WHEN : 23rd June, 5:00pm
WHERE : IMA
This year’s Queensland emerging-artists show features work by Sean Barrett, Antoinette J. Citizen, Yavuz Erkan, and David Nixon.
Sean Barrett started off studying commercial ‘studio’ photography, but jumped ship to ‘art’ photography. ‘Commercial’ photography compels us to buy, believe, and behave and Barrett explores and exploits its technical and aesthetic arsenal. In his installation The Gathering, Barrett’s beautifully shot and photoshopped portraits, still lives, and abstractions are puzzling. They seem out of context, missing the occasion or accompaniment that would normally give them their raison d’etre. The images aren’t hung conventionally, but instead lean against walls or lie on the floor (and on one another) with a contrived sense of abandon. As much as they look commercial, Barrett’s images operate as anything but.
Antoinette J. Citizen is thinking about the future. Inspired by the idea that the world will end in 2012 (the end of the Mayan calendar), she programs Google Calendar to rapidly scroll forward, month-by-month, hoping to find its limit—a new unanticipated endtime. In contrast, she slows down the 1960 movie The Time Machine, showing it as if it had started playing when it was first set (1899) and would finish in the distant future it imagines (802,701). For Project Alpha, she mocked up a letter from ASIO to Peter Alwast, inviting the Brisbane artist to join the elect who will continue the species in the event of a future global cataclysm. Finally, with Courtney Coombs, Citizen harassed the curators of the hip Paris art museum, the Palais de Tokyo, sending them a new proposal every fortnight, until asked to cease and desist. Optimistically, the duo proposed futures that would not take place.
For his Unorthodox Aphorisms, Yavuz Erkan photographed himself enjoying sensual experiences: he palms a handful of jelly, sugar is spread across his back, he wears a bra across his face as a respiration mask, he looks down the front of his oversize pants, he blows a big bubblegum bubble. Brightly lit, these studies in polymorphous perversity are practical demonstrations, instructing us in possibilities for our own pleasure. Erkan leads by example. He explains: ‘I invite the viewers to distance themselves from their conventional routines. These photographs are visual aphorisms targeted at the conformism of individuals who live what is considered a normal life.’
David Nixon creates abstractions from banal everyday things. In his video Immanence, white specks swill about against a black background, recalling Len Lye’s classic film Particles in Space. The specks suggest snowflakes, the ‘snow’ of analogue TV static, and swarming fireflies. In fact, they are polystyrene bean-bag ‘beans’ flying through the air. Nixon’s visuals are accompanied by a haunting soundtrack featuring children’s playground chatter, prompting us to anthropomorposise his luminous specks. Alongside the video, his sublime abstract photographs turn out to be images of fluttering torn plastic bags.
Image: Yavuz Erkan