WHEN : 13th Oct – 24th Nov
WHERE : Institute of Modern Art
Melbourne artist Peter Cripps has been a key figure in Australian art since the 1970s. He emerged at a time when minimalism and conceptualism were challenging an older idea of art generally, and of sculpture specifically. As an expression of those challenges, his work has been concerned with logics and technologies of display. Cripps explores the relationships—both formal-phenomenological and conceptual-ideological—between objects and the spaces in which they are presented.
Our exhibition spans Cripps’s career. The earliest works were produced in the late 1960s, while the latest works were made specially for the show. The show traces several ongoing strands of his inquiry. One strand is mirrors. The show includes examples of Cripps’s mirror studies from the 1970s (which explore the spatial paradoxes mirrors produce) and the Public Project works that he has been making since the early 1990s (Tatlinesque towers mounted with convex surveillance mirrors). Another strand is the influence of landscape. Cripps’s sculpture was informed by his childhood environment, particularly its distinctive coastal architecture (with its concrete-block bathing pavilions and World War II bunker remnants) and the Mordialloc timber yard (with its typography of drying kilns, timber stacks, and railway lines). This influence is apparent in the Above and Below Ground constructions he began making in 1968.
Alongside minimalism and conceptualism, museology has been a key influence. While working as an artist, Cripps has been employed as a curator, making institutional exhibitions of other artists’ works. In the 1970s, he was an assistant curator at Melbourne’s National Gallery of Victoria, and, from 1982 to 1986, he was Director of the IMA. Partly because of this, thinking about archives and museums, and their languages and technologies of display, underpins much of his work. Our show includes Shells of Past Activities, a personal museum composed of photos, texts, and state-library reading cards. Cripps is represented by Anna Schwartz Gallery, Melbourne and Sydney.