SUMMER STUDIO: WE CANT TREAD ON ICE FOR THE REST OF OUR LIVES
19 – 21 January 2017
Curated by Lili Belle Birchall
Opening Night | Thursday 19 January 2017, 6pm–8pm
BLINDSIDE Summer Studio invites two pairs of artists who work collaboratively to occupy the gallery for one Summer month. Our 2017 resident artists, PLAY CENTRE and JESSIE BURROWS + ANGELA LOUISE POWELL, are recent graduates from RMIT and VCA. The residency concludes with a brief exhibition of work created during this period of experimentation and relationship.
Draw in. Draw out. Draw blood. Draw lots. Draw a home with a tree to its right, two birds above, a sun in the corner and a crooked family wincing outside. Draw on. Draw crowds. Draw 2-2 in 1988. Draw your score. Draw from past experiences doing the same dance differently. Draw a wavering line when your legs go like this. Draw fresh water from a deep dank well. Draw the second shortest straw. Draw a blank Bill. Draw out your weekly $40 cash allowance. Draw together extra for chippies. Draw criticism for your decadent lifestyle. Draw back the blinds and feel the afternoon sun on your sleepy eyelashes. Draw a bath. Draw a long breath. Draw a cart of juicy jazz apples and ripe navel oranges. Draw a map of secret spots hiding all your perversions. Draw them aside and whisper little lies. Draw their attention to it. Draw parallels between who you think they are and who you want them to be. Draw to a close. Draw the eye. Draw a treble clef behind their ear. Draw a clear distinction between innocent and fraudulent misrepresentation. Draw trumps. Draw stumps. Draw heavily on your last cigarette. Draw off. Draw back. Draw up. Draw down. Draw your fire.
Play Centre’s Jess Gall and Si Ma Va practice drawing. Working along visual scores free from fixed limits, the duo flirts with malapropisms to do with drawing conclusions. The culmination of their material manifestations will be marked by a tattoo of the Play Centre emblem on the blind side of each other.
Baby, they say that heaven’s on fire but it’s all just figure of speech. Up here we can hear who really speaks in tongues. Profane glossolalia becomes holy innuendo in unspoken annunciations. The great malapropism is an oracle through which we can achieve our greater work. And for one to misunderstand is indeed a biblical exegesis! To play with language is to dream of speaking, and perhaps, after all these years, those primary- school pencils are truly prophetic. Semantic scribbles and visionary vowels are conjured conduits to childhood. And with these divine visions maybe we can break the sacredness of this space. Punch a hole in the wall through to another celestial realm, or at least the next room. Together we can see into the vanishing point of the corner. This Tower of Babel is a play_centre. Four white walls a tabula rasa ready to receive all of history. With me upon your shoulders we can reach great heights and many likes. And did you know the ceiling is uneven here?
Processions of modern saints and messengers make their pilgrimage up here leave their autographs upon the gallery wall, heralding crusades against authenticity. Their signatures
are an act of blasphemy to the covenant of art, and form new testaments to unite the community. Across the threshold we have measured them up. A growth-chart of invisible functionality; a record of visiting gestures. The culmination of multiple visions is to see whose eyes we really gaze through. Because baby, it’s the blind leading the blind up here. You are my peripheral eye, and I am your mirror. But that’s the thing, you can’t fall into mirrors, only yourself. ‘A person is a person through other people’. You and me, we’re orphic lakes, baby, reflecting all the mysteries and blind spots of our bodies.
So let’s draw it out.
Let’s raise a curtain between us so that we may trace the pressure points of our body. To draw the veil is to reveal all the mysteries of the self, to access the blind sides of our backs and buttocks. To draw out the networks of our veins and map the channels of our blood is to perform our anatomy. The triumph of a heart that impulsively pulses Morse code signals through the curtain and fills the room – may our audience hear its beat. Shall we dance? Handstand? With a palm-full of stars, I shake them dice, until the desired constellation charts the freckles our spiritual axis. And this tennis ball is a spherical oracle. Randomness and chance. Yin and Yang in constant movement about the gallery, drawing about the limitlessness of space and time and play.
Ghosts and palimpsests and haunted graffiti, you know what I mean? Petroglyphs of a modern age; hieroglyphs free from fixed limits; a layering of experience over faded pasts. A single flower in a field of white. These are Byzantine markings that deny the true ocular and reveal all that is unseen, the process of un-visions and blind spots. At the completion of our ceremony we shall manifest the invisible with a tattoo, located across chartings of flesh, punctured by Chinese medicine, a marking only describable by my peripheral Gemini. And it’s time to clean the walls again, to create an eddying azure portal into the concealed sky. We know it’s 5pm now, with sweat glistening across our bodies, and as the bejewelled fan zephyrs spontaneity across the room. As the sun sets in the west of those smouldering heavens, the wall burns. Touch. Is warm.
– 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.
Play Centre began in late 2015 as a commitment of mutual support to overcome a hurdle threatening a smooth transition from one time to another. Since then it has developed into a collaborative project playing to and beyond intertextual readings and thresholds imposed on ideas of deliverance and friendship. Play Centre has exhibited at Testing Grounds and Paradise Hills, and are most frequently found performing at more informal occasions and cafés around Melbourne’s inner north.
Jess Gall is concerned with a performing body; how this operates as an expressive tool and communicative vessel. Gall often employs props and objects to deconstruct and reconstruct, anthropomorphise and reconfigure functionality. Her art(s) is/are often strategised through doing-play, improvisation and re-enactment, and remain ongoing in duration with multiple facet’s fragmentarily occurring. Gall is based in Melbourne where she completed her BFA in photography at RMIT and is currently undertaking her Honours study. Recent exhibitions include ‘Sandra Punctuates’ at Bus Projects.
Si Ma Va’s multi-disciplinary practice is largely borne from social bonds. Work often takes form as improvisational performance, collaboratively produced art objects, provisional documentation, anecdotal texts and correspondence. It frequently absolves the objective of discrete works for slighter gestures and events that lend to intertextual readings. It results from agency given to the impulsive, incidental and antithetical. Common themes include the personal and interpersonal, quality and inequality, and subjectivity/identity.