Thanks to artist and writer Stella Rosa McDonald for her review of our 29.10.14 exhibition
Where Art Belongs
A discarded ceramic pot. A pocketknife. An errant scrabble tile. Broken glass. Who can
tell which of these objects are negligible and which are destined to be art?
At Home @ 735, a terrace in inner city Redfern, the boundary between art and artefact
seems destined to shift. Here, art lives in flux alongside the two residents of the house,
who double as the gallery’s curators and staff. At openings people linger for longer;
comfortably on the street, watching videos from the couch, they wait their turn to view
works displayed at the end of a narrow hallway upstairs, as if they were politely queuing
for the bathroom at a house party. A pub, a mounted police unit and a teahouse are the
gallery’s notable neighbours. No hierarchy could make sense of these curious
proximities. But who can say where art belongs.
Defined only by their dates, the shows at 735 seem to welcome dissonance, as if time
alone gathers its own meaning. Without rhetoric we are left to feel, and 29.10.14 feels
motivated by the slippage between art and artefact and the useful beauty of common
Occupying two museum style vitrines throughout the space are NOT’s slip cast Buddha’s
and vessels. They are hands free, mass produced and tautological objects. As
reproductions of reproductions they cleverly say the same thing twice. One can imagine a
shop sign advertising them as “uniquely flawed for authenticity”. Like Cameron
Ferguson’s watercolours of found artefacts—drawn and then immersed in beeswax—
they slip between history and its purchasable image to occupy an intriguing and
anachronistic space between the object and the relic.
Portraying the vernacular of a person is the domain of the portrait-image, yet Yvette
Hamilton’s photographic series Here There, in which virtual reality goggles obscure
women’s faces, are portraits that defy depiction. It is as if both subject and viewer are
victims of a form of blindness. The photographs amplify the traditional disconnect
between presence and absence that we sense when looking at the subject of a portrait.
Hamilton’s subjects occupy both physical and virtual space. They act as reminders to the
experience of being a viewer and being viewed, a sensation highlighted by being a visitor
in the changing topography of the 735 home/gallery space.
Ngaio Fitzpatrick’s work is perhaps the shining fissure between these two binaries.
Fitzpatrick’s video A Lightness of Being documents large, suspended sheets of industrial
glass before they are released and shatter on the ground. Dystopian spires, assembled
from the broken glass we see in the video, is an installation of jagged pinnacles that
bleed out toward the centre of the first floor lounge room. Susan Joy Kreig teases out
further domestic subtleties in Obscure, synonyms of ‘unknown’, a work of assemblage
made from the humble scrabble tile. Kreig’s arranged tiles make tangible the visual life of
words and tease out the semiotics of language, framing communication as game.
Throughout 29.10.14 it is the life of the home that I am reminded of, particularly the
telling details of its minutiae. And whether by accident or by design the artists here all
touch upon its secret junk and its silent corners. It is, after all, a gallery in the shape of a