Sam Cranstoun: You Are Neither Here Nor There brings together four projects made during the first decade of Queensland artist Sam Cranstoun’s research-driven practice.
The subject matter reflects the artist’s interest in lesser-known aspects of significant twentieth-century figures and events. Mies Van Der Rohe’s Farnsworth House, the Memphis motel where Martin Luther King was assassinated, and the life of Constantinos Apostolou Doxiadis, the Greek architect and town planner who emigrated to Brisbane after World War II but ended up growing tomatoes in the city’s south, are some of Cranstoun’s subjects. These histories become case studies to explore the complicated legacy of modernism and the way its utopian goals of political and social change have not eventuated as intended.
Modernism’s failure is perhaps most evidently played out in the sculptural installation Look Out! made in response to the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The human-scaled observational towers resemble minimal sculpture of the 1960s while also acknowledging our increasingly surveilled existence, both online and in real life.
You Are Neither Here Nor There includes key works from these projects alongside new paintings that extend the artist’s investigation of modernist art and design, the built environment, and capitalism.
Image: Sam Cranstoun Utopia 2019. Aluminium, galvanised steel, vinyl. Installation view at Carriageworks, Sydney. Courtesy the artist and Milani Gallery, Brisbane. Photo: Zan Wimberley.