Filed under: reading
Yves Klein, ‘Le Saut dans le Vide’ (Leap into the Void) 1960
Filed under: reading
Establishing plans for my arts practice post show. I’m meant to be putting art to the side to focus on studies but find myself incapable of this. Plans formulate constantly and I’m sourcing references to expand these emerging directions. Large photo real tapestries, a zine or two, exhibition and residency proposals are all being thought upon but may take some time to reach production. I’m currently waiting on a few hundred meters of grey tapestry wool to arrive in the mail.
I’ve settled into my new studio space and begun drawing rather timidly, still grappling with how different the light is. Working on a lovely wooden desk with a view onto a canal filled with birds and moldering boats. I visited Boekie Woekie an artist run bookstore specialising in artist books today. I left with Military Hospital by Claudia Heinermann, a photo essay on an abandoned military hospital in Belgium that had served during the two world wars. Filled with close ups of the accumulated detritus, flaking paint and empty doorways.
Two of Tacita Dean’s alabaster works. Tracing the veins with a dry point needle, she reveals the landscape contained in the stone. Maps of geological formation and history. Maps of mental landscapes, the dividing line between sleep and death.
One of the best exhibitions staged in Melbourne so far this year, Cannibal Tours was an exhibition of Narelle Jubelin’s work at Heide. For this show she has cannibalised her previous work into new arrangements. Combining petite point and found objects she investigates trade and the movement of people through their cultural materials and colonial influence.
All images are from the catalogue for the exhibition.
Filed under: 2007, made in, drawing, reading | Tags: drawing, flight, Saint-Exupery
And yet you go on sinking. The whole sky seems to be coming down on you. You begin to feel like the victim of some cosmic accident. You cannot land anywhere, and you try in vain to turn round and fly back into those zones where the air, as dense and solid as a pillar, had held you up. That pillar has melted away. Everything here is rotten and you slither about in a sort of universal decomposition while the cloud-bank rises apathetically, reaches your level, and swallows you up.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery in Wind, Sand and Stars.
A whole other type of void.
Filed under: reading | Tags: First Australians, Germaine Greer, Marcia Langton
An amazing series that charts the colonisation of Australia through the perspective of the first Australians. The stories of individuals, both natives and colonisers, allows the impact of empire to unfold. If you have a few hours to spare all seven documentary episodes can be watched on SBS’s video player – go to ‘watch full episodes’ and select First Australians on the menu to the right.
Episode two covers Darwin’s theory that Australian Aborigines were a dying race. This allowed whites to absolve themselves of the guilt of genocide. The repercussions of this theory are still clearly felt in many of the attitudes to issues tsurrounding the current living standards of remote Aboriginal communities. These undercurrents can be felt in the writings of academics such as Germaine Greer. I highly recommend Marcia Langton’s retaliation to Greer’s writing and the debate between the two.
Marcia Langton is an indomitable woman.
My favorite part of uni? The books.
After reading just a small section I cannot recommend Disciplining the Savages Savaging the Disciplines by Martin Nakata enough. He examines the intersection of indigenous peoples and academia through the history of imperialism, administrative control and the designation as savage.
In Whose Culture? edited by James Cuno museum luminaries argue for an internationalist approach to the protection and ownership of ancient cultural heritage. By arguing that these objects are the property of humankind rather than the countries they originated from major museums can now be lifted of any obligation to repatriate these objects to the nations they were seized from throughout hundreds of years of war, imperialism and looting.
Filed under: 2008, made in, painting, reading | Tags: clouds, painting, tacita dean
If you rise at dawn in a clear sky, and during the month of March, they say you can catch a bag of air so intoxicated with the essence of spring that when it is distilled and prepared, it will produce an oil of gold, remedy enough to heal all ailments. And as you rise at dawn to the upper ether, and lean out to catch the bag of air, they say you are trapping the ascending dew on its voyage from Earth to Heaven.
Dean, T 2006, ‘Bag of Air 1995′ in Tacita Dean, Phaidon, London
Filed under: reading | Tags: art history, colonial australia, feminist discourse
From at least the time of world war 1, landscape as developed by painters like arthur streeton and hans heyson has been seen as the cornerstone of national identity in australian art. Not coincidently, ‘the national landscape’ has also been implicitly recognised as masculine territory.
Jordan, C 2005, Picturesque Pursuits: Colonial Women Artists and the Amateur Tradition, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne.
This book revolutionised my thoughts towards my own arts practice, prompting me to consider my place as a female artist who borders on the amateur as part of an alternative history of Australian art.