacks of books and papers from which the artist has carved words and images. These often enigmatic ‘blocks’ have a presence in themselves and, in this case, from one side Stillman has formed a solid and impenetrable wall. But on the other side she has carved into each sheet to reveal a small section of a forest in relief. In her trademark style the solid form is removed from the block, leaving the negative imprint of the forest, a ghosting that reveals the stratified layers of the plywood stack.
This is a conundrum, that a view of the woods is created by the removal of wood. This absence of the trees is not accidental, it is a lyrical prompt for the viewer to reconsider the origins of the materials we use to assemble our constructed world.
Gold Waves (detail), 2017
4 channels, 6 channels, 8 channels and 12 channels
Martin Browne Contemporary, Sydney
teamLab (formed 2001) is a Japanese art collective, an interdisciplinary group of ultratechnologists whose collaborative practice seeks to navigate the confluence of art, science, technology, design and the natural world.
In Gold Waves, teamLab simulates the movement of waves through a computer-generated three-dimensional space. Their graphic rendering of the tumultuous motion of the waves recalls traditional Japanese art, particularly Hokusai’s celebrated ukiyo-e woodblock print ‘The Great Wave off Kanagawa’ (1829-1832). When animated, the line drawings of the waves give the impression of the water was a continuous, living entity with its own agency. To visualize the waves, the artists had to calculate the interactions of hundreds of thousands of particles. The behavior of these particles was then extracted and lines drawn in relation to their movement.
RONNIE VAN HOUT
Pointing Figure, 2017
Painted cast urethane on expanded polystyrene, fibreglass, clothing,
wig, expanded urethane foam, painted acrylic plaster
152 x 70 x 60 cm
Darren Knight Gallery, Sydney
Ronnie van Hout is a New Zealand-born, Melbourne-based artist who is best known for his tragicomic figures, many of which are variations on self-portraits, characterised by a tone of existential absurdism. Making allusions to science-fiction, cinema, art history and popular culture, van Hout offers us often unsettling scenarios in which strange and lonely protagonists, frequently diminutive or oversized in scale, act out with varying degrees of humour and pathos the self consciousness and social anxieties that plague the human condition.
Van Hout on Pointing Figure:
“Pointing Figure knows everything, and that is why he points. He is also a child with the face and hands of a much older person and thinking about it, he possibly not a ‘he’ as there are no obvious genitals, only cheap ‘ugg’ boots and a hammer. That Hammer seems threatening, that pointing finger seems to accuse, warning us not to come closer – or else. We want to stay out of its firing line, and just what’s in that box serving as a plinth for this troubled soul? Something doesn’t add up, but the feeling is probably one that is familiar, and sometimes it is us with the hammer and the pointing finger.’’
Untitled (detail), 2012
Paint pen on clear acetate plastic
81 × 61.5 cm
Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney
Acclaimed for her mark-making and storytelling, Nyapanyapa Yunupingu’s work shares affinities with graffiti, her minimal, repeated figures invoking the spontaneity of this urban mark-making gesture. This is complemented by material experimentation, as Yunupingu often integrates organic pigment with industrially produced texta-pen. This group of paintings, on sheets of clear acetate, began during the dry season when the supply of bark ran out and Nyapanyapa had no alternative but to paint on something else. She chose to innovate on acetate using the same meditative process of making marks yet with completely different material. While the impression is recognisably Yunupingu, the finish and texture involve a reconfiguration of her unique style.
Yunupingu lives and works in Yirrkala, near Nhulunbuy in north-east Arnhem Land, and is a Yolngu woman with a rich artistic genealogy, including musicians Mandawuy Yunupingu of Yothu Yindi and Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu, and the Gumatj patriarch and artist Munggurrawuy Yunupingu. Yunupingu’s art practice remains independent of bark painting traditions of the Yirrkala region/ Yolngu people of Arnhem Land. Yunupingu’s work is valued for the spontaneity and texture of her draughtsmanship and her figurative and abstract works unleash a unique set of personal narratives revolving around her own experiences.
INSTALLATION CONTEMPORARY CURATOR
Nina Miall is an independent curator and writer based in Sydney. Primary among her curatorial concerns are socially engaged and relational practices, and the politics and poetics of performance. From 2012–2017, Miall was a curator at Carriageworks, Sydney, where she commissioned ambitious new work across a variety of disciplines and media. At Carriageworks, she co-curated the inaugural multi-venue biennial exhibition The National 2017: New Australian Art and was responsible for a major cross-disciplinary project 24 Frames Per Second, 2012–2015. Other exhibitions include 1917: The Great Strike, Nick Cave: HEARD.SYD, 2016, Francesco Clemente: Encampment, 2016, Ross Manning: Melody Lines, 2016, and One Year Performance: 1980-1981, by Taiwanese performance artist Tehching Hsieh, 2014. Prior to Carriageworks, Miall was based in London for 12 years where she was a director of leading contemporary art gallery Haunch of Venison from 2006–2011, curating numerous exhibitions with artists such as Philippe Parreno, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, and Jitish Kallat across the gallery’s four spaces in London, Berlin, Zurich and New York, as well as surveys of contemporary South African art and Soviet Non-Conformist art. Throughout this time she was also a Trustee of the non-profit art space Beaconsfield in Vauxhall, London. In 2010, Miall participated in the ICA’s mentorship program for young cultural leaders and in 2009, she was shortlisted for the Hayward Touring’s Curatorial Open competition. From 2003–2005, Miall was Head of Public Programmes for the Royal Academy of Arts in London, working with artists such as David Hockney, Ed Ruscha, Jeff Koons, and Frank Auerbach.