27 November – 14 December 2013
Curated by Kali Michailidis
Opening Night | Thursday 28 November 6-8pm
Todd Anderson-Kunert, Skye Kelly, Adele Macer, Caroline Phillips, Naomi Troski + Leela Schauble
BLINDSIDE hands over their archives and the Curtain Call exhibition to emerging curator, Kali Michailidis.Continuing BLINDSIDE’s commitment to fostering local talent, Curtain Call aims to give a current curatorial student a unique opportunity to apply their skills and knowledge to an exhibition, under the mentorship of the BLINDSIDE Board of Management. Kali has invited artists who have previously exhibited at BLINDSIDE to revisit the space, giving them an opportunity to debut new work or revisit old work in a new and different context. Curtain Call brings together works concerned with the body, spatial constraints and materiality.
Curated by Kali Michailidis.
This project was generously supported by the School of Culture and Communications, The University of Melbourne and JEM Pharmaceuticals with funding assistance from Kim Hitchcock.
IMAGES | Skye Kelly & Leela Schauble, 2013, Clockwise from top left: Leela Schauble, Float (Beige), 2013, photograph on gloss paper, edition: 5, 100 x 100 cm: Todd Anderson-Kunert, Something Nice, inkjet print, bass amplifier, spotlight, single channel audio composition (10.44 minutes), dimensions variable; Skye Kelly, Extruded Sphere, 2013, toffee, nylon net, rope, dimensions variable; Adele Macer, Untitled (Black Floor Work), 2011, satin and polyester wadding, 300cm x 150cm; Caroline Phillips, Dysfunction, 2013, detail, recycled cotton, leather, elastic and plastic, dimensions variable; Naomi Troski, Scatter, 2013, fiberglass poles, electrical connectors, lino flooring, light, 200 x 200 x 180 cm| Images courtesy of the artist.
The Material Body in Space
Curtain Call invites artists who have exhibited at BLINDSIDE to debut new work or revisit previous work in a new context. Curated by Kali Michailidis, a curatorial student at the University of Melbourne, this year’s edition of Curtain Call brings together works concerned with the body, materiality and spatial constraints. The invited artists are Todd Anderson-Kunert, Skye Kelly, Adele Macer, Caroline Phillips, Leela Schauble and Naomi Troski.
Todd Anderson-Kunert‘s work challenges the conventional gallery experience. The white cube can be perceived as a place of solitude, like a temple. Coupling sound with photography, Anderson-Kunert subverts this notion by making the gallery space dynamic, interdisciplinary and communal. In Something Nice a photograph is positioned in the shadow of a speaker. The image is simple – a woman spraying perfume on her neckin a position of intimacy, vulnerability and sensuality. The erotic, even primal aspects in the work are counteracted by the title itself, which suggests the perfuming is perhaps an innocuous indulgence. The intimacy of the photograph contrasts with the low, rumbling frequency of the sound. The two elements in direct dialogue, bind sound with body, so the work is experienced beyond the visual sense: the sound projecting the body throughout the space.
Skye Kelly manipulates toffee into strange and seductive forms. When cooked to 300°C, toffee becomes a Newtonian fluid, which is a solid that behaves like a liquid. Kelly uses toffee for its domestic and familiar qualities as well as its scientific properties. Extruded Sphere is in a constant state of transition, as the toffee filters from the net to the floor. Its movement is almost imperceptible, but becomes dramatically apparent over time. The work tests the limits of the material itself, as well as the viewer’s observation and patience. Many of us first encounter the sweet stickiness of toffee as children, and Kelly invites us to recall such childhood memories, but reconstructs them as something strange and unfamiliar. Extruded Sphere has a kind of disembowelled, intestinal quality. As the toffee oozes through the suspended net onto the floor, it is reminiscent of a hanging, flayed open body. In spite of its somewhat gruesome connotations, it is also seductive and inviting – touchable and lickable – an open invitation to dip your finger in.
Adele Macer’s Untitled (Black Floor Work) is a revised installation of a work previously exhibited in 2011. An inky black soft satin sculpture commands attention in the centre of the space and immediately evokes curiosity and mystery. The opened-out black rectangle marks territory and delineates the geometry of the room and becomes a black hole. Its sheen is seductive and luxurious, yet impervious. Its padding absorbs the light. If you were fall onto it, you might not escape. A series of hard-edged small, black, triangular sculptures seem to be levitating nearby, their lightness adding to the soft sculpture’s obscurity. The repetition of triangular elements seems to signal something, but just what that might be remains open. The triangular sculptures recall the sharp, protruding lines of a masculine Modernism, and play against the silky surface of the soft sculpture, which has its own feminine space in art history.
Caroline Phillips uses recycled cotton, elastic, leather and plastic to create soft sculptures. Dysfunction is an installation of clusters of totemic sculptures, made from miscellaneous recycled industrial pieces stuffed into cotton tubing and unused hospital compression socks. The materials make reference to skin, flesh and muscle and evoke a sense of injury. Their recycled and industrial nature suggests a mechanical and uniform approach to relationships that is no longer functional. They hang like limp ragdoll limbs, lifeless but not deflated. Phillips’s minimalist and understated aesthetic recalls the feminist soft sculpture tradition of the 1960s. Dysfunction asks what is the way forward for these relationships in a society that has moved past the overt feminist activism of the 1960s and 1970s.
Leela Schauble has revisited a recent photographic series, Float, 2013, for Curtain Call. The photographsdepict imprints of ephemeral figures that remind the viewer of bodily stains and liquids, and are encased in transparent plastic. It is unclear as to whether the forms are male or female, alive or dead or even human at all. The form is framed within the circular crop, which is in turn confined within the square of the photograph. While the bodies appear to be floating, they also seem captive – the plastic suffocating and confining the figures. While we know plastic is unnatural and toxic, it is a man-made material produced on mass. Schauble challenges the viewer’s attitude to this seemingly benign material and emphasises the finiteness of resources and the mortality of the body. She presents a grim image of what may happen to humankind once our materials have been exhausted. The body in these photographs is projected as something apocalyptic, post-human; an after-life of sorts. The plastic, having digested and preserved the body, holds it prisoner.
Naomi Troski’s work extends her current concern with immersive environments in a new direction. Troski uses light and colour in her work to disorient and challenge our perceptual habits. A previous installation Gyre, 2012, was made from rope and guttering suspended from the ceiling. Scatter is a two metre-square fibreglass construction that sits on the floor. Troski’s work alters the viewer’s experience of the surrounding environment. Without illusion or trickery, Scatter offers a unique way for viewers to test their visual perception. It challenges the spatial and temporal notions of an individual body being present and fixed in a single location. The fibreglass poles are like the lines of a drawing in space, depending on the angle and fall of the light, the presence of the work is altered, and at times, appears invisible.
The works in Curtain Call variously represent, reference and conjure the body on an emotional, conceptual and physical level. Each artist, working with a minimal palette relies on the strength and unique properties of their chosen materials to convey meaning. Many of the works challenge the viewer’s conventional understanding and experience. They ask questions about art in relation to the body and the body as a locus for art.
The artworks in Curtain Call do not attempt to answer these questions. Rather, they draw attention to them and push the viewer into new experiences to provide their own answers. Phillips and Macer work with the material body in relation to fabric and a blurring crossover of male and female spaces. Kelly and Troski incorporate the body of the viewer to heighten the uncertain and precarious nature of its relationship to the world. Schauble and Anderson-Kunert use photographic images of the body in sculptural constructions to refer to their subject’s vulnerability and suspension in space. For Macer and Schauble, Curtain Call has provided an opportunity to revisit and reconfigure previous bodies of work. For the others, it has been a chance to extend and experiment with new installations, parameters and facets of their practice.
- Kali Michailidis, 2013.