PLUS SOLIDS Bus Projects 15.03.17 - 8.04.17MelbourneA good analogy doesn’t need to be concrete, it only needs to be expressed in terms of an idea you already know deeply. Like the idea of deep cement poured on a hot day, hosed as it cures to prevent cracking.
In metallurgy hardness is defined as the ability of a material to resist plastic deformation or indentation. Like metals, the hardness of an idea is important to measure, so as to choose whose hands, and how rough to handle. Sometimes soft ideas need rough hands. Some hard ideas are better left untouched. The opposite may be true, you need to measure.
Plus solids is an exhibition of sculpture, where solids are to sculpture what milk-solids are to milk. Some sculptures sit pressed and numbered, anchored to the world of objects. Others exist as a suggestion of something imminent, resting in wild flax grass, or propped in the backseat of a taxi in traffic. In this exhibition the visible sculpture coalesces with the invisible, and like a small insect colliding into a flinching eyeball (observed in profile and mistaken for a wink) the disparity between what is seen and unseen is the structure of the exchange.
A pair of repoussé croissants, 2017Copper, pitch, shoes 27 x 9 x 31
A watermelon starts to rot at the ends. Blotches of dark green soak toward the surface, and at the umbilical spot, a black mould grows. In the summer months, our Kalahari Desert studio mimics greenhouse conditions, so it’s good for tropical plants but not watermelons or writing screenplays. A watermelon vine would do just fine, but those fleshy kids should hit the road come twenty one. In the Kalahari studio we average one week from shop to rot. Of course a greengrocer would have their own timeline, involving a curious process of sniffs and taps. And before that, the melon farmer’s fingers know when to pick, and all the correct places to squeeze. Everyone agrees, the umbilical spot tells a lot, but that’s not all there is to know, oh no. The first watermelon harvest happened 5,000 years back (ago), some Egyptian hieroglyphics captured the moment. Melon seeds were found in the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun, spat out all over the place.
Pulling up a sludgy side alley, we stepped over pools of melted New Years snow, and leant through the glass doors of a Radisson Blue Hotel. Room number? Nope. Table reservation? Nope. Just some breakfast type foods, “thanks”, we walked on in. It was late enough that the pastries were picked over, and the fruit reduced to sliced apple. A local woodland creature, maybe-also-keyboardist for a Sigur Rós inspired prog band, offered to take and make our coffee order (ho-ho!) and so I ordered a double espresso, because with only three hours daylight I considered it bad manners to ask for anything more involved than that. But really who ever has time for a drink in requisite of four cow stomachs? Or the seasonal cultivation / preparation of soya beans? The Woodland Fawn and I looked into each others eyes and knew we were running out of time, for both making and drinking coffee, and we were finally on the same side of this spinning ball of flames and ice but only for a moment, and lo and behold this beautiful creature was serving ME! How sad and cruel life can be, at the Radisson Blue Hotel. On leaving we didn’t pay of course, and posing as the hotels most desirable lodgers we fare welled the desk clerk, correctly or incorrectly guessing her first name. The Woodland Fawn was with us. He’d quit his job to travel with me that day, and only that day. We parted at dusk and I cried the saddest tears.
Reupholstery plotlines, 2017Theatre seat upholstery fabric, watermelon, screenwriter Dimensions vary
Saturation, 2017A man named Hugh dressed in bright colours
Back home when the monsoonal rains arrive each summer, all transportation stops for a few hours while clouds clear and the roads reemerge from flooding. Movement across town transforms into something better described as manoeuvring. Etymologically the word manoeuvre means “to work with one’s hands”, but I’ve always thought manoeuvring more to do with feet or buttocks, with shifting and squirming and stepping around things. It involves suggestion. And if hands are there at all, maybe manoeuvring is the action of the mind’s hands. It’s an imprecise type of movement that emphasises the encounter, or a movement laden with forced motivation (people, memories, events, art). Inside the American Seating Co’s department of quality control and product testing, there’s a mechanised doll called Squirming Irma. Wooden Irma has an electric motor, a piston rod spine, a mop of ginger hair, a riding cloak and some brown leather sandals. The doll is designed to simulate years of actual use on a cinema seat. It provides 100,000 thumps and 30,000 squirms in the space of 50 hours. Around and around, up and down on that singular spot, information travelling in and out, from one thing to another.
Paranoid painting (frozen pizza, clover, sunset), 2016Acrylic and UV print on aluminium composite150 x 93
Paranoid painting (amazon, keyhole, corn and carrot), 2016Acrylic and UV print on aluminium composite 150 x 93
Police mix, 2017Audio file141:15 minutesWork out mix - Constable T LChill out mix - Constable Anne Hanning
Cosmo’s model of the universe with uneasy sleeping, 2016Euphonium, cat bedding, cat61 x 45 x 40
Longueurs, 2017Digital video:1min0secA video of a fly sitting on a spinning CD, available to view on the phones of gallery staff and volunteers
Orion, 2017Orange tree, cable ties, rope An orange tree roped or cable tied to encourage fruit to grow in celestial patterns
One thing that brings me deep satisfaction is successfully coordinating travel arrangements for a single pork mince gyoza. The joy of marshalling warm snacks from one side of town to the other is unparalleled in my book. And I really don’t care which method. Taxi is OK, or strapped to an electric scooter, or under the arm of a sweaty nerve-battered cyclist boy. I’ll call a Nutella crêpe on a journey as far ’n’ fast as can be, and I’ll say “Bienvenue ma douce, you floppy little shit!” as it winds toward me like a heat seeking missile whispered into the night. I’ll order 2 x Cloud Ear Fungi, travelling from a suburb I’ve never visited, just to have them arrive at my door hours later clothed in waxed paper, or sweating in their cracked donor boxes. Packaging is fearfully unpredictable. A head of steamed Broccoli once arrived with a chilli oil sachet, stowed away like a vagabond thief! But we were glad (this one time only) to have the extra company, welcome welcome rest your weary feet.
Phó doorstop, 2017A bowl of soup delivered daily for use as the gallery front doorstop