Here and now. Stasis and flux.
Time is material. Time is spatial. Time is knowledge.
Melbourne Art Fair in association with guest curator Hannah Mathews (Senior Curator, Monash University Museum of Art) presents TIME, a selection of works by Michaela Gleave, Jess Johnson with Simon Ward, Sriwhana Spong and Angela Tiatia. Joining with a growing number of organisations focusing their resources on the activities of female practitioners, TIME speaks to the power of the now and is presented at various sites throughout Melbourne’s CBD.
Michaela Gleave’s A Galaxy of Suns (2016-2018) transposes what is perhaps the most epic measure of time for humanity: the distance between earth and the universe. The work takes the form of a highly ambient field of colour and sound presented for an intimate audience via QT Melbourne’s inhouse entertainment system. Like much of Gleave’s work, A Galaxy of Suns questions our relationship to time, matter and space. In content and context it oscillates between the micro and the macro, amid the spaces of personal experience and global understanding that allow us to experience the processes by which we comprehend reality and rethink our presence within it.
New Zealand artists, Jess Johnson and Simon Ward’s new video Webwurld (2017) offers a glimpse into a hallucinatory netherworld. Presented at scale on Federation Square’s iconic Big Screen, the work materialises a dark portal into a dimensional world whose activities may be taking place simultaneously to our own. Working with animator Simon Ward and sound designer Andrew Clark, here Johnson’s complex hand-drawn images have been rebirthed into chimerical 3D animations. Like Gleave’s celestial compositions, Webwurld collapses our perception of reality; time is neither fixed nor is it absolute and in the hands of the artist it can be manipulated and reconfigured.
London-based, New Zealand artist Sriwhana Spong’s 2016 video This Creature provides a sensorial travel through time and place. Presented within the historic surrounds of the Former Mounted Police Stables at VCA, the work channels the sensory-led tendencies of female medieval mystic Margery Kempe (known for writing the first recorded western autobiography) through a walk undertaken by the artist through London’s Hyde Park. Captured on iPhone, Spong explores and caresses the various surfaces of her surroundings while recounting her research into Kempe’s sensory engagement with the spiritual world and her own prediliction for touch, smell and sight. Both tactile and documentative, the work pays homage to the enduring power of the senses and the alternate experiences of the world they offer.
New Zealand born multimedia artist, Angela Tiatia, explores contemporary culture by drawing attention to its relationship to representation, gender, neo-colonialism and the commodification of the body and place. Screened at the street entrance to the newly opened Buxton Contemporary, Tiatia’s The Fall collapses conventional structures of time in a deceivingly lush portrait of human consumption and greed. Arguably a homage to Heironymous Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights (c.1490), Tiatia’s frenetic diorama of simultaneous events is captured in slow motion as the camera pans across a re-ocurring cast of characters engaged in frenetic acts of excess and devotion. Powerfully the work concludes its 360-degree navigation with the artist’s own image, and that of her camera crew, captured in reflection, hinting at their own complicity.