Vanishing Point Consuelo Cavaniglia | Ellen Dahl Yvette Hamilton| Taloi Havini | Salote Tawale
Vanishing Point Consuelo Cavaniglia | Ellen Dahl | Yvette Hamilton | Taloi Havini | Salote Tawale
A vanishing point is the point in the distance where parallel lines converge or a point in time when things cease to exist and disappear. It is both a space and a time. Vanishing Point is an artist-initiated project by an all-female collective with diverse practices. The artists explore the intersection of photography and the island as a concept, questioning the definition of borders and by extension the definition of personal, cultural and political identities. In this exhibition the island is the point of convergence where opposing ideas meet â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the visible and the invisible, the known and unknown, reality and illusion, histories and present realities. The five artists have a shared interest in photographic practices. This includes traditional photography and film, or the reinterpretation of photographic equipment to question what is being seen, and repurposing the mechanics of a camera to create technically complex works. While each artist approaches the use of the photographic lens in a unique way, collectively it provides them with ways to view, frame and control what is seen. Overall, the works present a range of propositions around the idea of the island and connections we make to these land forms in relation to lived experience and personal narratives, social political considerations, geographical explorations, environmental concerns and cultural histories.
Opposite: Ellen Dahl, Lost I 2017 (detail), archival pigment print Cover: Taloi Havini, Imaginary Line II 2018 (detail), digital print, wallpaper
An invisible world of infinite possibility Chloé Wolifson
My year four teacher’s go-to art lesson involved a piece of A3 paper, an HB pencil and a 30cm ruler. We were instructed to draw a horizon line across the page, put a dot in the middle of that horizon, and rule lines radiating outwards to the edges of the paper. The activity was called ‘one point perspective’ and those lines, which became the edge of a road, the fences of houses or a railway track, disappeared into the original central dot or ‘vanishing point’. It seemed to be a simple exercise designed to teach us about how we view and understand the world. A vanishing point can be thought of in relation to both space and time - a point of unreachable convergence in the distance. For the artists in this exhibition it also stands as a way to think about the island – a theme which unites all their practices. Islands too are places of convergence – literally, of ocean and land, of sky and horizon, but also conceptually, of isolation and occupation, of illusion and reality.
For these artists, this space where opposing ideas meet is ripe with possibility. The project, which is artist-led and includes all women practitioners, came about when artist Ellen Dahl noticed some points of connection between her own exploration of ideas of the island, and that of fellow artists Consuelo Cavaniglia and Yvette Hamilton. This led to the first iteration of Vanishing Point at the Perth Centre for Photography in 2017. Subsequently the trio invited Taloi Havini and Salote Tawale to join for this expanded exhibition at Hazelhurst. The project’s narrative has evolved out of this conversation between women artists and in the case of some of these artists, is a reflection of particularly female perspectives in their works. These artists all use lens-based tools which provide them with a certain way of viewing, framing and controlling what they see. However while this includes more typical media such as
photography and film, Vanishing Point challenges this traditional view of the lens. It considers ways of seeing in our contemporary world, from capturing the fleeting to archiving the past. Ellen Dahl grew up on an island in far northern Norway, and the images she presents in Vanishing Point are investigations of island landscapes which lie at the periphery of continents at either edge of the world. Their inhospitable monochrome forms possess edges defined by the negative space around them at some points, while dissolving into sea or sky at others. In this way they form psychological investigations of the island paradox – a place clearly delineated and edged,
Above: Yvette Hamilton Phantom Island 2017, animated lightbox - backlit transparency, mirrored acrylic, LED lights, microprocessor
yet often visible only from a distance, perhaps in danger of disappearing into the vanishing point. Yvette Hamilton’s interest in the mysterious phenomena of phantom islands - those which have been mapped but later proven not to exist – echoes her own personal experience as an adopted person, of the mystery that lies at the centre of her identity. Hamilton, who is of Mauritian heritage, utilises imagery sourced from her only visit to the island, (a trip that she’d hoped would ground her identity, but instead revealed that her hopes for this place were nothing more than illusion) in a series of works where images appear and disappear before
the viewer’s eyes. She explores this universal theme of illusion in relation to the island through the medium of lights, mirrors and apertures – the very building blocks of photographic vision – in a series that references vision, navigation, memory and truth. Taloi Havini’s wallpaper, an imaginary line, features images of Bougainville which the artist recently discovered in her parents’ archive, some of which depict the particular places Havini spent her youth, while the video work over and over contains contemporary footage taken by the artist while diving. The imaginary line in Havini’s work evokes the horizon occupied by islands in these found photos, the line that connects the artist to generations of predecessors and positions her as a documenter of these spaces, and the line that leads our eye to the vanishing point in an image. Salote Tawale’s Constant interruption, always changing brings together performance, lens-based work and drawing to reprise and shape the artist’s memories of her time in her family’s Fijian village home. In this case, the vanishing point is a convergence of Tawale’s mixed Australian-Fijian heritage while the island itself simultaneously contains and excludes her as a member of its diaspora. People and landscape are fleeting images in Left: Consuelo Cavaniglia Untitled 2017 (detail), pigment print on archival paper. Photo: Ellen Dahl
this work, their forms dissolving as quickly as we imagine we see them. In this way Tawale investigates how identity is formed when all these elements converge. Rather than directly utilising photographic processes Consuelo Cavaniglia’s practice references photography and film. Optics, visual illusions and mirroring play an important role. Her Untitled work takes the form of an ‘infinity screen’, a device used as a backdrop in photographic shoots where the subject is posed on a roll of paper or fabric cascading from wall to floor, contriving an invented neutral or non-space. In this work Cavaniglia has included a subtle horizon-like line in the midst of the colour gradations on her work, further confusing our sense of where the screen is positioning us in space. Thinking back to my year four art lesson, I see now that ‘one point perspective’ was a misnomer. The apparently single point is where everything we see converges and disappears, sucked into an invisible world of infinite possibility. And as the artists in Vanishing Point show, sometimes that point is an island captured in the distance by an aperture close to us, an isolated landmark which simultaneously contains and confounds.
Consuelo Cavaniglia Consuelo Cavaniglia is a crossdisciplinary artist whose work focuses on how we see and understand space. Her work often employs subtle visual illusions to unsettle our sense of space and suggest instability and uncertainty within the structures that we inhabit. In Untitled (2018) identical forms use reflected colour and subtle geometric twists to question what is perceived and what is real. They rely on illusion and tie to narratives around the idea of the island that infers a place of desire, places that are not real, visions and mirages. Cavanigliaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s large airbrushed work, Untitled (2017), references infinity screens â&#x20AC;&#x201C; screens used in photographic shoots that locate people or objects in non-spaces. The work refers to these supposedly neutral, invented or imaginary spaces.
Left: Untitled 2018, plywood, timber, acrylic paint Next page: Untitled 2017, pigment print on archival paper. Photo: Ellen Dahl
Ellen Dahl Ellen Dahl is a Sydney based, Norwegian born artist working across photography, video, sound and projection. Often with the landscape as an entry point, her practice traces the intersection of memory and identity with a physical, political or psychological sense of place. For Vanishing Point she has created a body of black/white photographic works that reflects on the island as the notion of the definitive edge, with its hard boundaries and fixed limits. Lost I and Lost II consider the island as a concept where one substance ends and another starts. Me and you. Us and them. Yet the shoreline is corroding and new islands are born.
to create the experience of isolation and being cut-off from the mainland, while frequently destabilizing visual perception, blurring the lines between the real and the imagined. Dahlâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s artistic practice engages with photography and video to explore the environment as a complex site of personal, political or cultural identification, while also existing as a site of reverie and inspiration. This is based on a deep belief that our relationship with our environment and willingness to act in its defence is connected to our sense of place and geographical belonging.
In Lightness can be so heavy Iâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;III Dahl continues this theme, but rather than considering the demarcation to be fixed, it is now in constant flux. Originally hailing from past the Arctic Circle in Norway, she here focuses her lens towards snow rather than water as the surrounding force. This harsh environment has the ability
Left from above: Lightness can be so heavy I 2018, archival pigment prints; installation, Lightness can be so heavy I-II 2018 Next pages: Lost I and Lost II 2017, archival pigment print on banner mesh; installation, What remains 2017, HD single channel video 9.38min looped All photos: Silversalt
Yvette Hamilton Yvette Hamilton is a lens-based artist whose practice takes an exploratory approach to vision and visuality, specifically in relation to the photographic. For Vanishing Point she has created a suite of three new works that all reflect on the idea of ‘phantom island’ – an island that has been mapped, but through mistake or subterfuge has subsequently been proven to not exist. In Dead reckoning I – III 2018 the artist repeatedly attempts to draw, from memory, the outline of a series of personally significant islands, aiming to explore the role of error and failure within both navigation and memory. In the large light-based installation, I Just Have This Feeling, semaphoric symbology act as quasi-navigational markings that attempt to chart a course through an unknown sea. The work mimics maritime navigational markers in both form and light patterning. In some sections of the sequence, the lights are actually conveying navigational instruction, but Left: Dead reckoning I-III 2018, laser-cut acrylic Next page: I just have this feeling 2018, mirror film, LED lights, microprocessor Photos: Silversalt
this code is quickly broken down into a chaotic rhythm where the reliability of the message is called into question, and we are literally ‘left at sea’. In the Phantom Island series, a collection of animated lightboxes aim to draw parallels between the idea of the self and the notion of a phantom island – an island that has been mapped but subsequently proven to not exist. These cartographic anomalies echo Yvette Hamilton’s own personal experience, as an adopted person, of the mystery that lies at the centre of her identity. Hamilton, who is of Mauritian heritage, utilises imagery sourced from her only visit to the island, (a trip that she’d hoped would ground her identity, but instead revealed that her hopes for this place were nothing more than illusion) in a series of works where images appear and disappear before the viewer’s eyes.
Taloi Havini Interdisciplinary artist Taloi Havini works across ceramics, photography, video and mixed media installation. Havini was raised in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville where islands are firmly part of her consciousness. On a recent trip back to Bougainville Havini discovered a collection of severely deteriorated Kodachrome slides from her parent’s archive. Seeing the slides evoked ideas of island life in the tropics during the ‘60s and ‘70s, some depicting the very places where Havini was raised in the 80s.
in and floats above the coral reefs of North Bougainville. Coral spawning is a rarely seen annual event occurring after a full moon and when there is low light, where colonies of coral polyps release egg and sperm bundles for external fertilisation. Captured in her video, Havini and her relatives wait on the reef to witness the underwater phenomenon as clouds of spawn wiggle and float to the water’s surface, caught in a net for closer inspection.
Several of these islands near Bougainville are disappearing due to increased global temperatures and rising sea levels, forcing relocation of their local populations.
Rising sea temperatures endanger the future of coral production in these vital island ecosystems, leaving the question of whether new islands will form and grow in the future.
an imaginary line I and II are large-scale digital reproductions of these island photos that were captured decades ago. They appear here only as distant memories, captured in time, but never to seen in the same way again.
For the artist, the connection between the islands, time and a generation is a long uninterrupted line, growing and changing rather than fixed and preserved.
over and over is filmed through the artist’s own perspective as Havini dives
Left from above: an imaginary line I and II 2018, digital print, wallpaper Next page: over and over 2018 (detail), single-channel, silent HD video, duration: 4.07
Taloi Havini is represented by Andrew Baker Art Dealer, Brisbane.
Salote Tawale Salote Tawale is a multidisciplinary artist working in performance installation. Cultural identity is a focus in her artwork. Foregrounding the experience of a translocated Indigeneity, the condition of Tawaleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s practice is one that is removed from land and separated from traditional practices, and consequently repositioned within immigrant histories. Constant interruption, always changing, is a self-performance, utilising photomedia, painting and drawing. Tawale brings together remnants from personal memories faded through time of her experiences in her village Nakuriwai, Rewa in Fiji. This work speaks to diaspora identity, cultural exchanges devolved through the disappearance of customary practices and the passing of older generations, the disappearance of information through the force of the colonial project.
Left and next page: installation details, Constant interruption, always changing 2018 (wall detail), video, photographs, acrylic paint, rocks, cord, wood, calico, wall paper, cloth tape, Fiji radio. Photos: Silversalt
Acknowledgements The artists would like to thank Hazelhurst Arts Centre and the team at Sutherland Shire Council Sign Shop. Vanishing Point Consuelo Cavaniglia | Ellen Dahl | Yvette Hamilton | Taloi Havini | Salote Tawale 21 April - 10 June 2018 View the Vanishing Point Artist Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7hdU9x4dI8U
ÂŠ 2018 Hazelhurst Arts Centre 782 Kingsway Gymea NSW 2227 Australia T: 61 2 8536 5700 E: firstname.lastname@example.org www.hazelhurst.com.au
Previous page: Consuelo Cavaniglia, Untitled 2018 (detail), plywood, timber, acrylic paint. Photo: Silversalt Left: wallpaper detail, Salote Tawale, Constant interruption, always changing 2018 (wall detail), video, photographs, acrylic paint, rocks, cord, wood, calico, wall paper, cloth tape, Fiji radio