10-13 SEPTEMBER 2020 | CARRIAGEWORKS

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INSTALLATION CONTEMPORARY

Installation Contemporary 2019 was curated by Dr Mikala Tai, a curator, researcher, academic and the Director of 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Designed to exhibit large-scale artworks in a diverse range of media, including moving-image, or more ambitious and conceptually driven projects that extend beyond the traditional booth presentation, Installation Contemporary presents an opportunity to view innovative, site-specific and interactive installations in the environment of Carriageworks.

RATHIN BARMAN

Home, and a Home, 2016
Welded steel and brass
226 x 422 x 132 cm
Commissioned by Singapore Art Museum for Singapore Biennale 2016

Home, and a home (2016) takes as its foundation the façade of a colonial shopfront building in Singapore’s Little India district. Commissioned by and created for the Singapore Biennale 2016, this work considers the scaled structure of welded brass and steel as a three-dimensional drawing in which Rathin Barman invites viewers to physically enter, thereby transforming the body’s relationship to the work from an architectural exterior to a cage-like interior space. During research for this work, Barman spent significant time engaging with migrant workers – mostly men and mostly from the Bengal region of Bangladesh and India – whose day of hard labour in the construction and maintenance sectors begins before sunrise. Many of these men live in cramped conditions above such shophouses that, on the outside at least, offer tourists a picture of Singapore’s colonial past while at the same time masking the visibility of the migrant workers that are essential for the ongoing development of the city’s infrastructure and the services that keep its economy humming.

JESS BRADFORD

Haw Par Villa – Video Snapshots series, 2016-2019
mixed media video installation, looping single-channel video, screens, bamboo
Dimensions variable

Haw Par Villa is an ongoing body of work by Singaporean-born, Sydney based artist Jess Bradford that considers ideas of cultural, national and personal identity. Formerly known as The Tiger Balm Garden, Haw Par Villa is a cultural theme park in Singapore that was privately built in the 1930s by the Burmese-Chinese brothers behind the medicated ointment ‘Tiger Balm’. The park depicts traditional Chinese folklore, myths and history with outlandishly painted concrete sculptures and giant dioramas set within fabricated grottos and mountainscapes. In the 1980s the park was publicly acquired and has been renovated over the years to portray different representations of Chinese culture. Bradford’s Haw Par Villa – Video Snapshots series documents the sculptures in the park in various states of deterioration and maintenance, with only the movement of trees or clouds disturbing the photographic stillness of the videos. The bamboo scaffolding, in which the videos are placed, speaks to the park’s ongoing physical renovation and construction, while also playfully referring to how the park’s history of renovation is intertwined with the construction of a Singaporean cultural and national identity.

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DANIEL BOYD

Yamani, 2018
video
19 mins 17 secs
Courtesy the artist, and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney

Daniel Boyd’s practice is internationally recognised for its manifold engagement with the colonial history of the Australia-Pacific region. Drawing upon intermingled discourses of science, religion and aesthetics, his work reveals the complexity of perspectives through which political, cultural and personal memory is composed. Presented as part of Installation Contemporary Yamani, the Gudjal word for the Rainbow Serpent, is a mesmerising video work that seemingly embodies the past, present and future. Yamani is mesmerising with Boyd transforming his characteristic painterly practice to a pulsating expansive vision. Transferred to the digital medium this work feels prophetic and powerful encapsulating the creator that is the yamani and presenting the vast stretch of the universe in reverberating equilibrium.

CONSUELO CAVANIGLIA

Filters II, 2019
Tinted acrylic, braided steel cable
Dimensions variable
Courtesy the artist, and STATION, Melbourne

Evolving out of an interest in how we see, define and relate to space – in architectural, psychological and ambient senses – Consuelo Cavaniglia’s Filters II is a colour-based installation which focuses on optics and questions of perception. The piece takes its cues from both photography and film and considers the act of looking in relation to lenses, filters and frames in both a practical and metaphoric sense. In this aerial work, layers of tinted transparent acrylic are suspended and overlaid to enact a kind of colour mixing in space. Colours alter, emerge and interact in a multitude of ways, depending on shifting light conditions and the physical position we view it from. The work makes deceptively simple yet atypical use of its materials: its fluidity and flexibility achieved by subtly manipulating acrylic sheeting – a material which is generally used for its rigidity on a flat plane. The acrylic performs like a series of filters in front of a lens, allowing the viewer to perceive the space around them in a different light.

MOVANA CHEN

Dreconstructing, 2004 – ongoing
Knitted shredded magazines
550 x 450 cm
Courtesy the artist, Flowers Gallery, London, New York

Since 2004 Hong Kong based artist Movana Chen has been weaving stories through what she terms ‘KNITerature’, the act of deconstructing and reconstructing magazines. This ongoing practice refigures text from discarded magazines in different languages and fuses them together to create an alternative global language. Through the act of knitting Chen proposes new opportunities for conversation and exchange pairing letters, calligraphy and characters side-by-side. Most of Chen’s works are created as wearable art, tight cylindric ‘body container’ sculptures that she inhabits for performances. Dreconstructing features twenty-four of her previous ‘body containers’ refigured into a colossal suspended work. With the body now erased from view the work functions as a more expansive comment on the regenerative act of recycling and the interconnected nature of humanity.

Movana Chen is also presenting a work as part of Performance Contemporary.

MARLEY DAWSON

Public Furniture (light/ladder), 2018
Brass, silver solder and light bulb
3 parts: 300 x 70 x 120 cm (each)
Courtesy the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney

Public Furniture is a series of works developed by Marley Dawson as a response to the Philadelphia riot that erupted in early 2018 after the Eagles’ historic NFL Super Bowl victory. After their first win, fans unleashed chaotic joy. The City authorities thought they were ready for Philly sports fans’ infamous penchant for public shows of emotion going so far as to grease the light poles to try to stop climbers. Images circulated online from the night depict looting, illegal fireworks, fires, fights and extensive property damage including toppled street lights. In Public Furniture Dawson takes the remnants of the celebration turned riot rendering them as ghostly outlines and woven memories of this fevered time. Presented at Sydney Contemporary are the series of traffic lights, some still standing and one levelled. Stripped to their memorial skeleton they become little more than vestigial objects, monuments to a moment of tumultuous celebration.

JACQUELINE FRASER

THE MAKING OF BEATRIZ AT DINNER 2019, 2019,
Mixed media,
Courtesy the artist, and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney

Jacqueline Fraser’s practice entices the viewer through a seductive materiality that reveals a biting critique of contemporary culture. Presented as part of Installation Contemporary THE MAKING OF BEATRIZ AT DINNER 2019 references the Trump-era 2017 film satire Beatriz at Dinner. The film traces a Latina healer, played by Salma Hayek, and her interactions with a detestable member of America’s 1%. Fraser’s work is a multi-faceted installation framed by tinselled party curtains that reveal a series of large-scale collages. The collages operate as vessels for an array of popular cultural references, compressing celebrity, wealth, politics, rap culture and high-fashion into single planes. While presented within all the trappings of alluring contemporaneity – architectural scale, colour and a pumping hip-hop soundtrack – the collages themselves are strangely unsettling. Through the act of compiling and compacting of images Fraser presents an uneasy reflection of the world we live in.

GREGORY HODGE

Suspension Painting, 2019
Acrylic on aluminium, composite panel, wood and steel
Courtesy the artist, and Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney | Singapore

Gregory Hodge has always been interested in the history of illusionistic painting from Flemish trompe-l’oeil to large scale Italian Baroque ceiling painting. His work reaches back to these traditions by absorbing many of their painterly tropes while also working within a predominately abstract visual language. For Sydney Contemporary Hodge presents Suspension Painting a three-dimensional expanded form of painting that incorporates a series of recognisable of elements and motifs that characterise Hodge’s practice. Uncontained by canvas large gestural marks, folded drapery, painted textiles and sculptural geological forms are clustered together, suspended from the ceiling, appearing to hover in space. Painted on individual aluminium composite panels each stroke-like form evokes interplay between illusionistic painting and trompe-l’oeil shadows. Such trickery combines with actual shadows cast from one cut-out sculptural form to the next creating a complex and playful contradiction in this work. This suspended arrangement of illusionistic gestures, renderings of textiles and sculptural forms, recalls the spectacle and unfolding drama of Baroque ceiling paintings in which clouds, limbs and drapery swell from the confines of the architecture and swirling figures gesture into the space of the viewer.

MICHAEL LINDEMAN

Thanks, 2018
Rejection letters, clear vinyl, decals
Courtesy the artist, and Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney | Singapore

Michael Lindeman’s practice is characterised by a wry institutional critique that addresses issues surrounding cultural meaning and the commodification of art with deadpan humour. The irony of course, is that Lindeman is a willing participant in the commodity culture that increasingly commands contemporary art. For Sydney Contemporary, Lindeman presents a large text-based sculpture titled and forming the word Thanks. Hung in the foyer of Carriageworks initially appears as a salutation but, upon closer inspection, is a comment on rejection and the repackaging of bad debt. Crafted from clear vinyl material hand cut into a disquieting, deflating three-dimensional font, the sculpture is filled with crumpled copies of rejection letters that Lindeman has collected for the past twenty years. Anxiety-ridden and with a confessional bent, Thanks proposes the idea of failure as a possible artistic strategy, while splitting open the art world’s system of inclusion and exclusion.

ANTONIA MRLJAK

Align in Silence, 2019
Live performance; acrylic, ink, charcoal, canvas, scaffold platform, noise cancelling headphones
600 x 600 cm
Courtesy the artist, and Curatorial + Co., Sydney

Align in Silence is an experiment in the juxtaposition of expectation and the reality of action. It is only in moments of quiet that we start to acknowledge Self. Noise is accompanied by the burden of societal expectations – of projected prejudices and inequalities – that lead us to conform and not be who we truly are. It is only in silence that the true Self can manifest. Throughout this performative installation Antonia Mrljak seeks to access her supressed emotions, allowing them to shape each mark on the canvas. Unfolding over the duration of the fair the work will record her personal grapple between cultural expectation and individual drive.

NELL

ROCK GATE, 2019
Marshall amplifiers, steel, wood, acrylic paint
Fabrication: Warwick Edgington, Rocket Mattler, Eveleigh Works, THREE–SIXTY CREATIVE
Special Thanks: CARRIAGEWORKS Clothing Store Studios and Marshall Australia
Courtesy the artist, and STATION, Melbourne

This ambitious architectural and sonic sculpture meshes the rituals of Japanese religion with an anarchic punk attitude. Comprising of iconic Marshall amplifiers assembled into a torii gate, ROCK GATE takes its form from the structures found outside Japanese Shinto temples which mark the entrance to a sacred space. The work is a convergence of seemingly dichotomous influences; East and West, religion and rock’n’roll, the individual and the communal, ancient and contemporary, masculine and feminine. ROCK GATE exemplifies the elemental focus of Nell’s practice, in which spaces for opposing forces to commune are created and their, sometimes surprising, potential for co-existence is revealed.

Sporadically activated by musicians, ROCK GATE will be periodically loud and silent; profane and reverent; active and dormant.

YIORYIOS PAPAYIORYIOU

CHROMA 7: Cadmium Deep Red, 2019
Steel, automotive paint, synthetic polymer
10 pieces: 220 x 13cm each (dimensions of installation variable)
Courtesy the artist, and Artereal Gallery, Sydney

Yioryios Papayioryiou creates organic architectural forms which are grounded in the framework and mentality of painting but realised in the form of sculpture. Working with aluminium and acrylic paints, the artist bends, folds, contorts and manipulates his materials in a choreographic and dancerly process culminating in works defined by a sense of energy and movement.

His sculptures visually translate his physiological and psychological responses to constructed space, both architectural and natural. Yioryios sets out to capture movement through time, through space, through light, through colour. His works are reflective of flux, of fluidity, of change; both his sculptures and paintings transform depending on their angle of placement or location of the viewer.

Underlying my recent works is a fascination with the symbiotic relationship between the use of colour & non-colour. My work is about identifying which one has a greater influence over its viewer. Even though my colours are limited, I believe the 1% of colour which I’ve used in my works triumphs over the black. My sculptures therefore gradually reveal hidden colours and lines, defined by the morphing negative spaces which they contain, peeling back the formalities of colour and shapes in order to reveal their strengths. – Yioryios Papayioryiou

REKO RENNIE

Totemic, 2019
Ironbark, pigment, steel, sand
courtesy the artist, and STATION, Melbourne

To be totemic is to embody a quality, concept or identity. Standing sentinel in a field of sand Rennie’s five hand caved iron bark totems offer a physical presence to this understanding, towering over their audiences with an intensity born of scale and surface. Bearing pigmented markings drawn from his distinctive graffiti-inspired, geometric visual language, the visual field they occupy is diamond shaped – a motif emblematic of Rennie’s Kamilaroi ancestry. Tall, proud and imbued with the artist’s hand they bear the traces a wide range of urban and cultural influences asserting the importance and continued relevance of ancestry, country and language. TOTEMIC is a dynamic convergence of cultural signifiers with Rennie employing traditional carving and timber into his contemporary practice fusing the past, present and future into distinctive material forms.

JOAN ROSS

Did you ask the river?, 2019
Commissioned by the Mordant Family for the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), Melbourne. Courtesy the artist and Michael Reid, Sydney, Berlin

Did you ask the river? is the debut VR work from leading Australian visual artist Joan Ross. In the style of a first-person videogame, the participant is given free rein to explore an interactive 3D extension of Ross’ vibrant, but unsettling, colonial landscape.

Unlike many VR experiences, you’re placed in a body – that of an 18th century colonial woman – and become uncomfortably complicit in her unwitting destruction of the landscape. Ross’s work is deeply critical of the colonial history of Australia, using open narratives, disruptive chronologies, and faux playful collaging to re-vision nineteenth Century European aesthetics. Her acclaimed video works combine visual elements from a variety of early colonial Australian paintings and contemporary life, so as to reconceptualise and problematise our relationship to both. While the resulting works are irresistibly beautiful they remain uncompromising in their illustration of the brutality of colonialism’s legacy.

Developed in collaboration with Dr Josh Harle at Tactical Space Lab in Sydney, Did you ask the river? sees the engaging aesthetic style of her collage works translated into immersive VR context. Participants are given the agency to alter the landscape with implements and sweeping gestures, as their virtual body mirrors their physical movements.

I started to work Initially with Josh Harle doing an experimental project about drone birds learning to be real birds, to see if I felt I could make art in VR. Looking at Colonial issues, contemporary technology and global warming ideas, we worked for a month very closely together but I was critical of the way the viewers interacted in VR, it was like they were in selfie-land where people were just asking for more and more.. what’s next?. And there was greediness, they had less interest in the underlying concepts that are abundant in the work. As people start to interact and ‘play the game’, they start to destroy the world – they start to embody colonisation. – Joan Ross

ALEX SETON

Winners Are Grinners, 2019
Wombeyan Marble
292 x 140 x 186 cm
Courtesy the artist, and Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney | Singapore

Winners are Grinners towers in the entrance to Sydney Contemporary silently observing all the activity of the fair. The hand carved upside-down marble skull is bold, striking and compelling, disrupting the long tradition of sculptures of powerful figures revered on plinths. For artist Alex Seton the work stems from his time as a young student in a marble statuary in Carrara, Italy, where he was sent to inspect ‘The Field of Dictators’. So called as it was littered with the large heads of unfinished marble statues of twentieth century politicians and dictators. Irate Italian artisans had abandoned the heads of Stalin, Lenin, Juan and Eva Peron, Pol Pot and others, when the commissioned works went unpaid for, were cancelled or their regimes fell. There will always be a commemorated monument to one ‘winner’ or another, and Winners are Grinners is the empty skull of yet another dictator.

With ‘THIS TOO SHALL PASS’ carved into the plinth below Winners and Grinners is a commentary of our constant state of flux. There is no fixed point, nothing is forever and ultimately in death there is no lasting meaning to winning, no glory, no triumph. What we the living do for each other is far more important.

KATIE WEST

Clearing, 2018–19
Suspended fabric: silk dyed on Wurundjeri country and dyed again on Gadigal country, with Australian native plants including eucalyptus and acacias collected in these areas.
Cushions: silk dyed with eucalyptus leaves and bark; muslin dyed with puff ball fungus; calico dyed with eucalyptus leaves and bark and puff ball fungus; all filled with wool and cotton wadding.
Courtesy the artist, and Dominik Mersch Gallery, Sydney.

Clearing is a meditative work comprised of naturally dyed textiles. Artist Katie West employs natural dyeing processes as a way to engage with the seasons and contribute to the global discussion on climate change. The work is also a response to what Métis academic Zoe Todd identifies as “Aer Nullius”; the absence or blurring of Indigenous voices within these conversations. Including texts by Indigenous writers including Kerry Arabena, Aunty Joy Murphy Wandin and Bruce Pascoe, Clearing offers a space to read, converse and listen. The work communicates through all manner of senses highlighting the reciprocity of chemical exchange and dialogue between plants, animals, microbes, natural elements and phenomena. Fabrics carry the colour and scent of country reminding viewers of our place in the complex system that sustains life on this planet. First exhibited at TarraWarra Museum of Art on Wurundjeri country, Clearing extends now to the landscape and political climate of Gadigal Land.

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