YOU SHARES ME SHARES....
13 - 30 Nov 2019
Opening Night | Thursday 14 Nov, 6pm–8pm
Games | Thursday 21 Nov 6-8pm
Board games and puzzles from the exhibition will be played at an informal evening where Lizzy will discuss her practice and projects and share some of the many stories latent in the things other-than-human displayed in the installation ’You shares me shares...’.
Limited numbers 6 people, bookings required.
The artist will frequently be in attendance at the gallery during open hours for chance informal meetings. She is very happy to discuss her work, share stories, tea and maybe a scone.
A study of the simultaneously distanced and interconnected relationship humans have with everything.
A chaotic and sensory jumble of everyday materials sourced from the artist's many environments is set within frames; grid forms devised to separate, elevate and control.
The viewer is invited to browse this ‘curiosity shop’, to find familiar or curious things that stimulate pleasure or surprise. Chance meetings, gifts of food and conversation, text pieces and games reveal stories of connection. Engaged, the viewer becomes integrated in the work, activating it, then flipping the position of subject and object to level the ‘natural order’.
Lizzy Simpson was born, lives and works in Melbourne, Australia. Driving her work is a lifelong interest in natural history, human history and ecology.
Simpson uses a variety of media often combining video, living and growing things and text into immersive and participatory installations. She graduated from the Master of Fine Art from RMIT University 2017 where she was awarded the Mary Oliphant Prize and the Project 11 residency to Yogyakarta Indonesia. She has exhibited nationally and internationally in Europe and Asia.
A conversation...about ‘...everything’, ecology, and the value of things with Lizzy Simpson and Gabe Best
GB: The meaning of ‘ecology’ seems to have expanded from the strictly biological meaning to denote almost any sort of groups or clusters of things in symbolic or real relation to one another and their surroundings, not necessarily to do with living organisms at all. I’m wondering if that’s a sign of an ever increasing distance from the natural world? Or maybe a desire to bring attention to the living world through
other contexts and everyday speech? So describing your work as an ecology of things would bring together an idea of living things and non living things within the same space as an ecology.
LS: Yes, well that’s an interesting way of putting it and that's really a sense of what I’m trying to do here to put all these things together to be read as being related in one way or another to one another and inextricably interconnected through those relationships. And to then bring the whole thing back to the natural world and how humans have tried to control nature and protect themselves from that chaotic world through technologies such as fire or climate controlled gallery spaces for instance...
GB: The gallery is a very significant space for you isn’t it?
LS: Yes, yes, of course! The gallery or museum or concert hall are like the gold standard of culture. The museum particularly is where things of great importance to human culture are preserved from the ravages of time and nature- insects, light, water, heat, anything that is required for life in fact are kept at bay ...things are taken out of the life cycle then stored, like the contents of the pyramids. They are very strange places, very wonderful places. I have a complicated relationship with ‘The Gallery’.
And the gallery space is where the work starts for me well not exactly starts but... the more I respond to the space as though it is a canvas and the jumble of items I bring along, which all have significance in some way or another, are arranged as a painting would be composed. There are other factors at play in the space of course such as light and sounds and air moving - all these are incorporated and are essential to the work.
GB: Is this purely spontaneous?
LS: I prepare for months! I make a lot of sketches, gallery visits, take photos then i make little arrangements but it really only finally happens at install. The unexpected always ahppens and is always/usually? welcome. There are many accidents and mistakes and failures and finally a pardoning/forgiving or maybe just resignation...not sure which.
GB: doesn’t that make you nervous?
LS: Ooohhh yes I’m becoming very interested in how mistakes work within the scheme. The ubiquity of mistakes, the attempts to make amends to repair, the acceptance of things not quite right within the error and those responsible...usually me.
Not sure yet how this fits with the rest yet but working on it. Maybe they are just part of the ecology or part of evolution, so mistakes, the broken, the aberrant are all welcome and are really becoming an important part of ‘....everything’. And of course everything constantly changes...
GB: ..and change is of interest too.
LS: very, very much so, essential I’d say. It’s the constant nature and the inevitability of change I’m curious about and why it is so often avoided, feared, detested.
GB: I have a lot of questions about your work.
LS: ask away
GB: the title is intriguing ‘You shares me shares ...everything’ tell me about that.
LS: It’s a working title that stuck. I think it’s a bit obvious and self explanatory really ...we share stuff! We share all this stuff. Just think of breathing in oxygen, we share the air, our breath. Trees make the oxygen we breathe in and they take in the carbon dioxide we breathe out. I find this simply a very intimate relationship.
We share stuff with everything, we are everything and we become everything else...eventually. Our air, our water, our matter, our energy.
GB: Very d and m! there is a lightheartedness in your work a strong sense of fun and play and the informal. I see your invitation to touch and explore the things on display another step through the barriers culture has constructed between the human and the other than human. Is this where you really look at those connections between everything?
LS: Thanks, I really hope that comes through.
In a way ‘Game’ has been made for exactly that purpose. It was made as a way to have players sit for a while and converse about really random things and through the objects within the game about their relationship with all those other than human things with which we are interconnected through time and space. It is meant to be non threatening, not didactic, more about discovering interesting stories about everyday things from each other... good for people who have some general knowledge i think.
GB: You spend a lot of time in your exhibits conversing with people
LS: Well ostensibly I’m there to look after all the living things which is true but this also allows me to start conversations with visitors and for them to ask questions about the work. We share stories . It’s another way to break down those barriers I suppose
It comes back to that complicated relationship with the gallery and the distance such places set up: the object and the viewer... the precious object is more valuable than me or the concept is smarter than me or that language is something above my understanding, if not designed to separate in actuality that’s what the situation is.
The very ordinary things I bring in are raised up in one way then access is allowed, a passage for viewers to cut across the value thing. Does that make sense? I’m not sure I’m explaining it adequately. So the fun, play and the informality and the appeal to all the senses is designed to provide passageways where people and art and things of all kinds can connect and remember who we are.
IMAGES | Lizzy Simpson | Courtesy the artist.