Issue 42:2 | Wirltuti / Spring 2022 | SENSORIA: Access & Agency
SENSORIA: Access & Agency
Issue 42:2 | Wirltuti / Spring 2022
Issue 23:3 | September 2003 | Rich & Strange
Rich & Strange
Issue 23:3 | September 2003


Some struggles are invisible: Art, neurodiversity, and Aotearoa

All struggles are essentially power struggles. Who will rule, who will lead, who will define, refine, confine, design, who will dominate. – Octavia E. Butler. Some struggles are invisible simply because a single word is missing from public discussion. I find that this is particularly the case with words that carry life-giving concepts and that challenge social hierarchies. Their absence can give clues to who might be excluded and what is considered of less value within a given society. One such word is ‘neurodiversity’, and it is missing from exhibition records within some of Aotearoa New Zealand’s leading public art galleries.

Vast spaces/Uneven terrain: Interpreting the politics of space from a place of impairment

In a sparse gallery space, a detached hydraulic door closer lies splayed on a white panel. This unassuming readymade by Belgian artist Steve Van den Bosch provides a subtle topographical deviation on the dull cement floor. Titled Assistant (2021), the closer was relocated from the gallery director’s office for the duration of Round About or Inside (30 September 2021 – 20 November 2021) at Griffith University Art Museum, Brisbane. Appropriately placed on the ground—the anti-art/anti-functional gesture par excellence—the artwork suffices as a miniature monument to technologies of access, reflecting on how we move through spaces and what mechanisms exist to ensure our safe and comfortable journey, to welcome us, or to deny us entry.   

The Meaning of Aboriginal Art
This essay is not about interpreting Aboriginal art rather it is about the wider issues raised by Aboriginal art, issues that tear through the discrete context of contemporary art and connect it to history, to the everyday, to politics and to the future.
Loop-Back: New Australian Art to Berlin
Engberg writes about FACE UP, a large museum exhibition curated for the Hamburger Bahnhof Museum in Berlin in October 2003. Britta Schmitz who curated FACE UP was intent on extending the discussion surrounding conceptualism and modernism that is reflected backwards with a sideways glance created by a slow burn effect. Photography was delivered in the works of Rosmary Laing, Simryn Gill and Darren Siwes. Installation, in a variety of manifestations, was offered in works by Patricia Piccinini, Mikala Dywer and Fiona Hall.
Why Correggio Jones is not The Hero of the 2004 Biennale of Sydney
The title of the 2004 Sydney Biennale was Biennale Of Reason and Emotion, the curator was Isabel Carlos, a Portuguese woman who will stress her cultural links with the New World, but in her case it is South America rather than North. One of the ideas she wished to explore through the Biennale was the concept of 'south' in a world dominated by the culture of the 'north'. As she states - "what I really want is to create a Biennale that works on the borders of the perception and on artworks that change our way of seeing the world around us."
A Leaf May Become a Forest
Like nature itself, Hossein Valamanesh's artistic oeuvre is inextricably articulated as an evolution which is cyclical. Following his emigration to Australia in 1973, the diverse, but thematically unified art practice of Valamanesh has come to encompass installation, sculpture and works on linen and paper in addition to substantial public artworks. The intricate patternings of Islamic architecture play out in his work which are consistently fragile and subtle in both appearance and approach.
The Entire Life Behind Things: David Keeling's Little Epiphanies
Timms paints a vivid picture of one of David Keeling's paintings, simultaneously posing questions surrounding how we as audiences deconstruct, interpret and therefore place values on certain images. His argument clearly lies in the appreciating of a process, a journey over the final image, especially when the image is as seemingly banal as that which typifies Keeling's practice. Keeling's previous works tended to acknowledge the traps of both the dewy-eyed romantic and the coldly rationalist approach. With his recent shift from a surreal satirical atmosphere to the common everyday, though the subject matter may be different, the locating of meaning is still the same.
Thinking Big: Spatial Conception in the Art of Dorothy Napangardi
The Warlpiri artist Dorothy Napangardi was born in the late 1940s or early 1950s in the bush near Mina Mina, northwest of Alice Springs at a time when colonisation meant that whites were increasingly encroaching on Walpiri land. Although Napangardi did not begin painting until much later, her childhood spent in the bush gathering the plentiful bush tucker and watching family members catch animals for food has had a critical influence on her artistic work. Because Napangardi did not live in a house in her formative years, the ability to view the landscape in its full 360 degrees enabled a different kind of 'eye' which plays out extensively in her visual scapes. It is in this sense that Nicholls looks at the spatial conceptions of the work of Napangardi.
Warped Reflections
Through this article Clement examines the idea that, as human beings we never tire of looking at ourselves, and we particularly seem to like looking at a self we recognise. In this sense it is not hard to see why Mueck's sculptures are so popular, not only in their satisfying familiarity but also in the sheer technical virtuosity they display. The same cultural anxiety that subtly animates Mueck's seemingly ordinary human figures deforms the flesh of Patricia Piccinini's hyper-real creatures. Subsequent to this idea of self observation, Clement looks at the increasing fluidity of the boundaries of the human body and, through examples of such artistic concerns, questions what it means to be human.
Stone Into Flesh: Julie Rrap
Australian artist Julie Rrap has consistently explored issues of corporeality and history. Her recent Fleshstones series expands upon these interests by directing her attention to public sculpture and, in particular, the relationship between landscape and the body. Using digital photography Rrap questions the hierarchical organisation of space through fusing figure and ground relations together. These images refer largely to the sculptural work of Henry moore and the myth of Galatea, the tradition of figurative sculpture in which stone is transformed into flesh.
Place-Urbanity: A Psycho-Ethnographic Portrait of Melbourne by Jeffrey Shaw
Australian artist Jeffrey Shaw has been at the forefront of interactive new media practice for the past two decades. He has used complex technologies to create large-scale immersive experiences that explore the meeting point between physical touch and human motion, and fantastic and uniquely conceived digital landscapes. He is also the founding Director of the Institute for Visual Media at the ZKM Centre for Art and Media in Karlsruhe in Germany. Right looks at Shaw's film piece Place-Urbanity which premiered in November 2002 and which has proven to be one of the most popular works in the ACMI's collection.
Impressive Risk-Taking: The Ideal City at the Valencia Biennial 2003
While the Venice Biennale remains the pre-eminent visual arts event on the international calendar there are now over 40 similar events that claim to be truly international. One of the newest is held in Spain and its second addition in 2003 gave us a tightly curated, human-scale celebration of ideas with some outstanding exhibitions. Developed expediently over the last five years, taking the community with them, the government is changing face and mindset of what was only ten years ago a city in the grip of chronic decay. Paul Greenaway reports.
Colin McCahon: A Question of Faith
Colin McCahon was born in 1919 in the South Island of New Zealand, in the town of Timaru, that is to say, about as far from the centres of modern art as it is possible to get. The early Italian Renaissance as much as the work of Gauguin and Picasso provided McCahon with his lead in these paintings. Raw and strange, they were greeted with puzzled and angry responses whilst at the same time these profound works secured a number of loyal and powerful supporters. McAloon looks at what was initially a slow and meandering ascent to his career and examines one of McCahon's most well known exhibitions which included 78 of McCahon's works covering the span of his career from 1946 to 1982.
Sideways Glances: South Africa, Australia and Intersections
With the showing of the BHP-Billiton collection of South African art at the RMIT Gallery in late 2002 early 2003, Australians not only saw convincing artworks, but also contemplated a culture that is both akin and alien. Synchronicities and differences in these two cultures and specific artistic experiences played out through the Intersections exhibition, with a recognition of the two nations being joined by mediating a white culture, looking upwards to Europe for inspiration and validation. Peers explores these and other parallels drawn between Australian and South African art and culture and addresses some of our own countries ongoing inequalities and historical misfortunes.
Vernon Ah Kee, Jewel MacKenzie, Kim Demuth, Annie Hogan Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane 12 June - 12 July 2003
Tweak, Tweak, Let's Surf
David Lehmann Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide 28 May - 22 June 2003
Peers Project: Lucy Griggs, Chris Handran, Gia Mitchell, Sebastian Moody and Martin Smith Studio 11, at Metro Arts, Brisbane
Habitat: Callum Morton
Contemporary Projects Gallery The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Melbourne 31 May - 17 August 2003
Points of Entry
An exhibition of new media art CAST Gallery & Plimsoll Gallery, Hobart 7 - 29 June 2003
Merilyn Fairskye Stills Gallery, Sydney 28 May - 28 June 2003
Kit Wise Inflight, North Hobart 4 - 29 July
If All We Have is Each Other, That's OK
Darren Sylvester William Mora Galleries, Melbourne 5 - 28 June 2003
spECTrUm Project Space
Northbridge Inaugural year 2002 - 2003
Shaun Gladwell
Sherman Galleries, Sydney 19 June - 12 July
Outside Tokyo (ideas about space and time)
John Curtin Gallery, Perth 1 May - 29 june 2003