28.05 – 26.06.10
thursday 27 may
aeaf 5.30pm-7pm launched by dr tom nicholson
queen's theatre 7pm-8.30 with 7.30 performance by d&k
aeaf alex rizkalla / julie davies · john nixon / marco fusinato · gregory burgess / pip stokes · lyndell brown and charles green · polixeni papapetrou / robert nelson · janet burchill / jennifer mccamley · tom nicholson / tony birch · jorge and lucy orta · geoff lowe + jacqueline riva · alfredo and isabel aquilizan
queen's theatre [until 12 june only] hossein and angela valamanesh · elizabeth presa / anastasia klose · d&k · gabriella mangano and silvana mangano · pip and pop · rose farrell and george parkin · stelarc / nina sellars · stephen whittington / domenico de clario · rossella biscotti / kevin van braak · janine antoni / paul ramirez jonas
mercury cinema corinne and arthur cantrill
adelaide botanic garden aleks danko / jude walton
We can’t usually remember who did what. We arrive at the same ideas at the same time, and we always built in a lot of brainstorming sessions from the very start, way back in 1989. It’s a third artist we create, not his or her art: we want to do the best job for this third artist. It’s like working on a film: aiming for the best result, you don’t have to see the whole picture until the end. Lyndell Brown and Charles Green
duetto is an examination of the dynamics that define both collaborative and individual practices of artists who live and work together: AEAF gallery, Queen’s theatre, Mercury Cinema and the Adelaide Botanic Gardens
Ultimately duetto aims to offer insights into the particular alchemies that generate creatively productive relationships, by addressing the question of how a creative identity might struggle to redefine itself within the sometime inhibiting parameters of a collaboration or close relationship. this relationship may manifest as a collaborative single practice or simply as a shared engagement in a life that generates two individual practices; or it may involve the unfolding of family relationships, as in the dynamic played out between two sisters or between a mother and daughter; it may be generated through a creative partnership between two males, or between two females, manifesting either as a life-partnership or as a creative collaboration or as both.
– Domenico de Clario
Our fifty years of filmmaking began with the aim of using Arthurís skills in puppetry to make films for children. This was done, but soon film itself seduced us, and we grew increasingly excited by this medium of pulsing light and colour in movement, and the ways this interacted with human systems of perception. On the way we had to become sound artists as well, when we found that collaborations with composers often didnít achieve the kind of image/sound interplay we needed.
Our recent concerns are to consolidate the body of work we have produced, which includes composing new sound tracks for films that were previously silent, and working with footage accumulated over the years but not yet edited, such as film on our son, Ivor.
Ambiguous, fleeting details, colours and textures filmed in our living room: at our duetto presentation we shall show and discuss examples of our work, from the 1960s when we first engaged with film as a medium combining kinetic art with experimental sound composition, and then various strands of work such as filmed landscape, the Ďstillí moving image, concerns with duration, single-frame 24-images-per-second which challenge retinal retention and superimposition, and analysis of colour, using a similar 3-colour synthesis employed by the human retina and brain. We shall show films on which Ivor has collaborated, and which benefit from his autism, in particular his attention to colour, detail and repetition.
collaborate / collaborator
For some reason these two words often bring to mind Jean Genet and how during the 1939-45 war and the immediate post war, this verb and its corresponding noun, acquired the sinister connotation of traitorous co-operation with the enemy. Fortunately their pre war meaning has been reclaimed, the more honourable idea of working together has been restored.
duetto proposes the idea of two working together and the possibility of collaborative projects emerging, in our case it was a sort of fusion; certain circumstances, sustained dialogue and joint research often result in the situation where on completion of a project the authorship is so confused that the work naturally can not be considered outside of collaboration.
The most sustained conditions for our collaborations are international residencies, living in unfamiliar environments and exclusive engagement with the project at hand results in exciting joint observations, which lead to new work. SATOYAMA is such a project; an invitation to participate in the Echigo Tsumari Art Triennial 2009 took us to Urada Japan for six weeks, a unique experience high in the mountainous rice-growing region of Nigatta. SATOYAMA is the accumulation of images, objects and observations over six weeks augmented by many conversations and meals shared with our Japanese hosts.
Begun in 1997 SOLVER is a guitar based experimental / free noise group evolving from the art practices of Marco Fusinato and John Nixon
SOLVER 1997 circle records 7"
SOLVER 3 1998 circle records 7"
SOLVER XYZ 1999 freewaysound cd
SOLVER live in firenze 2000 circle records 7"
In addressing the exhibition theme we chose to collaborate together as architect and artist, as husband and wife, because the subject has been at the heart of both our practices over a lifetime, expressed as a commitment to the idea that art has a therapeutic social basis and is offered as a form of healing care of self and the Other. We have an ongoing creative conversation that underpins our thinking and making, but also, it seemed fitting to collaborate in a project where the very nature of the theme suggests a cooperative response. Between the ‘I and Thou’, the third space, the shared space, of reciprocity could emerge. We also wanted to inscribe our work with the masculine and feminine as a further layering of that shared space, with the connectedness and ‘spontaneous benevolence’ that can define kindness in the originary intimate sphere.
For a long time we have worked with the metaphor of the beehive as a social/spiritual picture for the repair and transformation of community, nature and the wider world. We have used the structures and materials of the beehive in their cosmological and mythic significance for over a decade in our art, architecture and writing. As the bee colonies have come under increasing duress from environmental imbalances, we have also seen the beehive as a critical indicator of our lack of a caring relationship with nature. The materials of the beehive – the pollen, honey, beeswax – are, of themselves, materials of a healing and sacramental nature, imparting inherent warmth. They and the communal life of the bees, offer paradigms of communality, self sacrifice and co operative social structure.
The six sided ‘blocks’ of beeswax used (an abstraction of the hexagonal cell that makes the comb of the beehive dwelling), are laid out loosely in the form of the vesica pisces, the overlapping of two circles to create a third space – a metaphor for the creative, reciprocal space generated in the act of kindness. Above the work a cloud-like baffle made from raw cocoon silk offers another form of ‘warmth’, protection and sensual embracement. The work enacts a passage, a gesture of turning, of compression and release, as one walks through it, engaging the spectator in a physical enactment of the ‘dance’ of communion with the other – at once risky and transformative. We installed Sense in the bush land of our country studio: bush which was burnt to ash three years ago. The intervention in the regenerating bush contextualizes the work’s ecological dimension: made from nature, it, in turn, offers consolation and healing back to nature in the form of a richly encoded cultural object of care and kindness. We also assembled the work in the midst of the regenerated orchard in full blossom, where a rainbow, arching the sky from horizon to horizon, hovered luminously for a brief moment, inscribing this work with hope.
An architecture of kindness would, in our thinking, offer some of these same qualities – the intimacy, reciprocity and care that enables empathy and relationship to flow between human beings: an architecture mediating between a challenging yet protective built environment to a kinder world beyond its healing walls.
from Shelter: On Kindness, catalogue, Melbourne: RMIT Gallery, 2009
In 1989 at the old Australian Centre for Contemporary Art in the Domain Gardens we both saw the collaborative duo Russian artists Komar and Melamid talk about their work. We were both fascinated. We loved the sheer skill of the socialist realism of their work, its cleverness, and the weird mysteriousness of not knowing who did what, there being really one artist out of two. Back in the studio, as we talked about it, we gradually realized how relevant this was to us, for weíd been talking about how much we wished elements in photographs, the still life bric a brac, the pages of text, the shiny surfaces, would move into paintings, to get the deep somber spaces of his paintings and his background in conceptual art in her photographs. The present works are a way of recapitulating, understanding and absorbing that pre-collaboration history into our work via a time-line. We both knew instinctively that collaboration would mean giving up all our own separate work and would require committing to this for our lifetimes. We both work on each part of every painting and photograph. We both sit down next to each other with our brushes, mixing colours on the same palette, and work for hours together. But then, like all artists, we also have a lot of admin to do, and we work on photographs as well, though neither of us can ever remember who pressed the button to release the camera shutter. We canít usually remember who did what. We arrive at the same ideas at the same time, and we always built in a lot of brainstorming sessions from the very start, way back in 1989. Itís a third artist we create, not his or her art: we want to do the best job for this third artist. Itís like working on a film: aiming for the best result, you donít have to see the whole picture until the end.
Polixeni Papapetrou (photographer) and Robert Nelson (scene painter) together make possible a stage to recreate Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland, upon which another participant—their then 6 year old daughter, Olympia—becomes the subject matter, acting the young Alice from Carroll’s hallowed story. Polixeni’s idea was to create a fantasy world to mirror Carroll’s dream based story, where imagination and reality are almost mystically equated. Her idea was to use painted scenic backdrops that were based on the original illustrations by John Tenniel to set the scene and to dramatize the movement from reality to imagination as done in theatre.
Robert painted the diorama in the backdrops where the performance could occur. The illusion was created by using a seamless piece of canvas measuring about three metres square, running continuously from wall to floor. Robert applied anamorphic painting techniques to distort the ground surface and create the illusion that this space might exist in the background. Issues of space, colour and scale often had to be resolved once the painting was underway. The works are deliberately artificial, fantastic and beyond photographic space. But within the constructed painterly space, the real human would have evidential credibility as the little girl who is also, in a sense, an outcome of the duet.
My early conversations with Tom Nicholson and the potential for collaboration began in Santiago, Chile. We talked about a mutual fascination with Melbourne’s Royal Park – a place of historical contestation containing infinite layers of narrative. We love the park because, although it has been home to many state-run institutions, some with dubious histories, it also contains stories we felt obliged to engage with. Tom is an artist with a social conscience and a commitment to communal engagement. He holds what may appear to some to be an outmoded political energy for collectivism. It is what drew me to him. It is why I wanted us to work together. Our collaborations began over a chat and a coffee, followed by a few dinners, the occasional walk through the park, and eventually a clear sense that we wanted to do something together. We sometimes sit in a small coffee shop in Melbourne’s Brunswick, La Paloma. The talk from other customers centres on European football. We don’t mind as we also meander between conversations around sport, literature, politics, Indigenous Rights and occasionally art. When Tom produced his project – Nardoo Flag (Red Wedge) – I was immediately reminded of William Barak, the Wurundjeri artist and intellectual of the nineteenth century and his knowledge of the colour red and its multifaceted translation – Ngamajet – which relates the human form and particular spiritual landscapes, the setting of the sun, death and rebirth. And so, when I see the Red Wedge in Royal Park, set against a sky and sun about to go down for the day I know we, Tom and I, and all of us are here.
Contemporary artists Lucy + Jorge Orta have been collaborating since 1991. Their studios are situated in central Paris. The artist duo assembles their artwork and installations together with a team of curators, artists, architects, designers, skilled technicians and craftsmen employing a range of techniques from sculpture, object making, couture, painting, printing and light projections.
Parallel and feeding into their studio practice they stage ephemeral interventions, performances, workshops, which explore the crucial themes of the contemporary world: Refuge Wear and Body Architecture: portable minimum habitats bridging architecture and dress; HortaRecycling: the food chain in global and local contexts; 70 x 7: the ritual of the meal and its role in the community; Nexus Architecture: alternative methods to recreate the social link; Life Nexus: the metaphor of the heart versus the biomedical ethics of organ donation; OrtaWater: the general scarcity of this vital natural resource, the problems arising from the pollution and corporate control effecting access to clean water for All.
(David Turley and Korin Gath)
We met at art school in 1999. Talked of life, death, relationships, belief, pissing the bed and shitting in the shower. There were no boundaries to the discussions and no judgements made. Our art is the embodiment of these conversations. We seek to create an open dialogue acknowledging that we are all human.
We were born, we are alive, we will die.
pip and pop
[Nicole Andrijevic, Tanya Schultz]
Nicole and Tanya’s collaboration is laced with a shared enthusiasm for what they perceive as the joyful pleasures of the world. Together they playfully indulge in the aesthetics of super-abundance as they abide by their motto, “More is More”! Their works are an accretion of intricately layered time-based processes and excessive collections of shared materials that build up into paradisiacal, utopian and mythological worlds. These worlds often simulate nature through artificial means and draw cultural references through video games, literature and cinema. Pip & Pop’s works are created through a spontaneous and seamless merging of their individual aesthetic palettes, conceptual concerns and processes, which draw many parallels and synchronicities. Pip & Pop perceive the world around them with a child-like wonder, which is only doubled by their shared enthusiasm. The process of making their work and collaborating together is likened to the activity of play, whereby the imagination transforms the everyday into the fantastical. Beyond the surface quality of momentary happiness that is so often explored in their work, together Pip & Pop recognise within their practice another meaning, which is quite simply, the expansion of happiness.
Alfredo Juan and Isabel Aquilizan work together as a couple, parents and artists. Though they pursue individual creative vocations, their collaborations dwell on their everyday life within a family of five children. The duty of raising them and the intimacy of ensuring their well-being have come to inflect their work with collective habits, or habits of collection – and also of belonging. In the Philippine setting, where filial ties are extensive, the Aquilizan brood cannot be solitary; it is but part of a community of kin that weaves in and out of the household. Through the years, the home as an abode gathers testimonies of passage: of clothes and toys outgrown, furniture stacked in storage, and other possessions strewn along paths.
Many of Alfredo and Isabel’s projects demonstrate this instinct of collecting as well as the techniques of exposition. They have stayed overnight in a museum and marked its precinct with traces of their residence. They have sought out mementoes from relatives in Australia; shoes, toothbrushes and garbage in Japan; blankets and dreams in Korea; and identification photographs of youth and domestic items in the Philippines. But as home is not singular, so is it not sedentary. Its members wander off and return. When Alfredo studied in the United Kingdom, for instance, he missed Isabel and the children terribly, especially their newborn eldest daughter, whom he had to leave behind. Drawing on this melancholic experience, he imagined the possibilities of travel and reunion by buying a second-hand baby sweater every day for 30 days, shaping them into female genitalia, installing them in his studio, and christening the ritual Amihan, the girl’s name and the vernacular for northern wind; he also built a dreamboat out of a mattress.
In the Biennale of Sydney in 2006, the artists extended their Be-longing series, which consists of work done in Brisbane in 1999 (where they brought together keepsakes from Filipinos), and in Havana in 2000 (where they solicited souvenirs that Cubans would take with them if they were to live elsewhere). They focus on boxes laden with the personal effects from their homeland that they feel they would need if their plans to emigrate to Australia did not miscarry. This may well be a farewell scene in which the wrenching process of migration becomes poignant. It is caught between the anticipation of a beginning and an unsettling of origin or address - between expectation and alienation. Here migrants as agents are, on the one hand, disembodied in the site of exile, replaced by their property; but, on the other, are also active senders of memorabilia from their dis-locale, suspended in the act of disposing and dispossessing. Used and usable things for strange climates and native necessities are shipped and sorted out: winter gear, threadbare shirts, worn out books, cherished pieces of previous art. Amid this freight is a precious maquette of their old house, cast by the harsh tropical light of a quaint country.
To look forward to leaving is to give up; it is at once exasperation and sacrifice in the face of a patrimony in pieces, which is mended by hospitality, haunted by belongings. The practice of Alfredo Juan/Isabel Aquilizan indexes the habit of keeping and investing things with sentiment. It is a disposition shaped by varying desires: as a matter of necessity for a family of five children and as a matter of contingency for artists seeking the intimate contexts of a collective, whether kin or nation, the mass or the global. It is further deepened by their experience as Filipino migrants in Australia and their commissions of installations across the world.
Farrell and Parkin’s collaborative performance photography over the duration of two decades have been portraits of the self, providing an intriguing window into their more recent Self Portraits (2003-06) and Chinese Self Portraits (2006-09) and Manga Portraits (2010). From 1984 to the current day, they have created and acted out characters from myth, science and history surrounded by and immersed in elaborate sets which they have constructed. Their physical involvement within their own artworks has placed them firmly within the medium of performance art, alongside other Australian artists such as Stelarc and Jill Orr.
Thus for them the performance has been seen in the context of creating a new photography, where unreality is normal, and to achieve this they have chosen aspects of history which, in the light of the modern world look strange and out of place, yet in historical terms were actually the norm. Immersing themselves into weird and dramatic scenarios has become their hallmark, yet in 2003 they drew the camera closer and photographed their own faces which began an ongoing interest in the self portrait. The changing digital technology allowed for the more extreme ‘closeup’ in order for them to experiment with the face ‘as the landscape or tableau’. Here the artists’ use of symbols required a distillation to a much purer essence of story telling. The self portraits have exposed their humour to the full light of day, shedding insight into the little understood yet richly layered ‘black humour’ in their broader bodies of work.
Their thirty nine year relationship, as well as their longstanding collaborative practice, has produced artists who are not afraid to explore or to submit themselves to the scrutiny of the camera, because they enjoy the process of diving off the cliffs of self doubt into uncharted waters.
Just as they always have
Since 2006 Rossella Biscotti and Kevin van Braak have collaborated on art projects that focus on the symbolic meaning of architecture and monuments. Together they have realised four projects: New Crossroads, a site-specific project and video in the township of New Crossroads in Cape Town (South Africa); Mental Archive, a site-specific project in the neighborhood of Danswijk in Almere (The Netherlands); Cities of Continuous Lines, a research project about fascist architecture in Italy, and After four rotations of A, B will make one revolution, a project of figurative socialist scultpures. In 2008 they initiated a long term project The good life, on the relation between architecture, utopia and the cinema set.
In New Crossroads – the work installed at Queen’s Theatre – a selection of inhabitants from the township New Crossroads (Cape Town), attempt to change the location with a non-functional working intervention.
Having lived together for thirty five years and shared a workspace for most of that time, it is difficult for us to imagine working alone; there has always been someone else there to get another opinion from, another voice. Even so, there is still a solitary element to our individual practices. We have collaborated on a number of works in the studio but the public works are different. There is much more of a shared responsibility and a shared experience about these projects and they always involve many more people than just us. Our design for the Adelaide Botanic Garden’s new western entrance facing Frome Road began in September 2007 and finally resulted in the ‘Ginkgo Gate’, the documentation of which is presented for this exhibition. It evolved as a solution to the brief for a pedestrian entrance and our undying interest and passion for the Gardens and all the botanical forms so copiously gathered and cared for there. The image of a Ginkgo leaf came from a collaborative work on paper using dried Ginkgo leaves. Our main partners in this endeavour are another duo, Kevin Taylor and Kate Cullity from TCL Landscape Architects along with Grace Lin. Of course as you can see from the documentation there were also many others involved in this project.
We love making work together because we have fun and, like children, play around with the seemingly silliest of ideas. Yet, as Adorno maintains, a parent should never make the mistake of believing he or she can be a friend to the child. The relationship should always be asymmetrical. This becomes painfully true as we consider that the origin of art has as its centre the wound of separation between the mother and infant. So somehow what inevitably appears funny and silly in New York Retrospective is tainted by a deep sense of melancholy and anxiety. This becomes even more the case because though it is Anastasia’s first visit to NYC, it is Elizabeth’s return home to where she grew up. She takes Anastasia on a journey to some of the places haunted by people and images (John and Yoko) of her own childhood. We are left pondering the relationship between the maternal gaze, the camera lens, and the symmetry or asymmetry of the mirror image. The final image is of Anastasia in the classical Greek sculpture gallery of the Metropolitan museum.
Nina Sellars often works with scientists and other artists on cross-disciplinary projects. Her artwork focuses on concepts of human anatomy and uses drawing, photography and installation, and has been exhibited nationally and internationally. She has trained and worked as a photographer, prosector (dissector of cadavers for medical display) and as an anatomical illustrator. Stelarc is an artist who has performed with a Third Hand, a Stomach Sculpture and Exoskeleton, a six-legged walking robot. He is interested in alternate anatomical architectures and constructing the body as an extended operational system. He is now surgically constructing and cell-growing an ear on his arm. A bodily structure has been replicated, relocated and will be rewired for additional capabilities. The EAR ON ARM will be Internet enabled, becoming a mobile and acoustical organ for people in other places. The OBLIQUE installation intimately carves photographic stills from a surgical act, doubling the cut of the surgeon with the click of the camera.
image: Stelarc, Ear On Arm Sculpture, 2010, 10 x life-size x 4m long.
Scanned original, laser cut styrene foam with polyurethane skin, with courtesy Scott Livesey Galleries, Melbourne. Funded by Fundere Studios, Footscray, Victoria. Special thanks to Cameron McIndoe for fabrication.
Nina Sellars, The Oblique, 2006, detail
Love is not eternity; nor is it the time of calendars and watches, successive time. The time of love is neither great nor small; it is the perception of all times, of all lives, in a single instant. It does not free us from death but makes us see it face to face. That instant is the reverse and complement of the “oceanic feeling.” It is not the return to the waters of origin but the attainment of a state that reconciles us to our having been driven out of paradise. We are the theater of the embrace of opposites and of their dissolution, resolved in a single note that is not affirmation or negation but acceptance. What does the couple see in the space of an instant, a blink of the eye? The equation of appearance and disappearance, the truth of the body and the nonbody, the vision of the presence that dissolves... —Octavio Paz
A Constructed World, Geoff Lowe and Jacqueline Riva, say the reason they began working together was to overcome the cultural loneliness and paranoia of working as an isolated artist. Being together was a way into more contact, bigger projects and interaction with wider networks. They have been using not-knowing, uncertainty, absences. text and speech, in the company of others, to make a work of civic collection. These attitudes are reflected in events and performative works that include people from diverse backgrounds and levels of experience across countries and cultures.
A Constructed World’s is a moving, shapeshifting, practice that has sought a wider audience in Australia and overseas. When the opportunities have arisen they have invited other Australian artists and writers to participate in their exhibitions and publications. As artists they have taken many risks and have often worked against conventions that might have afforded them more official recognition and reward in Australia.
Stephen whittington is director of the Electronic Music Unit, Elder Conservatorium, University of Adelaide. He is an internationally renowned composer, pianist and interpreter of the compositions of Morton Feldman. Since 1966 Domenico de Clario has held more than 170 solo exhibitions of paintings, drawings, prints, installations and sound performances, and has been invited to exhibit in more than 140 group shows presented worldwide and in major Australian cities.
Stephen Whittington and Domenico de Clario collaborated on an all-night performance on march 1, 2010, titled 'journey to the surface of the earth'