Installation Contemporary 2019 will be 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.
Home, and a Home, 2016
Welded steel and brass
226 x 422 x 132 cm
Commissioned by Singapore Art Museum for Singapore Biennale 2016; courtesy the artist and Experimenter, Kolkata. Installation view as part of April 2019 exhibition By All Estimates, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art; image: Document Photography.
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 I 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, I 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.
Haw Par Villa - Video Snapshots series
mixed media video installation, looping single-channel video, screens, bamboo
Installation view, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Sydney. Photo: Document Photography
Courtesy the artist, and Galerie pompom, Sydney
Jess Bradford is a Singaporean-born and Sydney-based artist working across painting, ceramics, video and installation. Her work explores her mixed race heritage by examining representations of cultural identity. She explores these topics through a Chinese cultural theme park in Singapore called Haw Par Villa. Formerly known as The Tiger Balm Garden, the park 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 outlandish painted concrete sculptures and giant dioramas set within fabricated grottos and mountainscapes. In the 1980s the park was publically acquired and has been renovated over the years to portray different representations of Chinese culture. Having visited the park as a child, the artist now uses this site to explore her connection to Singaporean-Chinese culture, while examining how the Garden relates to broader narratives of cultural inheritance, collective memory and national identity.
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. Yamani, the Aboriginal word for rainbow, is a mesmerising examination of light waves and electromagnetic radiation, dark matter and their relationship to the universe.
Acrylic, steel cable
Courtesy the artist, and STATION, Melbourne
Filters II a suspended, colour-based installation which focuses on optics and questions of perception. Layers of tinted transparent acrylic are suspended and overlaid to enact a kind of colour mixing in space. Colours shift depending on the position of the viewer who walking around the work sees the layers transposed over one another in different ways. The richness of the colour changes with the position of the viewer and with the light in the space, the work then is essentially constantly changing in an active act of colour mixing. The work will be a dynamic installation at Carriageworks that prioritises geometry, materiality and colour, connecting to a lineage of minimalism. It will make an unexpected use of materials finding fluidity and flexibility in acrylic sheeting which is generally used for its rigidity as a flat plane. Filters II tests our need to make sense of what we see, while at the same time highlighting how what is perceived by the human eye is often altered by the ‘screen’ of things embedded in our subconscious, such as desires, fears and memories.
Dreconstructing, 2004 - ongoing
Knitted shredded magazines
550 x 45 cm
Courtesy the artist, Flowers Gallery, London, New York
Hong Kong based artists Movana Chen, started knitting projects in 2004, her early work sculpted a multi-disciplinary fusing of medium, fashion, performance, installation and sculpture that extends till recent years. This ongoing piece Dreconstructing which is knitted from shredded papers of old magazines. She focuses on exploring “wearable art” by creating “body containers” sculptures, which examine the relationship between clothes and the medium, and also reflect on our consumption of disposable commodities. “Dreconstructing” is to reconstruct all her wearable pieces (24 of them) into one big installation – deliberately combining text written in different language found in magazines to create an alternative way of reading and exploring art as a dialogue between different visual languages and the viewers. Chen explores various ways to “wear” one’s identity, to experiment and create new opportunities for different cultures to start conversations. The reconstructed paper represents wishes, and transforms the meanings of daily life, which opens up a two-way communication between body, art and everyday life.
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
Marley Dawson is a master of assemblage and kinesis, his work often exhumes the hidden activity of materials and processes with veiled significances. In his installation and sculpture, Dawson renders mechanics and other aspects of fabrication transparent. In his practice, he oscillates between concerns of what is valued and what is valuable. Having lived in Philadelphia, USA, Public Furniture are inspired by the Philadelphia riot that erupted in early 2018 after the Eagles’ historic Super Bowl victory. After the win, chaotic joy was unleashed. The City authorities thought they were ready for Philly sports fans’ infamous penchant for public shows of emotion – they greased the light poles to try to stop climbers. Dawson has taken the symbols of this uprising and rendered them as ghostly outlines and woven memories of this fevered time. We see a fallen traffic light, maybe the city’s most basic machine of the control of movement of its citizens. Dawson strips of these machines to their memorial skeleton, vestigial, emptied out of quotidian signifiers, and elevated to a monument, albeit a fallen one.
THE MAKING OF BEATRIZ AT DINNER 2019, 2019,
Courtesy the artist, and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney
THE MAKING OF BEATRIZ AT DINNER 2019 operates as a sponge for an array of popular cultural references, casting a seductive gaze towards celebrity, wealth, politics, rap culture and high-fashion. The installation exemplifies Jacqueline Fraser’s ability to create viscerally charged domains at an architectural scale; complete with pink and gold tinsel walls and chandelier, and pumping hip-hop sound tracks.
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.
Suspension Painting incorporates a number of elements and motifs that Hodge has used in previous paintings, bringing them into a three-dimensional space. Large painted cut-outs on aluminium composite panel of gestural marks, folded drapery, painted textiles and sculptural geological forms are clustered together, suspended from the ceiling, appearing to hover in space. The interplay between illusionistic painting and trompe-l’oeil shadows combined with actual shadows cast from one cut-out sculptural form to the next, creates 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.
Rejection letters, clear vinyl, decals
Courtesy the artist, and Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney | Singapore
Michael Lindeman’s art practice presents a type of wry institutional critique, addressing 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.
In the large text-based sculpture titled and forming the word Thanks, Lindeman focuses on 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.
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 the moments when we’re quiet that we start to acknowledge Self. Noise comes with expectations that we give ourselves – prejudices, inequality, racism, gender identity – that make us conform and not be who we truly are. Silence is when the true Self can be manifested. Experiences of obedience, rebellion, compliance, and physical and emotional suppression will shape the marks made in this installation, reflecting on the tension between cultural expectation and individual drive.
ROCK GATE (artist drawing), 2019
Marshall amplifiers, performance
Courtesy the artist, and STATION, Melbourne
ROCK GATE is an ambitious architectural and sonic structure by Nell, comprised of new and used Marshall amplifiers assembled into a torii gate and activated by a guitarist throughout the fair. Borrowing from the rituals of Japanese religion and an anarchic punk mentality, the work will be periodically silent and loud – a convergence of East and West, religion and rock’n’ roll, the individual and the communal, ancient and contemporary, masculine and feminine.
POI 2 Cadmium Red Deep - Matt & Gloss, Black & Pyrrole Red, 2017
Aluminium, acrylic paint
131 x 44 x 38 cm
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 – an almost choreographic and dancerly process which culminates in the creation of 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.”
Neo Geo II, (installation view), 2019
courtesy the artist, and STATION, Melbourne
For Installation Contemporary, Rennie is creating a field of five iron bark totem poles bearing pigmented markings, drawn from his distinctive graffiti-inspired, geometric visual language. Installed within a triangular pit of sand and framed by triangular metallic backdrop, the totems are viewed within a diamond, a motif emblematic of Rennie’s Kamilaroi ancestry. This work is a dynamic meeting ground of contrasting cultural referents, with Rennie passing native timber and traditional carving practices through a contemporary lens and bringing the past, present and future into distinctive material forms.
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 one of Australia’s leading visual artists, Joan Ross. In the style of a first-person video game, you are given free rein to explore an interactive 3D extension of Ross’ vibrant, 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. Joan 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. The resulting videos are irresistibly beautiful, while illustrating the brutality of colonialism’s legacy through a lens of black humour.
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 a roomscale VR context. Participants are given the agency to alter the landscape with implements and sweeping gestures, as their virtual body mirrors their physical movements.
Did you ask the river? is the second Mordant Family VR Commission, a partnership between ACMI and the Mordant Family. It has been supported by the City of Melbourne.
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 selfie land where people were just asking for more and more, what’s next etc. with less interest in the concepts and underlying ideas that are abundant in the work.
As people start to interact with things and try to get what they want, they start to destroy the world – they start to embody colonisation,” - Joan Ross
Suspended fabric: silk dyed with eucalyptus and wattles collected from area around Maroondah Dam. 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. Sound: composed by Simon Charles with spoken score by Katie West, duration 00:13:00.
Texts by Kerry Arabena, Bruce Pascoe, Aunty Joy Murphy Wandin, and Uncle David Wandin in partnership with Yarra Ranges Council, Dixon’s Creek Primary School, Ralph Hume, Victor Steffensen and Brett Ellis.
Courtesy the artist, and Dominik Mersch Gallery, Sydney.
Comprised of naturally dyed textile works suspended from the ceiling and laid out as cushions on the floor, ‘Clearing’ encapsulates Katie West’s worldview. In this multi-sensory work, the artist engages with natural dyeing processes as a way to participate with the seasons and create meditative spaces where Indigenous voices dominate. Including a spoken word score and key texts by Indigenous writers including Kerry Arabena, Aunty Joy Murphy Wandin and Bruce Pascoe, ‘Clearing’ offers a space to listen, read and converse. Here, we can recall with our senses that this is a world that emerges through reciprocity – the infinite instances of chemical exchange and dialogue between plants, animals, microbes, natural elements and phenomena. Fabrics carrying the colour and scent of country remind us of our place in the complex system that sustains life on this planet. Through this, West’s work moves from memory to the realm of instruction or storytelling. First exhibited at TarraWarra Museum of Art on Wurundjeri country, ‘Clearing’ extends now to the landscape and political climate of Gadigal Land.
Photographs by Andrew Curtis. Courtesy the artist, TarraWarra Museum of Art, and Dominik Mersch Gallery, Sydney.