8 – 24 April 2010

Danielle Clej + Ruth McConchie

At the time of atmospheric precipitates – exhibition is not function (the exhibit is built cheaply out of cardboard and a light rain ruined it forever) 

I believe that the catastrophe story, whoever may tell it, represents a constructive and positive act by the imagination rather than a negative one, an attempt to confront the terrifying void of a patently meaningless universe by challenging it at its own game, to remake zero by provoking it in every conceivable way.
(Ballard, 1977:130)

What if the collector’s ambitions were in fact driven by some effort not to represent the self or to collect the self, but to dissolve the self into its nonhuman environment, to become an object, a thing among things, in the collection’s perfect order?
(Bill Brown, 2006: 88)

For the work At the Time of Atmospheric Precipitates- Exhibition is not function Danielle Clej and Ruth McConchie built a collaborative object-based, kaleidoscopic labyrinth that plays with the architectural structure of the gallery. With no forms premade and no set plan for the work, the artists worked manically over the installation period to arrange and rearrange series of objects so that they form interconnected spaces. The work was structured so that processes most familiar to McConchie’s practice generated the initial constructive approach. As this method continues it will gradually incorporate processes specific to Clej’s practice with an aim to locate a third space that negotiates both their individual knowledges, experiences and processes. After the opening date the exhibition will continue to develop during opening hours, as the artists progressively rearrange and remove objects from the site, mapping their relative positions to generate a complex arrangement of linear forms. Experimenting with the creative potentials of deconstruction and destruction the work will establish fragile, fluid material orders to improvise structures for intensive chaos.

Over the past year, artists Danielle Clej and Ruth McConchie have collaborated to form numerous elaborate object-based site-specific installations. Clej and McConchie have distinct, individual art practices; yet share a desire to shape provisional, sensuous systems of order. These works are mutually driven by their obsessions with creating spatial-object-bodily dialogues within the structure of gallery sites. Employing formal and conceptual tactics of compulsively working to the excess, they play with repetitive processes of material collection to arrange stuttering rhythms of form, colour and light. These activities occur during a provisional creative state where the ritual of collecting objects and arranging ‘complete’ systems fosters possibilities for forming ‘other’ ephemeral, exploratory, immersive spaces. Through these creative processes, the practices establish formulative dialogues that materially reconceptualize object, gender and space based psychoanalytical, phenomenological and philosophical theories.

In the article ‘Objects Relations in an Expanded Field’ Bill Brown discusses this repetitive reordering of objects within architectural structures as a process of creative territorialisation. Drawing upon the experiences of a character named Miriam in the novel Bee Season by Myla Goldberg, Brown theorises this mode of creative practice as constituting a type of kaleidoscopic media. A kaleidoscopic world-view leads to a position where environments are seen for their potential for continuous creative recomposition. As a philosophical, architectural, creative, personalised instrument, the kaleidoscope becomes a sensuous tool to rethink the fragmentation and reorganisation of spatial systems. Aiming to dissolve or immerse the self- both the artist and viewer- into a personal, fragile order, Clej and McConchie negotiate their personal material and processual logics through a collaborative, creative dynamic.

For the artists this process of collaborative collision gives rise to different personal understandings into the material, conceptual and ontological foundations of artistic practice. Collaborative projects create a unique space compelling artists to draw upon and negotiate a multiplicity of experiences of body and site. This negotiation forces points of constructive conflict that potentially lead to a greater understanding of individual practice, driving the artist to consider and communicate processual decisions that can be overlooked within the routine of developing individual works. In this sense the work is enriched by introducing and experimenting with ideas and processes outside the regular sphere of the individual practice. Collaborative projects are both complicated and enriched by this potential to work through ideas and processes that are unfamiliar and even comfortable for individual participants. The gallery space becomes a site for active exchange, exploring how personal logics for creatively altering space shift when negotiated through the other’s observations and sensations. The gallery site becomes a living lab as continuous inhabitation drives repetitive processes of collection, arrangement and critical reflection. In this sense, the gallery becomes a transitional space, a space that continuously negotiates practices and realms of habitation, memory, collection and exhibition. This space allows for seemingly opposing elements such as public/private, subject/object and construction/destruction to be explored without any form of simplistic resolution. Dominated by neither worlds of external or internal realities the work forms a space of difference that is a space that opens onto both.

Lux Heinrichs and Liam Roderick, 2011

End Notes

Ballard, J. G. (1977) ‘Cataclysms and Dooms’, in Brian Ash (ed.), The Visual Encyclopaedia of Science Fiction, Pan Books, London and Sydney

Brown, B. (2006) Object Relations in an Expanded Field. differences 17: 88-106