SANDRA BRIDIE B19– : EIGHT FICTIONS
15 November – 2 December 2017
Opening Night | Thursday 16 November, 6pm–8pm
Fiction Q & A Workshop | 30 November, 6.30pm | Sandra Bridie + Dr Melodie Ellis + Martina Copley
In Sandra Bridie (b 19--): eight fictions Sandra Bridie presents eight fictional artists who bear her own name, but with differing birthdates, imagined into the Melbourne art landscape of the 20th and 21st centuries.
Bridie has created work by fictional artists since 1989, and these eight artists are represented, as in a curated exhibition, by excerpts from their individual artistic oeuvres in media including photography, performance, sculpture, conceptual art, crafting, curatorship and text work.
Public programs include a Fiction Q&A Workshop as well as the publication launch, Sandra Bridie b 19--: eight fictions, at the exhibition opening.
Sandra Bridie b.19--: eight fictions will function as both a kind of a retrospective and a group show. Here, Sandra will present samples of work from eight of the fictional artists she has created from 1989 to today, who bear her own name Sandra Bridie, but are given different birthdates. The exhibition will utilise both Blindside galleries; installing a stable exhibition of samples of the eight artist’s work in gallery ONE and the elaboration of larger installation pieces by two of the fictional artists in gallery TWO.
Sandra has been creating fictional artists since 1989 and many (though not all) of these fictional entities have used her own name but have given different birth dates. These artists-as-protagonists are imagined into the Melbourne art landscape of the 20th and 21st centuries, pursuing a range of different practices, utilising various media including photography, performance, sculpture, conceptual art, crafting, curatorship and text work. They are at different stages of their careers, and have different levels of ability and success; including a hobbyist, an elder stateswoman, and a mid-generation artist on the biennale circuit. This ongoing conceit allows Sandra to play out numerous possibilities for the artist within a familiar locale. It is important to the work that they do not function as a hoax whereby the viewer is taken in, rather it is more useful to invite the viewer in on the ruse; for this reason ‘(a fiction)’ is always written after the title of the work. In this way, by announcing the construct that belies the work, the viewer may observe and critique the fictional artist’s words and work in terms of its frame of fabrication.
Creating fictional artists allows Bridie to muse on the vacillations entailed in the pursuit of art. By presenting often tragi-comic characters, who must deal with good fortune, destiny, disaster, boredom, malaise, envy, delusions, distractions, loss of faith, her hope is to present the artist as a recognisable creature in a familiar locale or milieu. By using her name, Bridie practices an imaginary ‘what if?’ where the various Sandra Bridies play out possible versions of the authoring artist, deposited into different eras or artistic echelons.
A written ‘interview’ functions as the text and voice of each artist and is central to Bridie’s presentation and conception of each character/artist. The culmination of each fictional artist/artwork is a small publication where the interview with the artist sits alongside documentation of the art works produced and is fundamental to the work. For this reason visitors will be invited to peruse the original copies of publications, which will sit alongside each of the eight installations seen in gallery ONE.
The exhibition is an also opportunity to consolidate the pamphlets into a single volume; the publication Sandra Bridie b.19--: eight fictions will contain a commissioned essay by Michael Graf on the project of the fictions, followed by the original interviews and artworks of each fictional Sandra Bridie.
By seeing the eight fictional artists named Sandra Bridie created over twenty years, sitting side-by-side in the one space in the proposed exhibition at BLINDSIDE, Bridie’s hope is that a context for the larger project of the work may be read.
Sandra Bridie’s work straddles individual practice, collaboration, exhibition curation, teaching, gallery management, writing, and the interview as documentation of individual and collective artistic practice in Melbourne. Sandra has coordinated a series of spaces and projects including; Fictional and Actual Artists Space (1995-6), Talk Artists Initiative (1997-2000) six conjectural modules (2002-3). Sandra was also a founding member of the artist's group Ocular Lab, which ran from 2003-2010 and through this involvement hosted a series of international, national and local artist's residencies in the Ocular Lab space. Bridie's individual practice involves the invention of fictional artists, presented via a suite of art works from a range of media including film, sculpture, performance, painting and conceptual art. These works are usually accompanied by a published 'interview' with the fictional artist describing the journey towards the work seen.
Sandra has held the role of Director of the George Paton Gallery, Melbourne University since 2004.
Melody Ellis is a Research Fellow in the School of Media and Communication at RMIT University. She completed her undergraduate studies in fine art at Sydney College of the Arts in 2001, and in 2014 was awarded a PhD in creative writing from RMIT. She was a co-founder and director of the artist run initiative Gallery WREN (2001-2005) and has worked for the National Association for the Visual Arts (2004-6), the Biennale of Sydney (2005-2006), the Athens Biennale (2006-7), West Space (2010-11) and un Magazine (2010-12). Her interdisciplinary writing practice explores a preoccupation with desire, place, subjectivity, power, philosophy and psychoanalysis. She recently finished a book chapter for a forthcoming anthology on The Politics of Ugliness (Routledge, 2018) entitled Writing Ugly, and has begun a new work on the materiality of failure.
IMAGES| SANDRA BRIDIE, Sandra Bridie Publications 1989-2016. Card, paper, cloth, bindings | Sandra Bridie, b.1952. Walking Meditation, Santiago, Spain. Video still compilation of walking performance, 2015 | Sandra Bridie, b.1955. The artist and the writer. Photo documentation of performance, 10cm x 15cm. Tower Studio, Queens College University of Melbourne, 2002 | Sandra Bridie, b.1949 Obscure, C type photographs, 31cm x 15cm.Temple Studio, 1996. Courtesy the artist.