SUMMER STUDIO: SHIBUYA CASTLE
19 – 21 January 2017
Curated by Lili Belle Birchall
Opening Night | Thursday 19 January, 6–8pm
Jessie Burrows + Angela Louise Powell
BLINDSIDE Summer Studio invites two pairs of artists who work collaboratively to occupy the gallery for one Summer month. Our 2017 resident artists, JESSIE BURROWS + ANGELA LOUISE POWELL and PLAY CENTRE, are recent graduates from VCA and RMIT. The residency concludes with a brief exhibition of work created during this period of experimentation and relationship.
Artists Jessie Burrows and Angela Louise Powell will present an array of sculptures, video works, photographs and paintings based on their own personal, and shared experience, of Japanese culture. Combining their thoughts, in response to ten days in Tokyo together, into sculptures, both crafted and found, the two will focus on the intersecting themes in their respective practices to build a installation together. Formed from key intersecting concerns across both practices, Shibuya Castle addresses liminal space as an emotional threshold.
In Japan, there is a phrase, mono no aware, which is to express the empathy of the inevitable passing of all things and to acknowledge the importance of memory and continuity with the past.
The memory of an object is sent like an ancient telegram to make a modern impression. Touch. Magic Object, you are a time machine. Sacred bottle of Pocari Sweat, jade emperor among refreshments, blindfolded I recall your image through drawing exercises and commemorate divine hangovers. Black Devils – Special Flavour, I venerate your ghost as an idol atop a dais of peach tiles, a gravestone to the last plume of smoke. These objects possess spirits that awaken slumbering minds. Haunted souvenirs. Remembering vessels to evoke the past. And from the golden haze of the daydream recollections of yesterday are sent forth to consciousness, passengers aboard a silver bullet train. A 5-yen coin is all it costs to take a trip down memory lane, your currency to dream; encircle its good fortune, repeatedly, until lucky reveries blossom in the summertime.
A blushing tiled partition emanates feeling. A glossy pink veneer for mimicking the intimacy of inside; the privacy of a bathroom becomes the stage for high theatre aesthetics in the streets – Mikado yellow splashes porcelain, blue mist, cherry blossom, red-tipped cranes and golden koi, as coral lips whisper gratitude; an echo is a stain. These tiles construct a monument, washed with mnemonic tides from the east. A pastel façade in industrial landscapes, upon which softness cascades throughout the city. And between the cracks of the concrete life blooms. The hue of Flowering Cactus is aquiline upon the wall, a river softening corners and infrastructure – nature rhythms the course of modernity and curves architecture into movement amid spaces. As we synthesise this fluid conduit between here and there, the compass of colour points towards crayon clouds on yesterday’s horizon.
The land of electric mandalas lights up the night sky and saturates the city in hard romance. Slumberous shrines bath in the soft light of love hotels. And ancient lanterns eddy about in hallucinatory bliss to the incandescence of karaoke bars. Bathhouses overflow with glowing desire, and neon signs radiate new age constellations of pop culture. A corner of the gallery is awash in illuminated memory, wavering in pink and green languorous shadows of invisible streetlights. Honeyed thoughts of indolent afternoons spent in sake bars soften
hard edges and metal rods. Drawn upon the walls in diaphanous intimacy, nostalgia is a luminous double vision, through which place materialises.
A reflective brass disk ordains the moon, a polished surface upon which all is echoed. Through this golden mirror we can see around corners, see the future, gaze into the past and never miss a thing. In foreign lands, FOMO is real. You are a visiting statue in a busy temple. And if loneliness is a place perhaps this terrain is empathic. A granite lake. A mountain shade suggests your shape. A wandering star, lost in constellations
of blurry lights. A sleepy sun meandering midnight fields. Your mother tongue has gone quiet. From twilight to twilight, your language must be gesticulated. Polite nod. Peace sign. Itchy knee. Your symbols are resurrected traffic cones and a pair of desolate telephone booths, lovingly lingering on the other end. Hello, are you still there?
Up in the clouds is shibuya_castle, a digital palace aloft the zephyrs of almond blossom and fragrant temples, Harajuku girls and Golden Gai bars; endless bowls of ramen and faded rainbows of paper crane chains. Fox shrines, Shinto gates and haunted recycling bags whose message rings true: Littering is for dogs, don’t be a dog.
– JAKE TREACY
Jake Treacy is an independent curator based in Melbourne. His work channels esoteric virtues and occultist methods in the mediumship of contemporary art writing and exhibition making. His recent curated projects include Psychic Studio, Heavy Majestic and Oracular Vernacular.
Jessie Burrows completed a Bachelor of Fine Art at The Victorian Collage of the Arts in 2015. She is focused on using materials as a starting point for her investigations into the tension between the permanent and impermanent, looking to highlight the everyday and ordinary. Burrows plays with notions of false recognition and triggering associations of familiarity and human behaviour. Burrows is currently based in Melbourne, Australia.
Angela Louise Powell’s practice predominantly investigates the notion of liminal space through an applied investigation of industrial and elemental materials. Powell’s sculptural practice employs the nature of the materials and their latent potential to engage with a psychoanalytical exploration on notions of an emotional thresholds, her installations sketch personal understandings of psychological spaces. This emotional threshold explored in the artists practice manifests itself intuitively as physical boundaries for the artist in its development as well as when encountered by the body.