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You took me up to heaven When you took me in your arms I was dazzled by your kisses Blinded by your charms I was lost, in a Fool's Paradise Good and lost, in a Fool's Paradise …and so goes the lyrics sung by Buddy Holly in 1958. The illusory charms of a fool’s paradise promises a state of happiness that is bedded in the pure folly of false hope. The phrase first appeared in 1462 in a collection of English letters by William Paston — I wold not be in a folis paradyce — then used by William Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet in 1592 when Juliet’s nurse contemplates the young lovers’ doomed romance. By the time George Bernard Shaw used the phrase in Misalliance in 1910 it had become a cliché.   Dani Marti’s new series Fool’s Paradise takes this mysterious concept as the foundation for his illusory paintings made from reflectors in varying arrangements with titles as if from an ancient poem or song. Compositions and arrangements of moon yellow and dawn, coastal blue and honey sizzles, hospital green and golden peach, endless green and morning wisps sit alongside others of night-tide forest and sizzling thirst, deep victory and howls in blue and yellow; lastly slippery silvery stones and fading histories. Each arrangement weaves words, colours and emotions into a seamless, floating poem that draws the beholder into its mysteries and tales composed from reflectors that twist and writhe across the surface.   These paintings of folly and illusory promises are an alchemist’s dream of a fool’s paradise that seems just out of reach much like Caravaggio’s Narcissus (1597–99) who stares into the water forever fixated by his own reflection. As myth has it, Narcissus neither recognised himself nor realised that the mirror was a boundary between reality and fiction, an illusory trope that led to his demise. This almost melancholic desire of Narcissus for an unreciprocated love that was in fact only an image is played out in Marti’s sculptural paintings in the tension between touch and vision. The seductive surfaces of colourful reflectors, which are used in daily life for safety and protection, are presented here to be consumed and to be experienced as a mirage or a portal of endless screens much like the reflection of Narcissus. The series plays with the history of painting, such as colour, painterly surface, perspective and the ways in which light defines the surface of a thing. Painting, as Pliny the Elder knew only too well is illusion itself, as he witnessed Zeuxis’s painting of a bunch of grapes that appeared so real that bird’s flew down to peck them.


Instead of paint, Marti uses everyday materials, favouring process over image making and follows in a long line of artists challenging what painting is and what it does. Barnett Newman’s evocative black painting Abraham from 1949, whilst minimally painted, is indeed a portrait of his father. As he wrote in 1948 “We are freeing ourselves of the impediments of memory, association, nostalgia, legend, myth, or what have you, that have been the devices of Western European painting. Instead of making cathedrals out of Christ, man or ‘life,’ we are making it out of ourselves, out of our own feelings.” Marti also uses the genre of portraiture to deconstruct painting, rejecting paint and brush but embracing the structure of painting to represent pleasure, desire and his own mother. In the two series, The Pleasure Chest and Mother Marti weaves together vintage necklaces collected from charity shops for over two years. The weaving and tying of the individual necklaces reflect notions of time and labour, processes related to work and making. As a form of collective portraiture, the Mother series in compositions of gold, white and black, weave together necklaces made from beads, fake pearls, silver and gold, all of which are typical of costume jewellery discarded over a lifetime. They are the bits and bobs left at the bottom of a jewellery case perhaps worn lovingly, purchased on a whim, or precious gifts forgotten on the passing of the wearer. The baroque minimalist pieces evoke layers of histories and emotions of the former wearers with their stories woven together to form a sea of lost narratives. The Pleasure Chest series similarly suggests the secret lives of the former wearers, jewels received from partners, lovers or children with the title referencing a chest of treasures or the chest of the wearer on which the necklaces rest with their caressing touch. As in many of Marti’s works the layers of arcane meanings and narratives simultaneously intertwine and counter each other. The Pleasure Chest, whilst denoting sensuality and desire in its reductive minimalist surfaces, also brings to mind a queer dress-up box or sex shops where fantasies can be bought in the form of sex-toys and bondage wear. The paintings evoke a Freudian fetishist assemblage of sexuality, repression, motherhood, ecstasy and desire, themes that Marti has explored in earlier works. As if in a dream the works function through an irrational signifying chain of associations and an incongruous condensation of objects much like Max Ernst’s strange meeting of objects in the sewing machine and dissecting table, drawing on Freud’s notion of the Oedipal complex and unconscious desire.   In addition to the lusciousness of the paintings are two video works that continue the visceral experience from touch to sound and moving image. Continuing the themes of Narcissus and a fool’s paradise, Fallen Screens, comprising of 4 plasma screens in their fallen state, display glitter shimmering on a red carpet, writhing and pulsing as the light bounces off their glorious surfaces. The final work, Ice Blue is a video about Mark, a former antique dealer who lives in a small flat in New York City. Mark’s story unfolds over a sequence of vignettes, a succession of broken spectres of his former life that are caressed by the camera much like that of lover’s intimate touch. As our eyes wander over the enigmatic surfaces of antique possessions that fill the space, sounds of the city and a dripping tap emanate through the layers of colour and tone. An unspoken narrative of loss and failure evolves and scatters throughout the video reflecting his physical decline and addiction to the destructive forces of the drug known as Ice. Mark, or Iceblue as he is known on a gay hook-up website, appears here as a baroque sculptural figure, still and contemplative as if already frozen in time much like his discarded and lost past.   Donna West Brett, August 2016.    


SOLO EXHIBITIONS 2016 Still Life in Yellow, Steel and Mandarines, Newcastle University Gallery, Australia Fool’s Paradise, Dominik Merch Gallery , Sydney Black Sun, Frematle Arts Centre, for Perth International Art Festival, Perth 2015 Slow Show, Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide 2014 RUN, RUN, RUN , Arc One Gallery, Melbourne Surface Tension, Westfield Head Quaters, Sydney 2012 Against Day, Peloton Gallery , Sydney Mariposa (Butterfly), Breenspace, Sydney 2011 Book of miracles, Arc One Gallery, Melbourne TOUCH; The portraiture of Dani Marti, Newcastle Art Gallery, Australia 2010 Bacon’s Dog, Breenspace, Sydney 2009 Insideout, off site venue: 4 Parnie street, GoMA and Glasggay, Glasgow Time is the fire in which we burn, Arc One Gallery, Melbourne 2008 One breath below consciousness, Breenspace, Sydney 2007 Glitering Shadows, The Studio, Glasgay Festival, Glasgow Closer, Arc One Gallery, Melbourne Off my noodle, Live Sites, Newcastle Region Art Gallery and Newcastle City Council, NSW 2006 Dark Bones, Citric Gallery, Brescia, Italy The Seven Pleasures of Snow White, Sherman Galleries, Sydney 2005 There is nothing at the end of the rainbow, Arc One Gallery, Melbourne Variations in a Serious Black Dress, Viewing Gallery, Sherman Galleries, Sydney Orifices 2000–2004 and Looking for Felix 2000, Newcastle Region Art Gallery, NSW 2004–05 Variations in a Serious Black Dress, Canberra Contemporary Art Space, Canberra, travelling Hazelhurst Regional Gallery, Sydney; Port Macquarie Hastings Regional Gallery, NSW; Bathurst Regional Art Gallery, NSW; Albury Regional Art Gallery, NSW; La Trobe Regional Gallery, VIC; Monash University Art Museum, VIC 2004 Looking for Rover, Sherman Galleries, Sydney Orifices 2000–04, The Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, Singapore 2003 Variations in a Serious Black Dress, Room 35, Gitte Weise Gallery, Sydney Portrait of a young man returning a ladybird to the grass, Arc One Gallery, Melbourne 2002 Blue angels, Galeria Alejandro Sales, Barcelona Mother is crying, Briefcase Project and Block, Sydney  


2001 You make me feel like love, peace and happiness, Gallery 4A, Sydney I am forever blowing bubbles, Room 35, Gitte Weise Gallery, Sydney missing spain, Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, Sydney Enhance Systems and Orifices, Span Galleries, Melbourne Jamรณn, La Capella, Barcelona 2000 Thin Wall PB-I, Artspace, Sydney Coco, Rubyayre Gallery, Sydney Sorry I just dropped my guts, The Lounge, Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, Liverpool, Australia Looking for felix, Firstdraft Gallery, Sydney 1999โ€ฏ WS-S#, Room 35, Gitte Weise Gallery, Sydney GROUP EXHIBITIONS 2016 Immerse, Sandneskulturhus, Sandnes , Norway Collected II, Wangaratta Art Gallery, VIC, Australia Incandescence, Grace Cossington Smith Gallery , Sydney Linescapes, Gatackers Art Space, Maryborough, QLD , Australia 2015 Mutacan con las mujeres, Centro Cultural Mutacana 100, Chile La Vida es Esto, Domus Artium 2002, Salamanca, Spain 21, Casula Power House Museum, Casula, NSW, Australia Exhibition A, Lock-Up Gallery, curated by Carrie MIller, Newcastle, Australia Obey!, curated by Paco Barragan, Centro Cultural Matucana 100, Chile Video Stage- Art Stage Singapore 2015, curated by Paul Greenaway, Singapore Cementa 15, Kandos, NSW, Australia 2014 Adelaide Biennial, Gallery of South Australia Your Nostalgia is Killing Me!, Gallery of Modern Art , Brisbane, Australia One from none: the minimal aesthetic in art , Newcastle Art Gallery, Australia Nervous Tension, curated by Anabelle Lacroix, Careof , Milan, Italy Scanlines Remix, DLux Media, @ Brenda May Gallery, Sydney 2013 Fractions, PINTA Art Fair, video exhibition curated by Octavio Zaya, New York Blake Prize of Religious Art, College of Fine Arts, Sydney Videonale-14, Kunstmuseum Bonn, touring to Moscow during Moscow Biennal. ECONOMY, CCA Glasgow, and Stills, Edinburgh, UK From Madona to Madonna, DA2 , Salamanca, Spain Marked, Cessnock Regional Art Gallery, Cessnock, NSW, Australia DLUX Deluxe Editiions #1, Woolongong City Art Gallery, Rockhampton Art Gallery, Australia OPEN 100, Artangel, UK Fleurieu Art Prize, SA, Australia Woollahra Small Sculpture Award, Sydney


2012 Summer Exhibition, Lausberg Gallery, Toronto Silver 1987-2012, Wangaratta Art Gallery, VIC, Australia 2011 Group Show, Breenspace, Sydney Lets the healing begin, IMA, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane INHABIT, Third floor, building 2, 92 White Post Lane, London Art of the Ordinary, Arc One Gallery, Melbourne Espiritu de Epoca, Una Decada de Pintura, MIAC, Lanzarote Highly Strung, Peter Potter Gallery, Scotland Found, Glen Eira City Council Gallery, Melbourne 2010 Social Documents: The Ethics of Encounter, Stills, Edinburgh CinemaX; what I like to watch, MOCCA Toronto 100 YEARS: Highlights from the University of Queensland Art Collection, Brisbane Vocal Thoughts, CACSA, Contemporary Art Center in SA, Adelaide Cine the Barrio: La Velada de Santa Lucia, Maracaibo, Venezuela. Hands On, Hazelhurst Regional Art Gallery, Sydney 2009 Non Age, Kunstalle Winterthur, Zurich Runing Time: artist films in Scotland:1960 to now, Scottish Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh Biennal de Lazarote: Energy, Crisis, Creation, MIAC, Lanzarote, Canary Islands Où va la vidéo?, Kaunas In Art, Lituania; Tina B festival, Prague; Palazzo Ducale, Genova. A project curated by Fondazione March The University of Queensland National Artists’ Self-Portrait Prize 2009, UQM, Brisbane 2008 New, The University of Queensland Art Museum, Brisbane 50x50, Arc One Gallery, Melbourne Jam, Peloton, Sydney IDENTIDADES: Arte y sexos, Sala Astragal, Gijon, Spain Festival SOS 4.8, Dept. of Culture Region Murcia, Spain Gifts to the collection, Newcastle Region Art Gallery, Newcastle, Australia Glasgow International, GI 2008, Glasgow Australian, Casula Power House, Liverpool, Australia Plastic Theory, Peloton, Sydney 2007 M.A.S.H Expanded Painting, coinciding with Miami Basel, Miami Trouble with the weather, UTS Gallery, Sydney Cornice Art Fair, Venice He dominates all, Black Box, Puerto Rico 2006–07 Strange Cargo: Contemporary Art as a State of Encounter, Newcastle Region Art Gallery Newcastle, New South Wales, touring regional galleries in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland


2006 Tomorrow Now, Foundation Bevilacqua Lamasa, Venice The Projection Room, coinciding with the Liverpool Biennale, Liverpool A man’s world, Museum of Brisbane, Brisbane Love Video 2006, Gallery Sad- Artunison-, Moscow VAD Festival Internacional de Vídeo i Arts Digitals, Girona Iondromo Film Competition, M+B studio, Venice Goods to Declare: MFA International, Bezalel Art School, Tel Aviv Celeste Art Prize, Goldsmiths University of London, The Old Truman Brewery, London Marks and Comments, MFA degree show, Tramway, Glasgow and MoCa, Roskilde, Denmark Gridlines, Newcastle Region Art Gallery, Newcastle, New South Wales II Premio Internacional de Pintura de Castellón, Fundacion Astroc, Madrid SCREAM Sounding Images, in collaboration with Diana Simpson, CalArts, Los Angeles 2005 POST, Residence Gallery, London and Castlefield Gallery, Manchester II Premio Internacional de Pintura de Castellón, Espai, Castellon Glad-Wrap-Up, Sherman Galleries, Sydney VAD Festival Internacional de Vídeo i Arts Digitals, Girona Academy Now!, sound collaborations with Diana Simpson and Vivian Barty-Taylor, Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, Glasgow Good and Gruesome, CCA Student Lab Night, CCA, Glasgow Arafura Craft Exchange, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin New Town Pasadena, in collaboration with Diana Simpson, Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena Nuit Blanche, Paris 2004 One Of: Festivus 04, Sherman Galleries, Sydney PistilsI Petals, Fundacio Espais Conteporanis, Girona 2003 Festivus, Sherman Galleries, Sydney Summer Show, Arc One Gallery, Melbourne 25 years of Mardi Gras, Tin Sheds Gallery, Sydney Home Sweet Home: Works from the Peter Fay Collection, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra The Canberra Contemporary Art Space and The Art Store Art Award 2003, CCAS, Canberra 2002 Festivus, Sherman Galleries, Sydney Summer Show, Arc One Gallery, Melbourne Opening Show, Arc One Gallery, Melbourne Ruin, Helen Lempriere National Sculpture Award, Melbourne Dressing and Dreaming, Sherman Galleries Hargrave, Sydney Archive of Dud Slides, Briefcase, Sydney


2001 Artful Park 2001, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney 1x1, Boutwell Draper Gallery, Sydney Blue angels, Helen Lempriere National Sculpture Award, Melbourne Interiors, Object Gallery, Sydney Plastic by nature, Canberra Contemporary Art Space, Canberra Ante, Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival, Imperial Slacks Gallery, Sydney 2000 Twothousand&99, Exhibition and Performance Space, College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales, Sydney Not quite right, Grey Matter Contemporary Art, Sydney To exist (24), blue funghi, Grey Matter Contemporary Art, Sydney 1999 Three of a Kind, Gallery 19, Sydney 1998 Aula de Lletres, Barcelona, Spain 1997 What is love?, Toast II Gallery, Sydney Fund-raising exhibition for the AIDS Trust of Australia


‘The Pleasure Chest (Composi3on in White)’, 2015-2016, secondhand necklaces and beads on powder coated aluminium frame, 190 x 260 x 9cm

‘Fool’s Paradise (Arrangement in husky caves and belated nights)’, 2016, customise corner cube reflectors, glass beads on powder coated aluminium frame, 115 x 115 x 11 cm

‘Fool’s Paradise (Arrangement in sultry ponds and empty castles)’, 2016, customise corner cube reflectors, glass beads on powder coated aluminium frame, 115 x 115 x 11 cm

‘Fool’s Paradise (Arrangement in Arles yellow, flocked hay and apologe3c skies), 2016, customise corner cube reflectors, glass beads on powder coated aluminium frame, 115 x 115 x 11 cm

‘Fool’s Paradise (Arrangement in green wind, flesh and biLer sea- homage to Garcia Lorca), 2016, customise corner cube reflectors, glass beads on powder coated aluminium frame, 115 x 115 x 11 cm

‘Mother (Composi3on in Red)’, 2014-2016, Secondhand necklaces and beads on powder coated aluminium frame, 170 x 170 x 9 cm

‘Fool’s Paradise (Arrangement in Coastal Blue and Honey Sizzles)’, 2016, Customise corner cube reflectors, glass beads on powder coated aluminium frame, 185 x 185 x 17 cm

‘Fool’s Paradise (Arrangement in mild roses, lies and steel), 2016, customise corner cube reflectors, glass beads on powder coated aluminium frame, 115x115x11 cm


‘Fool’s Paradise (Arrangement in endless green and morning wisps)’ , 2016, Customise corner cube reflectors, glass beads on powder coated aluminium frame, 185x 185 x17 cm

‘Fool’s Paradise (Arrangement in moon yellow and dawn)’, 2016, customise corner cube reflectors, glass beads on powder coated aluminium frame, 115 x 115 x 11 cm

‘Fool’s Paradise (Arrangement in slippery silvery stones and fading histories)’ , 2016, Customise corner cube reflectors, glass beads on powder coated aluminium frame, 185 x 260 x 17 cm

‘Fool’s Paradise (Arrangement in night 3de forest and sizzling thirst)’ , 2016, Customise corner cube reflectors, glass beads on powder coated aluminium frame, 185 x 185 x 17 cm

‘Mother (Composi3on in Gold)’, 2014-2016, Secondhand necklaces and beads on powder coated aluminium frame, 170 x 170 x 9 cm

‘Fool’s Paradise (Arrangement in hospital green and golden peaches)’ , 2016, Customise corner cube reflectors, glass beads on powder coated aluminium frame, 185 x 185 x 17 cm

‘Fool’s Paradise (Arrangement in Coastal Blue and Honey Sizzles)’, 2016, Customise corner cube reflectors, glass beads on powder coated aluminium frame, 185 x 185 x 17 cm

‘Mother (Composi3on in White and Green)’, 2014-2016, Secondhand necklaces and beads on powder coated aluminium frame, 170 x 170 x 9 cm


‘Mother (Composi3on in Black and Blue )’, 2014-2016, Secondhand necklaces and beads on powder coated aluminium frame, 170 x 170 x 9 cm

‘ICEblue’, 2016, 5K video, 2:1, stereo, 5:54 minutes, edi3on of 3 + 1 AP, sound design by Alex Macia

‘Fallen Screens’, 2016, 4 second hand screens purchased on Gumtree, HDV captured with iPhone, 3:50 minutes, no sound


DANI MARTI 'FOOL'S PARADISE'  

DANI MARTI 'FOOL'S PARADISE'

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