N STUDIO EDITIO
OBJECT PROUDLY ACKNOWLEDGES THE CORPORATE PARTNERS, DONORS, TRUSTS AND FOUNDATIONS WHO SUPPORT OUR ACTIVITIES We have the privilege of working alongside Major Partner Bombay Sapphire Bombay Sapphire is a trademark.
Media Partner Vogue Living
Supporting Partners Living Edge Cafe Sydney Freehills Frost Design Grace Fine Art Signwave Newtown Eight Hotels Australia
Foundations and Grant Makers Ian Potter Foundation Sherman Foundation The Thomas Foundation Thyne Reid Charitable Trusts City of Sydney
Corporate Members Dinosaur Designs SEMA
Ofﬁcial Beverage Partners Cumulus Wines Heineken James Squire Sanpellegrino
We have also been fortunate to receive support from some passionate individuals who have shown their commitment to the work we do in promoting Australian designers and makers Major Donors
‘ Like me, Object believes in the future of Australian design. As a long-time supporter of Object and as their newest ambassador, I am excited about the potential of design to shape our cultural, intellectual and everyday lives. With your support, Object can continue to launch and nurture Australia’s best designers and makers.’
Living Treasures Margaret Pomeranz David & Helen Rohr Alan D Rose, AO Freestyle Sharlene Chin Sarah Gardner New Designers Program Two anonymous supporters Object Magazine Andrew Barron & Steven Pozel Richard Whiteley & Ann Jackle
David Clark Ambassador for Object and Editor, Vogue Living (AS AT MARCH 2008)
2 OBJECT MAGAZINE STUDIO EDITION
Chairman’s Circle Jenny Bonnin Ann Lewis AM Crispin Rice Director’s Circle Frankie Airey Jennifer Bott David Clark Bradford Gorman Ginny Green Davina Jackson & Chris Johnson Michael King Rosemary & Robert King John Reid Sue-Ann Wallace Richard Whiteley & Ann Jackle Curator’s Circle Frankie Airey Cas Bennetto Linda Biancardi Ben Edols & Kathy Elliott Kon Gouriotis OAM Louise Ingram Edward & Cynthia Jackson Jane Jose Koskela Ken Maher Shane Simpson David & Amber Ungar
OFFICIAL BEVERAGE PARTNERS
OBJECT MAGAZINE STUDIO EDITION 3
MANAGING EDITOR Leanne Amodeo EDITORIAL TEAM Leanne Amodeo Stephen Goddard Kathryn Hunyor Brian Parkes Steven Pozel COPY EDITOR Theresa Willsteed ART DIRECTION AND DESIGN Stephen Goddard COVER PHOTOGRAPHY Vision boards from past and upcoming collections shot in the design studio of Mokum Textiles, Sydney. Photo: Joy Lai
PUBLISHER Object: Australian Centre for Craft and Design Director: Steven Pozel Associate Director: Brian Parkes Object supports and promotes contemporary craft and design through exhibitions, publications and retail activities. Object: Australian Centre for Craft and Design 415 Bourke Street Surry Hills NSW Australia 2010 Telephone: +61 2 9361 4555 Facsimile: +61 2 9361 4533 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.object.com.au ABN 42 002 037 881
ADVISORS Stephen Bowers Managing Director, JamFactory Contemporary Craft & Design (Adelaide) David Clark Editor, Vogue Living Australia (Sydney) Philip Clarke Director, Objectspace (Auckland) Rhana Devenport Director, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery (New Plymouth) Melanie Egan Head, CRAFT, Harbourfront Centre (Toronto) Allison Gray Assistant Curator, Museum and Art Gallery of Northern Territory (Darwin) David McFadden Chief Curator, Museum of Arts and Design (New York) Tina Oldknow Curator, Modern Glass, Corning Museum of Glass (New York)
SUPPORTERS AND SPONSORS Object: Australian Centre for Craft and Design is supported by the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian, State and Territory Governments. Object is assisted by the New South Wales Government – Arts NSW, and the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body. Object is a non-profit organisation – exhibitions, programming and operations are also funded through contributions from foundations, individuals and corporations, and through commercial activities. Object thanks our supporters, partners and donors for their commitment. We depend on their generosity to continue our mission of supporting and promoting contemporary craft and design.
Claire Regnault Programmes Developer, TheNewDowse (Wellington)
FEATURES 20 THE STUDIO IN THE CITY An essential part of any maker’s or designer’s practice, the urban studio is seemingly under threat. Sandra Kaji-O’Grady champions the value of such studios within Australia’s current cultural and economic climates and reminds us why they are such necessary places of creativity and production. 35 YOUR STUDIO, YOUR HOME GROUND What do you imagine a day in the life of a studio artist would be like? Moya Costello walks in their shoes, sits at their desk and contemplates the possibilities. STUDIOS 08 MANISH ARORA Meet the man whom some are calling ‘India’s Christian Lacroix’. Alice Cicolini introduces us to the seemingly limitless talents of New Delhi-based fashion designer, Manish Arora, and his ‘trademark dramatic fluro-tribal’ garments. 16 LYNDA WARNER The Tasmanian studio of Lynda Warner looks out ‘over the end of the world’ giving her a creative perspective that she considers ‘sharper and clearer’. Stephen Goddard talks to a graphic designer who has immersed herself in her surrounding landscape. 24 MATERIALBYPRODUCT Imagine a little wooden house with between three to 12 people squeezed into its front two rooms and you have the engine room of Melbourne-based Susan Dimasi and Chantal McDonald’s inspired fashion label, MATERIALBYPRODUCT. Kate Rhodes finds out what is at the core of MBP’s craft. 30 MOKUM Leanne Amodeo visits the Sydney textile design studio of Mokum and meets with designers Cathy Brown, Bethany Linz and Tandarra Rothman, who reveal the process behind their widely coveted fabrics.
Kate Rhodes Curator, Craft Vic (Melbourne) Gareth Williams Curator, Department of Furniture, Textiles and Fashion, Victoria and Albert Museum (London)
38 MARC PETROVIC For someone who never planned to be a glassmaker, US-based Marc Petrovic’s output is prodigious. Shannon Sharpe meets with a maker whose dedicated practice combines the beauty of his material with the highly conceptual ideas surrounding its presentation.
SUBSCRIPTIONS Susan Hawthorne Telephone: +61 2 9361 4555 email@example.com ADVERTISING Kristy Toepfer Telephone: +61 2 9361 4555 firstname.lastname@example.org
Object Magazine acknowledges the generous sponsorship of Creative New Zealand Toi Aotearoa.
PRINT Printpoint, Brisbane, Australia Telephone: +61 7 3356 6977 Facsimile: +61 7 3352 5433 DISTRIBUTION Australia Specialist bookstores: Selectair Telephone/Facsimile: +61 2 9371 8866 www.selectair.com.au Newsagencies: Network Services Co. Telephone: +61 2 9282 8777 www.networkservicescompany. com.au
© Copyright is held by Object Magazine. Reproduction without permission is prohibited. The publisher is not responsible for statements or opinions expressed in Object Magazine, nor do such statements reflect the views of the publisher, its board, or Object Magazine’s Editorial Team.
DISTRIBUTION International New Zealand: Independent Magazine Distributors Ltd, Auckland Telephone: +64 9 527 0500
ISSN 1038-1856 Post Print Approved PP242296/00126
42 SARA CARONE Adelia Borges invites us into the studio of Sara Carone, a Brazilian ceramicist who works in the traditional Japanese technique of Raku. 46 MOWANJUM ART AND CULTURE CENTRE From the air, the Mowanjum Art and Culture Centre resembles a giant Wandjina, the creation spirits of the three tribes that inhabit the Mowanjum community. Maya Haviland takes us through the newly opened gallery and studio, a ‘sophisticated act of contemporary cultural transmission’. 50 ALAN PRESTON The work of Alan Preston has been widely celebrated and now we have the opportunity to become emerged in the ordered chaos of his studio. Brian Parkes explores this extraordinary place of creativity in the context of New Zealand’s influential jewellery scene. REGULARS 7
OBJECT MAGAZINE ISSUE 55 April – July 2008
10 OBJECT EYE An eyeful of objects and ideas to inspire from around the world
OBJECT MAGAZINE 2008 – 2009 Issue 56, August 2008 Issue 57, December 2008 Issue 58, April 2009 Issue 59, August 2009
54 REVIEWS Space for Your Future; Out of the Ordinary: Spectacular Craft; Culture Warriors: National Indigenous Art Triennial; Octavia Cook: Accoutrements for the Entitled by Cook & Co; Urban Myths & Modern Fables; Utterubbish: A Collection of Useless Ideas; Sculpture: Fred Fisher; News from Islands; Best in Show: Antarctic Riviera
OBJECT MAGAZINE STUDIO EDITION 5
INSPIRING EXHIBITIONS OF CONTEMPORARY CRAFT AND DESIGN VISIT COLLECT AT OBJECT GALLERY
5 APRIL – 15 JUNE 2008
21 JUNE – 24 AUGUST 2008
COLLECT: FINELY CRAFTED OBJECTS FOR LIFE
Design Now! national graduate exhibition
How You Make It Curated by Kate Rhodes
Australian-designed jewellery, glass, ceramics and homeware
Botanicals Curated by Kylie Johnston
Design Now! is presented by Object Gallery. Major Sponsor Living Edge Image: Sian Power, Poppy, 2007, digital print. Photo: courtesy the artist
Refashioning The Fashion Curated by Debbie Pryor How You Make It is presented collaboratively by Craft Victoria and Object: Australian Centre for Craft and Design and is supported by Object’s National Exhibitions Strategy, a program funded by the Australia Council. Image: MATERIALBYPRODUCT, Creative Direction: 3 Deep Design. Photo: Susan Grdnac
OBJECT GALLERY ST MARGARETS, 417 BOURKE STREET SURRY HILLS NSW 2010 OPEN TUESDAY TO SUNDAY 11AM – 6PM (CLOSED MONDAY) TEL: +61 2 9361 4511 FREE ADMISSION
6 OBJECT MAGAZINE STUDIO EDITION
Ben Sewell, hand-blown and cut glass. Photo: Tim Robinson
‘ And then an epiphany. The thing taking shape in that everydayness. And you, recognising the point when the work comes together, gelling as if by magic, seeing the light glimmer in the opening at the end in the near distance where there is another beginning.’ Moya Costello
The seemingly mysterious, and often wondrous, site of creativity – the artist’s studio – is so often overlooked when viewing a finished piece of glass or a beautifully designed chair that it’s easy to forget where these works actually came from. They were all borne from somewhere – yes, they came from an idea – but these ideas all needed an environment through which to manifest. This issue of Object Magazine offers a privileged view into The Studio as an important part of any maker’s or designer’s practice. In past issues our regular Studio feature has always been well received and we have taken our cue from that. We explore eight studios from various corners of the world, and have also invited novelist Moya Costello to offer her words and thoughts (from which I’ve quoted, to the left). Our second major feature, by Dr Sandra Kaji-O’Grady, explores the cultural and economic benefits of creative practitioners and the value of the urban studio that seems under threat in most major cities. It is something we feel very strongly right here in our own neighbourhood of Surry Hills, and something that we hope can be addressed sooner rather than later. In format, content and structure, this issue is very different to anything we have done in the past and becomes a rather fitting way to mark 15 years of production. It signals a change in direction for Object Magazine as we have come to know it, and introduces our new series of specially-themed issues that will periodically punctuate our usual production. We view 2008 as a year of transition, development and experimentation for the magazine, and so we will be bringing you three issues that look and feel very different to each other. Our December issue will herald 2009 with a new face and new attitude. One thing we are passionate about is creating a publication that is environmentally friendly and that’s why we have also decided to trial an uncoated paper. A defining characteristic of our new direction is the introduction of our newly-created Editorial Team. Whereas in the past we have been honoured to work with Guest Editors such as Merryn Gates, Grace Cochrane and Rhana Devenport, we are now in the privileged position of working with more than just one Editor at a time. I would like to introduce Leanne Amodeo, Stephen Goddard, Kathryn Hunyor and Brian Parkes as the new Editorial Team, and invite you to sit back and enjoy the new look, new read Object Magazine. Steven Pozel
OBJECT MAGAZINE STUDIO EDITION 7
In 2001, Manish Arora was based out of a small studio in ShahpurJat, an agricultural smallholding zone in the centre of one of the world’s fastest growing cities, New Delhi.
THIS PAGE AND CENTRE SPREAD: MANISH ARORA’S FLAGSHIP STORE, LODHI COLONY MARKET, NEW DELHI, HOUSING HIS THREE LABELS: MANISH ARORA, FISH FRY AND GET LAID. PHOTOS COURTESY THREECLOTHINGCO OPPOSITE PAGE, BOTTOM RIGHT: GRAPHIC DETAIL TAKEN FROM MANISH ARORA WEBSITE HOMEPAGE: WWW.MANISHARORA.WS
1. Manish Arora, interview with the author, 2007.
8 OBJECT MAGAZINE STUDIO EDITION
His amused landlord would sit under the peepul tree, bidi (Indian cigarette) in hand, watching the hordes of glamorous, high-heeled ladies pushing past the cows as they beat a path to Arora’s front door. Already singled out within India as one of the most talented new designers of his generation, his consequent rise to become, after his Spring ‘07 debut Paris Fashion Week show, ‘India’s Christian Lacroix/Jean Paul Gaultier/John Galliano (delete as desired)’, has been meteoric. It follows four seasons on the catwalk at London Fashion Week (Arora is one of the few international designers ever invited to show there), and lucrative, coveted contracts with both Reebok and MAC. Back in New Delhi, Arora has now shifted to Noida and employs over 300 people directly in his factory to produce his trademark dramatic, fluro-tribal pieces on a massive scale. Rightly proud of India’s rich heritage of the handmade, Arora clearly revels in the fact that the kind of heavily hand-worked pieces he produces (3-D luminous butterflies, gilded padded hearts, embroidery made from old watches, intricate Kashmiristitched city-scapes, chain-mail Benarsari woven silks) would be considered haute couture in the West, but can easily be made in quantity, and to a high standard, in India. Often accused in the early days of ignoring the possibilities of Indian craft, his detractors had clearly not understood what it was that Arora was trying to achieve – far from ignoring it, Arora is utterly rooted in craft’s potential, achieving a new language for the handmade that is impossible to replicate by machine. ‘The danger for Indian craft is in a lack of newness. I’m excited by taking techniques that have become boring, and finding them a fresh direction in out-ofcontext places. My intention is to show the world what is possible here; I am proud of this nation, and excited to be part of a generation of people bringing back respect, attention and interest that wasn’t there ten years ago.’1 www.manisharora.ws ALICE CICOLINI IS A WRITER, CURATOR AND CREATIVE DIRECTOR BASED IN NEW DELHI.
OBJECT MAGAZINE STUDIO EDITION 9 OBJECT MAGAZINE
A NEW CONCEPT London’s Design Museum farewelled curator Libby Sellers not so long ago and we’ve been aching to know what she’s been up to ever since – well, as of now, we need ask no more. Since late 2007, Gallery Libby Sellers has been in operation showcasing British-based designers in different venues and locations. Her ‘gallery’ doesn’t operate in the traditional sense – instead Sellers commissions new work from up and coming designers and stages one-off shows in pop-up spaces and temporary venues. Last October saw a disused farmer’s workshop play host, and December utilised a warehouse in Miami’s Design District. The coming year promises more of the same guerrilla exhibition tactics and, with past exhibitors including Julia Lohmann, Stuart Haygarth and Peter Marigold, we can expect to be impressed by more new British design. www.libbysellers.com
IMITATION With a recent graduate collection that did more than turn heads, we knew it would only be a matter of time before we heard from Kasia Bilinski again. The Australian fashion designer won the Object Gallery Award for Design for Manufacture in Object’s new design 2006 exhibition and now, two years later, she’s the newly appointed lead designer for Imitation of Christ’s diffusion line, Imitation. The New Yorkbased fashion house surely sensed a kindred spirit in Bilinski, whose astounding garments create a visual spectacle when layered on the body. Her ready to wear collection signals a change in direction for the label, with a new emphasis on accessibility. The Spring 2008 range is fluid and ethereal, with Bilinski’s signature layering and strong construction reminding us of the label’s reputation for always pushing things to the very edge. So for those of you who could previously only marvel at the unattainable cool of IOC, it can now be all yours. www.theimitation.com KASIA BILINSKI WEARING IMITATION, 2007. PHOTO: MARK BORTHWICK
CONTRIBUTORS: LEANNE AMODEO, MANDIE ARMSTRONG, KENNIE WARD
STUART HAYGARTH, TAIL LIGHT (LIMITED EDITION OF SEVEN), 2007. COURTESY GALLERY LIBBY SELLERS. PHOTO: STUART HAYGARTH
PATTERN YOUR LIFE The recently established elly nelly studio is the brainchild of mother and daughter textile designers, Elaine and Nell Oliver. Launching their first collection of wall graphics on-line, the duo is on a mission to pattern the lives of all whom they encounter. With Elaine based in Queensland and Nell in New York City, the two are continuously sending sketches, designs and artwork back and forth via the wonders of modern technology. The actual production takes place in their NYC studio, and the resulting adhesive vinyl decals are shipped worldwide. Their passion for pattern has produced a range of designs that range from the pretty and whimsical to the bold and geometric. Daughter Nell’s freelance work has also seen her producing textile designs for the iconic Diane von Furstenburg – as Mum did herself, over some 30 years ago. www.ellynelly.com/html DECO VINYL DESIGN. COURTESY ELAINE AND NELL OLIVER
10 OBJECT MAGAZINE STUDIO EDITION
THE MOODROOM Montreal-based MOODROOM was conceived by its creator, Laurent Guez, as a permanent exposition space for products by international brands. Offering a slick retail experience alongside services such as the fabric bar, book bar and bloom bar, the MOODROOM is dedicated to helping shoppers furnish their homes. Attacking all the senses at once, this new concept showroom even offers a chocolate bar with gourmet delights and the mysteriously titled ‘mood-altering sweets’. Home decoration has never felt this good and with more stores expected to open across Canada, here’s hoping those high quality design products (and sweets) find their way across the globe. www.moodroom.ca MOODROOM INTERIOR. PHOTO: COURTESY GA & ASSOCIATES
RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW Curators Zhang Hongxing and Lauren Parker have assembled a design exhibition structured as a journey through China’s three rapidly expanding cities: Shenzhen, Shanghai and Beijing. Along the way we are introduced to different fields of design as they appear within the context of each city. With approximately 100 designers featured, China Design Now includes architectural, fashion and graphic design resulting from the tremendous pace of change the country has recently witnessed. Imagine consumer products aimed at China’s designsavvy youth, the monumental architectural projects of the 2008 Olympics and a boutique spa hotel on the Great Wall of China, and you begin to get some idea of what this exhibition will deliver. www.vam.ac.uk China Design Now Victoria and Albert Museum, London Until 13 July 2008 WING-SHYA, THE SOFT TOUCH, PEARLS OF THE ORIENT FOR TIME MAGAZINE SUPPLEMENT, SPRING 2005. © WING SHYA-LA-LA-PRODUCTIONS
TAKE A BALL OF THREAD … What to do with an industrial-sized spool of candy-pink cotton thread? If you’re Sydney-based jeweller Melinda Young, the obvious option is to turn it into a series of individually crafted jewellery pieces until it all runs out. Young still has a way to go before that happens, but in the mean time she’s sharing her experiences in a blog that documents the making of Take a Ball of Thread … (Pink Project). Placing several restrictions on her practice – the pieces must be wearable, each piece must include the cotton thread, all materials used must be readily available in her studio – Young has produced unexpected combinations of precious and nonprecious forms. Playful shapes and whimsical designs define the series and will keep bloggers coming back for more. New works from Take a Ball of Thread will be on show mid-2008 in Object Gallery’s Project Space, in a group exhibition, Refashioning the Fashion, curated by Debbie Pryor. www.melindayoung.net www.pinkthreadjewels.blogspot.com/
The potential for sustainable architecture seems alive with promise as a team of top architects prepare for two weeks under the personal tutorage of Glen Murcutt. Possibly Australia’s best known architect, Murcutt is recognised for his buildings’ gentle empathy with their natural environments, his unassuming structures aligned with methods of conservation. The Master Class of 32 select students from Australia and overseas will take place over two weeks in a studio environment, with personal coaching by Murcutt and notable colleagues Richard Leplastrier, Peter Stutchbury and Brit Andersen. The focus of the program is a design project at ‘Riversdale’, centred on cultural and environmental sustainability. After a series of lectures and field trips, the students will present the whole project – a positive step in the direction towards sustainable building. www.ozetecture.org Glen Murcutt International Architecture Master Class Architecture Foundation Australia 5–19 July 2008 GLENN MURCUTT, WENDY LEWIN AND REG LARK, RIVERSDALE, 1999. PHOTO: WOJCIECH PRZYWECKI
MELINDA YOUNG, BRIGHT SPINY THING (THREAD RIM) BROOCH, 2007, NYC PINK WAX, FRESHWATER PEARL, CORAL, COTTON THREAD, 925 SILVER. PHOTO: MELINDA YOUNG
OBJECT MAGAZINE STUDIO EDITION 11
SILVER COLLECTION IN OZ Even the staunch modernist will appreciate the intricately decorated silver collection of Paul and Elissa Cahn. From one of the finest private collections in the world, this important exhibition of English 18th-century Rococo silverware will show at Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum – a rarity, considering that due to the fragility of the material, such collections seldom tour to Australia. Silver: Paul de Lamerie from the Cahn Collection highlights the innovative work of silversmith Paul de Lamerie and colleagues, whose daring style and association with British high society is also showcased. In inspiring programming, the exhibition will be complemented by an international symposium (including speakers from the United States, London’s Victoria and Albert Museum and Paul Cahn himself ), and a two-day silver lace workshop. This exquisite exhibition offers a unique insight into the artistic and inventive world of silver. www.powerhousemuseum.com
GOING GLOBAL – MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL DESIGN FESTIVAL The National Design Centre has been busy organising the plethora of events and exhibitions that will form this year’s Melbourne Design Festival. With a name change to reflect the event’s global reach, the Melbourne International Design Festival will boast a variety of programs for designers and the local community. Well-known for spotlighting local talent, the festival will continue its community focus, while also providing insight into design internationally. This year is set to feature many exciting events, ranging from indoor exhibitions to outdoor installations that will light up Melbourne in true designer style. The 2008 program will also include Pop-Ups, the Australian Poster Annual and Speaker Series. www.nationaldesigncentre.com Melbourne International Design Festival National Design Centre (and various venues across Melbourne) 17–27 July 2008 HASSELL, IRRIGATION NATION AS PART OF THE DOWN TO EARTH GARDEN EXHIBITION, 2007, MELBOURNE DESIGN FESTIVAL, AGRICULTURAL PIPE. PHOTO: COURTESY NATIONAL DESIGN CENTRE
Silver: Paul de Lamerie from the Cahn Collection Powerhouse Museum, Sydney 18 April – 22 June 2008 Symposium: 19 April 2008 Workshop: 3–4 May 2008 FOUR SAUCEBOATS, 1730/31, MARKED BY PAUL DE LAMERIE, ENGLAND, 1688-1751, SILVER. COLLECTION OF PAUL AND ELISSA CAHN
BLACK IS BACK Most women have one – or perhaps copious – editions of the ‘Little Black Dress’ or classic black slacks hanging loyally in our wardrobes. The colour black may well be the simplest of decisions when deciding what to wear, yet its appearance in traditional and historic, contemporary and cutting-edge realms, has ensured a steady presence in the ever-changing world of fashion. It can represent death and mourning, or the ultimate in sophisticated chic. In a fantastic exploration of all that is black in fashion, the National Gallery of Victoria has taken on the admirable challenge of curating a major exhibition with this theme. Black in Fashion is the first show to feature across both NGV venues – NGV International and The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia – with a display ranging from lavish 17th-century designs, to innovative (and Melbourne-focused) local talent. www.ngv.vic.gov.au Black in Fashion NGV International, Melbourne Until 31 August 2008 The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Melbourne Until 24 August 2008 VIVIENNE WESTWOOD AND MALCOLM MCLAREN, SEX LONDON (FASHION HOUSE), COURT SHOES, 1974–76, LEATHER, METAL, RUBBER. © COURTESY OF VIVENNE WESTWOOD
12 OBJECT MAGAZINE STUDIO EDITION
WHY REINVENT THE WHEEL? Consider how challenging it is to make something exceptional out of those overlooked and seen-through everyday objects. Well, that’s what Bittersweets NY is all about. Founded by Robin Adams, these pieces explore the common. Robin’s first investigation was titled Bloodlust Princess – a matching necklace, belt-buckle, tiara and mini-ashtray set based on the underwhelming design of the vampire teeth available once a year for Halloween. Adams’ sterling-silver beating heart pendant is a classic must-have. Inspired by true love, this charm is a silver representation of a real human heart – not the constructed over-simplified shape that we usually expect in a heart pendant. The Maggot and Earthworm series is faithful to Adams’ ideology of borrowing design from another source of often disregarded beauty – this time, the more sinister aspects of nature. If you are in New York, challenge yourself to find beauty in the mundane by visiting Bittersweets NY retail shop on Broadway in Brooklyn. www.bittersweetsny.com ROBIN ADAMS, THE VAMPRESS, 2007, 14K WHITE GOLD AND HALF CARAT DIAMOND. PHOTO: COURTESY THE ARTIST
CRAFT REVOLUTION The word ‘craft’ is often frowned upon, termed daggy, and cast aside in favour of contemporary trends. Yet, according to curator Cate Brown at QUT Art Museum, it is this rejection from the mainstream that gives craft its radical nature, returning to traditional practice in a rejection of consumerist culture. On show at QUT Art Museum, Craft Revolution sees the skilful and considered nature of craft practice as exactly that: revolutionary in an age in which traditional practices are in danger of being forgotten. Craft Revolution pays homage to all of craft’s manifestations, from the naive to the highly developed, while also identifying the strong community engagements that craft can form. www.artmuseum.qut.com Craft Revolution QUT Art Museum, Brisbane 10 June – 13 July 2008 ROTANNA NGALLAMETTA, PANDANUS BASKET, 1996, COILED PANDANUS PALM FRONDS AND VEGETABLE DYES. PURCHASED 1997, QUT ART COLLECTION
A LOVE OF BOOKS Meet Zoë Sadokierski: writer, illustrator, lecturer, T-shirt aficionado, student. More importantly, Sadokierski is the creator of exquisite, self-initiated, short-run ‘art books’, which result in pages of clever dialogue and blissful quirkiness. From 6 March at the DAB LAB Research Gallery, Sadokierski is having an exhibition of her design research work. If you can make it to this exhibition you won’t be disappointed. If not, along with Ollie Pennington, Sadokierski creates a gorgeous series of tees loosely linked by a narrative and featuring a peculiar cast of creatures including the Peafowl of Haughtiness, dancing yetis, and a showdown between a cowboy and a petrol bowser. The original designs, under the Brown Paper Tiger label, are digitally printed in limited editions, and can be found at www.brownpapertiger.com www.dab.uts.edu.au/dablab www.zoefolio.blogspot.com/ DAB LAB Research Gallery University of Technology, Sydney
TOO CUTE! Straight out of Portland USA comes Frozen Pea Accessories. Influenced by nature, animals, Japanese culture and the indie music scene, Alberta May Poon, owner and designer, started creating one-of-a-kind wearables for friends. After being persuaded to ‘share the love’ further afield, Alberta launched her own website and from there her accessories have made their mark on the indie fashion world. Standout pieces that will fill your heart with joy are Alberta’s Sleepy Little Fox necklaces, Dino wallets and Oddball Paul the Pony earrings. These pieces truly redefine the meaning of adorable. Who said frozen vegetables can’t be delicious! www.frozenpeasaccessories.com ALBERTA MAY POON, SARAH THE BIRD PIN, SILK-SCREEN IMAGE ON FELT, REINFORCED FABRIC BACKED WITH 1.25” STEEL PIN. PHOTO: COURTESY THE ARTIST
ZOË SADOKIERSKI, BOOK (ENDS) (DETAIL). PHOTO: COURTESY THE ARTIST
OBJECT MAGAZINE STUDIO EDITION 13
OUT OF THE SHADOWS
UNEXPECTED POSSIBILITES Once again we are looking to Berlin to bring us the best in young, innovative and ultimately ‘uber’ cool architecture and design. This time we are inspired by the team at Hackenbroich Architekten. The Sitscape project is a couch-like piece with six preferred seating positions, creating a relaxed solution for all six positions while also allowing the user a smooth and comfortable transition between them all. The transitional areas are undetermined in their use – they provide new and unexpected possibilities, for the user to discover. The main structural elements are the sections, which are digitally-cut from laminated wood. The connecting structure is a steel and aluminium construction, and is minimally visible. Whether you want to sit up straight to read a book, or recline while watching a film or having an afternoon nap, this six-metre couch will always be the perfect fit. www.hackenbroich.com
PSLAB is a Beirut-based team of architects, designers, engineers and technicians dedicated to creating tailored lighting interventions that bring spaces to life. The team is known for the development of its lighting concept for the Waterlemon restaurant in Beirut where, facing the prospect of no natural light, they managed to create a dynamic, sunlit feel for the space. Their secret? A working method involving designers willing to sketch and tinker with every detail. Exciting news is that PSLAB has recently completed its newest project: focusing on an old traditional Ottoman building in Istanbul, PSLAB has transformed it into a denim showroom. Custom-suspended light fixtures have been designed with a long, adjustable arm extending to a large cylindrical black fabric circumference and white translucent front. These suspended fixtures designed specifically for the project provide the right light for the space while respecting its nature and the history of the building. www.pslab.net DENIM SHOWROOM, ISTANBUL, TURKEY, 2007. PHOTO: COURTESY PSLAB
WILFRED HACKENBROICH AND RAINER MÜHR, SITSCAPE, 2006. PHOTO: COURTESY HAACKENBROICH ARCHITEKTEN
DESIGN IN THE PLAYGROUND
INNOVATIONS CRYSTALLISE AT thehomeproject* German and Portuguese duo, Kathi Stertzig and Albio Nascimento, make up thehomeproject* design studio. These two charismatic characters believe in ‘the little something’, and their aim is to create both atmosphere and disturbing questions. The Salty Egg project takes the old Portuguese tradition of selling boiled eggs out of a salt-filled plate and gives it a glamorous, crafty spin. This ‘egg holder’ interprets tradition by bringing together past knowledge and contemporary aesthetics. A crochet technique is used to build a structure in which salt can crystallise, and the outcome is a standard egg holder made of pure white salt crystals – a natural and useful object with which to expose, serve and eat boiled eggs. On the horizon for thehomeproject* is ‘universal cutlery’, which aims to combine two eating habits and cultures in one cutlery set: a fork and knife, both with a chopstick application. Keep your eye on their website. www.the-home-project.com/ ALBIO NASCIMENTO AND KATHI STERTZIG, SALTY EGG, 2006, SALT CRYSTALS. PHOTO: BOB NORRIS
14 OBJECT MAGAZINE STUDIO EDITION
Innovation, multi-functionality, sustainability and process are the drivers for the Netherlandsbased design and engineering company, Carve. Focusing on the planning and development of public space for use by children and young people, Carve believes in the importance of applying certain, less definable elements to play areas, which can bring together several age groups rather than strictly separating them. Carve’s mantra – ‘public space belongs to and is for everyone’ – promotes sociability and mutual acceptance, resulting in a lively outside space. Carve’s colourful skate parks and unconventional recreational areas are guaranteed to bring out the child in all of us. www.carve.nl CARVE, WALL-HOLLA, 2006. PHOTO: COURTESY CARVE
STICKY CULTURE The not-for-profit artist-run initiative, Sticky Institute, is now entering its seventh year. Run by zinemakers, this small shop harking out of Melbourne’s Degraves Street Subway has stocked thousands of titles from around Australia and overseas. The Institute also offers DIY artist advice, housing badge machines and a long-armed stapler for any aspiring zinemakers to drop by and use. In February 2008, Sticky Institute celebrated the fine art of xerography in the ‘Festival of the Photocopier’. This featured the exhibition, Secrets of the Photocopier, zine launches, letter writing and random acts of photocopied passion. Find a photocopier and get inspired. www.stickyinstitute.com/ ANON, YOU, 2007. PHOTO: COURTESY STICKY INSTITUTE
COLOURS OF THE RAINBOW Have you noticed that a fantastic mug sitting on your desk can make a Monday morning just a little more bearable? If so, it’s time to search out the Pantone mug that is right for you! Inspired by the Pantone Colour charts, the mugs are glazed with a pattern resembling the iconic Pantone Colour Chip, complete with Pantone Colour name and number, in palettes developed by Pantone’s colour experts. The hang-tag is inscribed with poignant key words evoking the essence of your favourite colour. Whether it is London Taxicab Black 4 C or Sunflower Yellow Process C there is a colour for every mood. www.w2products.com
A LACE LIFE In 1966 an article in The Lady speculated on the virtual impossibility of teaching oneself lacemaking. In a true act of craft rebellion, Alwynne Crowsen set out to prove the periodical wrong. Decades on, Crowsen has taught numerous others the intricacies of this delicate and difficult craft. In yet another act of defiance, this artist has never completed a commission or given her work away, instead choosing to compile a personal collection. With nearly 500 vigilantly indexed pieces, Alwynne Crowsen’s collection depicts a passion and devotion to this unique medium. A Lace Life showcases the broad realm of pattern, technique and form of lace, from needle and bobbin laces to tulle, Chantilly, Rococo and Venetian. Crowsen’s quest to understand as many of the world’s lacemaking traditions as possible is beautifully acknowledged in this exquisite exhibition of an inimitable craft. www.objectspace.org.nz
WATCH OUT MILAN! The groundbreaking exhibition of contemporary Australian design, Freestyle: new Australian design for living, profiles the character and vibrancy of contemporary design in Australia. We are thrilled to announce that the Freestyle exhibition will open at the Triennale Museum in Milan in May 2008. This unprecedented event marks a significant turning point for design in Australia and for the designers who will be showcased at this prestigious international hub for design excellence. FREESTYLE EXHIBITION (INSTALLATION DETAIL), 2007, OBJECT GALLERY. PHOTO: YEE HWAN YEOH
A Lace Life: The Alwynne Crowsen Collection Objectspace, New Zealand 12 April – 17 May 2008 ALWYNNE CROWSEN, KEY SAMPLER (DETAIL), 1990, LACE. PHOTO: COURTESY THE ARTIST
OBJECT MAGAZINE STUDIO EDITION 15
CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: INTIMATE AND DISTANT LANDSCAPES, 2007, EXHIBITION CATALOGUE FOR DEVONPORT ART GALLERY, TASMANIA; TEN DAYS ON THE ISLAND EVENT PROGRAMS FOR TEN DAYS ON THE ISLAND PTY LTD, TASMANIA; BURNIE MEMORY INTERPRETATION PROJECT, 2006â€“07, IN COLLABORATION WITH ARCHITECT DAVID TRAVALIA AND LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS INSPIRING PLACE PTY LTD FOR BURNIE CITY COUNCIL, TASMANIA; LYNDA WARNERâ€™S STUDIO VIEW PANORAMA
16 OBJECT MAGAZINE STUDIO EDITION
On Australia’s vast continent we live mostly around the edges, looking out to huge horizons. Mine, perhaps, is an even more extreme perspective than for others. From this small island of Tasmania we can imagine that we are looking out over the end of the world. Tasmania is often coupled with ‘wilderness’, and it is this sublime yet fragile landscape that I have chosen to immerse myself in. From this particular edge creative perspectives seem sharper and clearer. My work ‘landscape’ is framed within a frame – intensifying what I see through my studio window. Returning to my screen, it’s as though I continue to condense my focus, seeing what needs to be seen. The distractions fall away. My studio sits on the ground level within a minimalist box, designed by friend and Melbourne architect Keith Streames. Within this box, Keith’s exploration of light illuminates planes – reinforcing, layering and enriching the space. In many ways, his treatment of smallness and the manipulation of scale and perspective mirror my own work practice. Within this beautiful space I move things around, pushing and chasing them to create another ‘space’ on a two-dimensional piece of paper.1
” OBJECT MAGAZINE STUDIO EDITION 17
1. Taken from a written statement by Lynda Warner to Stephen Goddard in response to questions about her studio environment, December 2007. 2. Brian Sadgrove founded his graphic design practice, Sadgrove Design, in Melbourne in 1968. 3. Taken from a written statement by Lynda Warner, op. cit.
18 OBJECT MAGAZINE STUDIO EDITION
Lynda Warner has a self-espoused ambivalence toward markets, budgets and business. Hers is a passion for the ‘process of design’ that germinated while being a design assistant to Brian Sadgrove,2 whom she greatly admires. It has seen her embark on a pre-eminent string of national commissions from her Tasmanian wilderness over a 25-year solo practice (that began, it should be said, at a time when success for a woman was far less likely). Warner’s sublime understanding of the marriage of two- and three-dimensional design thinking is strongly reflective of the physical environments in which she works. It is expressed, in particular, through the insight she brings to her material and tactile solutions to environmental, packaging and book design.
I find it very hard to be analytical and philosophical about my work practice. No beautiful journal of doodles, just little light bulbs going off in my head when I get an idea. It’s an intuitive response that leads to a process from which I extract intense joy. It is probably why I have greedily maintained a solo practice for all this time. I made a deliberate choice not to “grow” in a world that seems to worship economic ideals. That’s not to say that I don’t value growth at all, but the growth that I do value is one of ideas and the process of realising them.’ 3 STEPHEN GODDARD IS SENIOR CREATIVE ASSOCIATE WITH OBJECT: AUSTRALIAN CENTRE FOR CRAFT AND DESIGN AND PRINCIPAL OF STEPHEN GODDARD DESIGN, SYDNEY.
CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: STAMP ISSUE – DESIGN AUSTRALIA, 1999. REPRODUCED WITH PERMISSION OF AUSTRALIA POST © COPYRIGHT AUSTRALIA POST; ID FOR LEWIS DAVERON; LYNDA WARNER’S STUDIO VIEW PANORAMA;
ORGANIC TEAS FOR SPIRAL FOODS; EASY PINOT WINE LABEL FOR CRAIGOW VINEYARD, TASMANIA; IN HARM’S WAY/ LIGNE DE CHANCE, 2007, EXHIBITION CATALOGUE FOR RAYMOND ARNOLD ALL PHOTOS: COURTESY LYNDA WARNER
OBJECT MAGAZINE STUDIO EDITION 19
!"# $$!%& $$' !"%!%()!(#% $*+ !"%!%((#*+ ,$% !"#*+ -
PHOTOS: STEPHEN GODDARD
20 OBJECT MAGAZINE STUDIO EDITION
In the past decade, the word â€˜studioâ€™ has been appended to all sorts of workplaces. Not only do artists, architects, photographers, filmmakers, designers, potters, jewellers and musicians work in studios, instructors of social dance, Pilates and yoga, advertising agencies, television producers, clowns and chefs are also proud studio denizens. In Sydney, one can attend the â€˜Double Bay Dental Studioâ€™ or â€˜Bobbiâ€™s Pole Studioâ€™ for pole dancing hensâ€™ nights. Melbourne is home to a Food Studio and several Nail Studios. Across the world, the balding can visit the Advanced Hair Studio for strand-by-strand hair replacement. Running counter to this appropriation of their inheritance, artists, designers and architects have, since the 1960s, substituted laboratory, workshop, office and factory to describe their workplaces and collective practices. The appropriations are sometimes literal: Pittsburghâ€™s Mattress Factory, for example, is a former factory in whose rooms artists-in-residence create and exhibit sitespecific environments. Semiotic fluidity, and the occupation by artists of former warehouses, factories, shopfronts and office buildings, are not unconnected. Indeed, the reification of art and design, coupled with its redistribution along horizontal vocational lines, has gone hand-in-hand with the transformation of the city as a centre of industrial manufacture to the â€˜creativeâ€™ city â€“ from mattresses to art.
The physical spaces in which we work and the locations of these spaces in the city are barometers of the social and economic standing of different occupations. They also indicate how an occupation sees itself or wants to be viewed by others. The rise of the studio as a desirable name for a place of work has everything to do with the history of the artist. Once a magician or priestlike figure at the centre of society who was supported by the Church or State, from the 17th century the artist became less and less central for reinforcing the values of the State and the ruling classes. Coincident with the emergence of the middle classes, from this point on the artist produced works of art in competition with others in the free market of those privileged audiences with excess capital. Without the security of a patron or an employment contract, the artist in a free-market economy takes risks. Yet, because of this risk and the apparent freedom given to the artist over his or her product, the artist was romanticised and the studio mythologised as a site of personal freedom outside of the constraints of the domestic and the corporate. Places originally valued for their affordability â€“ the Parisian attic, the garret in London, the loft in New York and the reclaimed shipyards of Rotterdam â€“ have all been romanticised, coveted and imitated by individuals and businesses unconcerned with the making of art. That these spaces are (prior to renovation) often cold, airless, difficult to access, poorly lit and entirely inadequate for the purpose of either art production or domestic life has not deterred their rise in real estate value.
The relationship between the studio and what is produced there has been reinforced and naturalised again in Studio: Australian painters on the nature of creativity, an exhibition of photographs by R. Ian Lloyd at the National Portrait Gallery in 2007 and published as a book with text by John McDonald. For the studio to take on its current status, the relationship between creative practice and architectural setting had to first be naturalised to the point where it has become impossible to imagine the artist creating work on the kitchen table or in a generic office. The connection between room and artist was accomplished first in painting â€“ sometimes in self-portraits â€“ that depicted artists in the studio. It was reinforced in the 20th century through books of photographs of famous artists, such as Alexander Libermanâ€™s The Artist in his Studio, 1960. Liberman explained that the purpose of his book was to â€˜reveal the core of the creative act, to show the creative process itself, and thereby to relate painting and sculpture with the mainstream of manâ€™s search for truthâ€™. But the publication in American lifestyle magazines such as Life, Vogue and Harperâ€™s Bazaar of (ostensibly) documentary photographs by Liberman, Brassai and others of artistsâ€™ studios, aligned art with fashion and glamour. Brassai photographed the â€˜artists of his lifeâ€™ over a 30-year period, publishing in similar magazines and, finally, in a large compendium entitled Brassai: The artists of my life, 1982. In both his and Libermanâ€™s books, the artistâ€™s studio is eulogised as an inner sanctum where domestic cleanliness is eschewed in favour of self-expression.
While the artistsâ€™ studios in Lloydâ€™s and McDonaldâ€™s project, and also in the books by Brassai and Liberman, are presented as solitary sites of highly individualistic practice â€“ the artist as lone genius â€“ the collective studio and studio building has been a more significant part of 20th-century art practice. One of the first purpose-built studio buildings was on the north side of West Tenth Street in Greenwich Village, New York. James Boorman Johnston, a businessman, hired the architect, Richard Morris Hunt, to construct a building devoted to providing adequate work and exhibition space for artists. Opened in 1857, there were about 23 studios of various sizes in the building and a shared exhibition room. So sought after were these studios that a waiting list was maintained. Most of the tenants in the 19th century were painters and sculptors associated with the Hudson River School of painting, but writers and architects also rented space there. Twice the size of the Tenth Street Studio Building and with more radical ambitions, the Sherwood Studio Building was completed in 1880 by John H. Sherwood, a banker, insurance executive and real estate speculator. Whereas the Tenth Street Studio assumed artists were living elsewhere, the Sherwood was conceived as a living space for painters and their families. Its 45 suites consisted of a large studio,
a parlour and one or two bedrooms. Social events at the Sherwood regularly made headlines in New York City. Most significantly, the Sherwood pioneered development in an as yet to be defined neighbourhood, setting a precedent for similar structures in the neighbourhood. The pattern of gentrification of industrial and working-class neighbourhoods first pioneered by artists has become a familiar one. First the artists come, pursuing cheap rent, followed by the gallery owners, dealers, curators, critics and journalists, and other design professionals who make up the art industry, until the area is no longer affordable for emerging artists. The process then moves elsewhere. A similar fate saw the Tenth Street Studio Building bought in the 1920s by a group of people consisting mostly of illustrators, restorers and photographers who enjoyed the reputation of the building as a place of creativity and bohemian culture. It is possible to view this process as a negative one of displacement and destabilisation. Alternatively, it is a process in which urban renewal is undertaken creatively and comparatively slowly.
OBJECT MAGAZINE STUDIO EDITION 21
22 OBJECT MAGAZINE STUDIO EDITION
While gentrification may be the inevitable consequence of artists seeking space and fellowship, the importance of the social life of the studio cannot be underestimated. The congregation of artists in neighbourhoods, buildings and rooms has historically led to vibrant and supportive communities. Working alone, the artist or designer suffers the anxiety that follows each move into new artistic territory. The artistic community provides a first audience, a repository of know-how and know-who, a source of inspiration and also competition. Collective studios and communities, when they work well, offer periods of uninterrupted solitary work as well as company and discussion when it is needed. This is not about the necessity of the creative act taking place in a specific form or architectural setting, but about the necessity of creativity taking place in a fertile and empathetic social setting. That said, the location of this social setting in the city is important. Virtual neighbourhoods offer some alternative for isolated practitioners and also make possible extensive global communities. The websites developed by graffiti and street artists, through which they can compare and comment upon each otherâ€™s work from across the world, are one example. The Canadian â€˜artengineâ€™ functions for new media artists in the 21st century in a similar way to that of the Tenth Street Studios. One of artengineâ€™s mandates is â€˜to carve out artist-run space in the on-line worldâ€™, at the same time as it is â€˜maintaining a space dedicated to technological experimentationâ€™ functioning
â€˜as a laboratory for production and presentationâ€™.1 Artengine and other virtual art spaces offer intersecting multiple worlds that serve to amplify, rather than diminish, the cultural importance of artistic exchange. They should not, however, be seen as cheap alternatives for governments to the provision of affordable housing and workplaces. The organisation of art and design studios in relationship to each other and to the city fosters or suppresses the emergence of vibrant design communities with cultural visibility in the wider community. The dental or nail studio â€“ even were it to reproduce the physical character of an artistâ€™s studio with its mess and erratic working hours â€“ misses the point, since it is not a place of intense creativity in a net of cultural production. From the 15th to the 19th centuries, the studio of a successful artist comprised all the assistants, not just the space in which an artist worked â€“ hence the phrase â€˜from the studio of â€Śâ€™. It is this second meaning â€“ of collective ambition and sharing â€“ which remains of value, and to which the city responds or excludes. In Australia, the affordable studio for many artists, makers and designers has long been the converted garage, garden shed, outside laundry or basement of a suburban house, and it is perhaps unsurprising that these spaces are now featured as â€˜studiosâ€™ when properties are advertised for sale, even if they have previously only been used for cars and storage. The negative impact on our cities of this suburbanisation and decentralisation of art and design practice is brought home when one visits cities such as Berlin, where the intense presence of cultural activities â€“ made possible by affordable rents â€“ enlivens every street. In Berlin I once visited the
studio and place of residence of a former opera singer, who was then experimenting with burning images in toast (an admittedly risky artistic practice). His apartment and studio, in an 18th-century apartment building in the Mitte district of what was formerly East Berlin, was given to the housing cooperative of which he was a member and the cooperative was being paid to renovate the building. The building had many creative residents and was one of several such buildings in the area. Such a situation is unimaginable in the economic rationalist and property-obsessed cities of Australia. Studios subsidised by government and local council-subsidised studios are, in effect, artist-in-residency programs that, because of their competitive and temporary nature, do not foster the growth of creative communities. They merely offer short respite from the suburban garage and possibly entrĂŠe into an exhibition program. If Australian cities want the cultural and economic benefits of creative practitioners, then the value of the urban studio must be recognised and supported. 1. See http://artengine.ca/html/index.php, 8 December 2007.
&& OBJECT MAGAZINE STUDIO EDITION 23
The engine room of Susan Dimasi and Chantal McDonaldâ€™s fashion label MATERIALBYPRODUCT (MBP) is a little wooden house. Almost always three, and sometimes up to 12 people squeeze into its two front rooms, along with the books, sewing machines, rolls of fabric, schedules and paper maps that constitute this increasingly global studio with its celebrity commissions. The falling-down, nondescript rental also plays backdrop for photo shoots, and is the stage for in-house parades that share the site of all this making with family and friends, mingling with critics, collectors and other consumers of fashion.
24 OBJECT MAGAZINE STUDIO EDITION
& OBJECT OBJECTMAGAZINE MAGAZINESTUDIO STUDIOEDITION EDITION 25
McDonald has said, ‘It’s not so much what we make, but how we make it’,1 and here we find the core of MBP’s craft: it’s about analysing and interrogating the process that cloth will undergo before it becomes a garment, rather than simply cutting and sewing fabric. Indeed, looking at how clothes are worn, fastened, cut, marked, joined and sized is also central to the label’s mastering, and then reworking of, European tailoring techniques. Materials are treated in ways that best cohere with their particular characteristics and waste is a new design opportunity, fed back into a practice based on systems. Visual artist Bruce Nauman deliberated that if he was an artist and he was in the studio, then whatever he was doing in the studio must be art. For him, art at that point became more of an activity and less of a product. Similarly, MBP concentrates less on the development of a characteristic style and more on the way in which a process or activity can transform or become a creative work itself. Now, after years of developing design templates and methodologies, the studio is a place where this language is consolidated, advanced, tested and ‘talked’ with scissors, chalk and thread. www.materialbyproduct.com KATE RHODES IS CURATOR AT NATIONAL DESIGN CENTRE, MELBOURNE AND MANAGER OF THE 2008 L’ORÉAL MELBOURNE FASHION FESTIVAL CULTURAL PROGRAM. 1. Sophie Hexter, ‘Material Girls’ in Poster, 8, 2005, p. 52
26 MAGAZINE STUDIOFEATURE EDITION 26 OBJECT OBJECT MAGAZINE
PAGE 24-25: INTERNS (L-R) MELANIE BOWER, RYAN EUINTON AND KEVIN AZZOPARDI BEADING BEADED DRESS CURTAIN FROM SOFT HARD HARDER AUTUMN/ WINTER 07/08 PAGE 25, INSET: FRONT DOOR OF MATERIALBYPRODUCT STUDIO FACING PAGE, BACKGROUND: CHANTAL McDONALD DRAWING FOR DRESS CURTAIN FROM SOFT HARD HARD HARDER SPRING/ SUMMER 2008; INSET: (L-R) CLASSIC LACE SLIP FROM PUNCH OUT 2005. PHOTO: PAUL KNIGHT; IN-HOUSE SHOW SET-UP FOR SOFT HARD HARD HARDER SPRING/SUMMER 2008 THIS PAGE, BACKGROUND: PROTOTYPING FOR SOFT HARD SPRING/SUMMER 2007; INSET: (L-R) WORK TABLE, MARK #1, 2006; BACKYARD HILLS HOIST WITH REPRODUCTION OF OTHERS FROM SOFT HARD HARDER AUTUMN/WINTER 07/08
OBJECT MAGAZINE STUDIO EDITION 27 27 OBJECT MAGAZINE
THIS PAGE: SUSAN DIMASI WORKING DRAWINGS FOR SOFT HARD HARD HARDER SPRING/SUMMER 2008 FACING PAGE: LOOK BOOK IMAGE, DRESS CURTAIN FROM SOFT HARD HARD HARDER SPRING/SUMMER 2008. PHOTO: SUSAN GRDUNAC. SKETCHES: CHANTAL McDONALD WORKING DRAWINGS FOR SOFT HARD HARD HARDER SPRING/SUMMER 2008 ALL PHOTOS: COURTESY MATERIALBYPRODUCT
28 OBJECT MAGAZINE STUDIO EDITION
â€˜Indeed, looking at how clothes are worn, fastened, cut, marked, joined and sized is also central to the labelâ€™s mastering, and then reworking of, European tailoring techniques.â€™
OBJECT MAGAZINE 29 29 OBJECT MAGAZINE
NEW SOUTH WALES
30 OBJECT MAGAZINE STUDIO EDITION
BACKGROUND: THE MOKUM DESIGN STUDIO WITH BACK VIEW OF DESIGNERS, BETHANY LINZ (LEFT) AND TANDARRA ROTHMAN AT THEIR DESKS INSET, FROM TOP: CATHY BROWN WITH SKETCHES AND DRAWINGS; FABRIC SAMPLES
OBJECT MAGAZINE STUDIO EDITION 31
Communal work tables are bordered by individual desks punctuated by vision boards of images
32 MAGAZINE STUDIO EDITION 32 OBJECT OBJECT MAGAZINE PROFILE
The first word that comes to mind when describing Mokum’s textile design studio is wondrous. The second is luscious. Enter the bright relaxed space and you’ll see what I mean. Communal work tables are bordered by individual desks punctuated by vision boards of images torn from fashion magazines and found objects, each board themed to inspire future collections. The tables are littered with bundles of colourful material swatches from textile mills from all over the world, and any remaining desk space is covered with the Mokum designers’ tools of experimentation. Sketches, paintings, potato stamps and drawings are testament to creative collaborations and a tactile working environment. Cathy Brown, Tandarra Rothman and Bethany Linz are the three designers that share this space and they bring to it three diverse backgrounds, with the whole process overseen by Design Director, Stephanie Moffitt.1 Mokum was originally a New Zealand company, which has since expanded into the Australian market. The design studio has evolved since relocating to Sydney over five years ago in order to better understand that market, and currently Brown, Rothman and Linz develop original designs for each of the company’s three brands. Mokum is their highly decorative luxury line, Meridian is aimed at a family lifestyle and Loop is the commercial line.
The designers agree that their studio is a fun, casual and interactive workplace, but this doesn’t mean that it isn’t driven by tight deadlines and strict demands. The design process, from theme choice to colour selection, takes about eight months, and then another three months is needed for fabric production – which happens all over the world – and sampling. A single collection can take a year before it is fully realised and released into the market. So it’s no wonder that the designers need to have a finger firmly on the pulse of upcoming trends. Past themes have included Morocco, Pacific Art and Australian flora, and inspiration has been found all over, from Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette right through to mark making and gestures. Each brand is considered part of a single collection and the designers make sure there is cohesion across all three. A defining characteristic is colour and, from the work tables through to the finished product, it’s everywhere. Colour selection wouldn’t be as easy without the studio’s huge windows. Natural light streams in and allows the designers to see exactly how their fabrics will look in an Australian environment.
FACING PAGE: FABRIC SAMPLES ABOVE: TANDARRA ROTHMAN AT HER COMPUTER LEFT: CATHY BROWN (LEFT) AND BETHANY LINZ UNPACK FABRIC SAMPLES
OBJECT MAGAZINE STUDIO EDITION 33
Downstairs from the studio people can visit the showroom and I dare anyone to resist running their hands along the fabrics on display. Even the simple geometric designs of the Loop brand are rich and sensuous. Outside of this space and within a global context, Mokum’s textiles adorn both the home and commercial sectors. As Brown let me know, ‘This is our story’, and it is one that is unique to this trio’s particular fusion of art and design. www.mokumtextiles.com www.looptextiles.com LEANNE AMODEO IS PUBLICATIONS MANAGER OF OBJECT: AUSTRALIAN CENTRE FOR CRAFT AND DESIGN, SYDNEY.
1 Brown and Rothman both studied Textile Design at the Rhode Island School of Design, and Rothman went on to study graphic design at RMIT, while Linz comes from a fine arts background.
BACKGROUND: SKETCHES AND DRAWINGS FOR A LOOP COLLECTION INSET: FABRIC SAMPLES FROM A MOKUM COLLECTION PHOTOS: JOY LAI (WWW.JOYMLAI.COM)
34 OBJECT OBJECT MAGAZINE MAGAZINE STUDIO STUDIO EDITION EDITION
your studio, your home ground You want to travel to leave yourself rs behind. You journey, unknown to othe a in nt, eme mov In self. your and new to diﬀerent place, you are shaping yourself, a malleable material, invisible as air, in a secret pocket within layers of yourself. e You carry yourself with you, a ghostlik your in e trac a ow, shad presence, a n, Studium, study. The workroom of an slipstream, or the hard nut of your brai , ning n, mea ectio aﬀ with , k zeal thic e, and étud y die, heav artist. Estu your head of painstaking application. history, a sphere that mirrors the orb the with is it So are. you re whe the world You accept yourself as an artist, your on are you ce: kspa wor studio, the acquiring skills from an apprenticeship, way home. It doesn’t matter where you not you, pt acce and expect others to are. You are inside your head and the to treat you as newly born, fragile trace in your slipstream is the planet. and requiring support. You ignore curiosity. You make deﬁance into a Via public transport and foot patter, and ous nerv work of art. There are the automobile or bicycle, into streets y osit curi by en driv uncertain questions or back alleys – byways mapped in the n tive gina ima of and ignorance, a lack circuitry of your brain, in the circulatio and high ters ind mat beh er empathy, about care of your blood. Passing income source. The questioner thinks: walls, standing before heavy doors. you do at Wh ? have ‘What skills do you The insistence of solid wood, secure do How k? wor at do all day when I’m brass or thick brick. Toggling the key e nam you do How you order your life? in the lock, switching on the light. to cally hati emp y who you are?’ You repl These architectural devices, entrance art. e mak I t. artis an such questions: ‘I’m ways for entering, functioning as t It’s what I do.’ ceremony. Then to air space and ligh ns, begi y tuar ﬁll, after which the sanc housing a variety of micro home-stays, ateliers for practice and achievement, experimentation and mistake.
Getting a space for work, a space for the artwork, a concentration of the heart, a focus of the head. The setting of tools in one spot, sitting and e. waiting, generating their own disciplin its on Imagining it, embarking creation: the studio, the atelier.
by moya costello
Atelier, workshop, carpenter’s shop, woodpile; astele, small plank, a shaving, splinter. Hastella, a thin stick; hasta, spear, shaft. An easel, canvas on the ﬂoor, paper on ch the walls. Discoloured rags and a ben of covered in paint spatter: highlights colour on wood, like light split by a prism. The heavy equipment: a pottery wheel, a long electric cord hanging from the ceiling, blocks of clay, a white clay powder over all. A lathe, an anvil and brace, a wooden hammer, a mallet, a grouter, screwdriver, saw-blades, r a shaver, ﬁle and grater. Sheets of silve the and copper. Small beginnings left on bench: abstract shapes, structures and ies; ﬁgures, the result of small-scale stud , ular rusted iron bits-and-pieces; rectang s; squared and rounded sculptural form blocks of wood cut into. You feel pleasantly tucked away in a cell of the contemplative kind; you can work hard and play, create and destroy. Away from the world for a few hours, you aren’t watched, but you go to the windows and from in look out.
OBJECT MAGAZINE STUDIO EDITION 35
, ‘ From lookingtin thinking, tes yeg,: training the eugh thinking thro problems, ﬁne-tuning ideas.’ ers of the solid insect. These are remind y wl slo ing be o int s oin at the end of The artwork come world that you will rej ries of a da is un at bo wh so the , n nty thi tai wi , cer ting it in the work sma of un For a while the day after re-presen and arbitrary in a pla so l it cia th iﬁ wi art ing its ck ide sti ins is , ngside the tick of a timetable important to you , in a studied way, alo minutes, urs its ho d, all en rk d an wo g u Yo nin . gin ult a computer, the limits of be something will res clock, the breathing of life of c ng bli thi pu rst ﬁ the it, til e un lik l ys, fee da u hours and late at night if yo gasp of a torch. You like own rhythms rning, into weekends. art, the work follows its mo the in eryday, you iliar with Producing the work ev erruptions, for working int g and dictates. You are fam vin ha t no w it began, work under can never remember ho from nine, ten in the tly appointed times; you can en ist ns co day, it transforms ernoon, lines which are because, though every to four or ﬁve in the aft , pressure to acute dead ing rn mo in those hours. e road rules. into a kind of dreaming up some thread later in g kin in your working life lik pic e yb ma , not e you structure an hour or There is a kind of drift You shape these days lik evening or at night for the a total vision, the t in ou y th da wi y, , t the undisciplined ietly and intensel qu rk wo u your art. You think abou Yo o. tw a brewing of a if with your hands, a notion only, an idea, al rhythm, internal, tur na a night, moulding it, as ing low fol end product. and end, the small netted version of the the clock face which, to e tiv into beginning, middle en att t bu ievement with the city sun across the tasks, and the overall ach se days when you are in e the movement of the lik the On d an ne t. do s ng and outpu me home at the plan fulﬁlled, all thi , measures your hours ur work, you like to co sky yo for uttho wi rkwo a worker struck oﬀ. But for your ur, to pretend you are and happy, ho sy ak bu pe ses , ne sen eli ur yo tim n ing ow Keep entrates participating regularly in common a-deadline, you set your at work deeper part of you conc Th . the ble ile exi ﬂ wh y ver , great crowd ble exi , set but ﬂ commuting, part of the s. Near an open window n that ate tha cre er d an oth ce spa heading for a s, m the comes fro , metal wrapped in their clo d days, a brush against canvas ere ng ord ldi , ho tes da r in a headlong da gs, en ba cal of black , with hanging u monitor the yo me y, ho cla t on s ou dnd ha rea , sp vil a ed on an ay stations, blocked hours. You ne transport points: railw s its everyday for ha h rld rus a wo e ed ne Th , y. elf da g urs yo gin t chan But when in the time which you cross ou l children bus stops and wharves. rs on some commuters and schoo cu re: oc t ltu cu tha ce spa of traﬃc, you se le loo kind of on, car stuck in the midd rm, building constructi you work ifo en un wh in s ek we e to do this?’ ed som days on ich think: ‘Why did I ne g from public mail delivery, coﬀee-and-sandw kin lin un the is It ly. intuitive rhythms, way linkage to consumption. Particular life that enables it, the e light shifts Th the front of the patterns and purposes. public life, working in ay, all day, aw far and darkens, and not head, enables the other. travel on s nd sou all night long, timely l of voices, cal t en the wind: the intermitt ble of rum the the screech of brakes, ﬂow of the , ves traﬃc, the rustle of lea ir of an wh or d water, the song of a bir
36 OBJECT MAGAZINE STUDIO EDITION
‘ Bringing attention to the commonplace or investigating the monumental.’ Rising the next day, cranking up the energy. Persevering during the day, and perking up at the end. Moving after throughout the hours of the day, day . way head day. Achieving little or making s. A cell mattress or a bed of rose
ng And then an epiphany. The thing taki surface, the medium, the ground, like you, shape in that ever ydayness. And l an ocean, a ﬂoating world, a minima recognising the point when the work g presence saying much. You, swimmin comes together, gelling as if by magic, in that surface. In the moment or seeing the light glimmer in the opening over weeks, on the road or at your at the end in the near distance where destination, in a rush of excitement there is another beginning. or a light on what is possible. Bringing You don’t think about the public life attention to the commonplace . ntal ume mon the of your art, a champagne exhibition to or investigating and cant niﬁ insig show your work and be supped with Attending to the k ry. enta mom and ll praise. Over a period, seeing your wor private, the sma ge stran ing seem and it, cal ect radi insp the you on display, Co-opting for e ing gnis brat reco Cele ’t . don quo s You e. statu nam to see your undermining the the the person stepping out from behind the transitory, the fragmentary and on pers that solid at’s the ‘Wh ng . edgi bols owl sym grouping of tender. Or ackn tle? man that s bear o ent. ‘Wh k. evem like?’ you thin weight of achi Who stands behind that name?’ the er And you, able to work und When you look at the ﬁnished work, discipline of the self, knowing what are g uirin you see another time. For a while you cultivates your creativity. Req Did ter. try’. clut ‘poe or e at a loose end. You mad serenity or ﬁring up. Order t? you create that? How did it come abou Adhering to the work without external ce, uen inﬂ in aﬃrmation. Working with g You can’t remember the last beginnin within the mystery and competition So that, ion. before this next ongoing. surrounding the process and complet ﬁnished, ever is ing noth e, in a sens on In heat and sweat, under the exhausti n, door ajar, ope ains rem but ed, or clos of exertion. Seeing, under scrutiny, network a ing form k, wor ther to ano fractures and ﬁssures painfully the with and k wor own your within , revealed. Responding to the struggle io, stud your in here rs, othe of work g calling upon an internal foundry lyin nd. grou e hom your dormant, bringing it to heel for your IN CREATIVE MOYA COSTELLO HAS A PHD ria. apo of s TY OF own purposes. The instance WRITING FROM THE UNIVERSI KS ARE ADELAIDE. HER THREE BOO Despair hovering, as in the dark, in the RT PROSE t TWO COLLECTIONS OF SHO middle of a tunnel, within guilt abou AND ONE NOVEL. wasting time and lacking skill.
ls Turning constantly to work. To materia er, pap or t pain r, wate To . and activities to stone, knife or brush. To using charcoal, grease, wax or crayon. To structures of colour lying on a palette like whole worlds. From looking, thinking, testing: training the eye, thinking through problems, ﬁnetuning ideas. To speciﬁcations of texture and weight. To cutting and chipping. Keeping on squeezing the tube, sloshing the brush, spreading the cy, resin. To sponges and their absorben . king mas To . ting blot r to rags and thei its spir ted hyla met of ur To the vapo and turpentine, to the odour of acid to and resin. To priming and thinning, t eren diﬀ on ion, ract subt addition and To ks. wor and s sion days and occa solving and scouring. To plunging, dropping and ﬂoating. To washing in and washing out. To decorative leanings or ﬁne art; to ﬁne lines or formal ng composition. To brushing in and taki ng nati reso ls eria mat e Th an impression. y, with prescience. Images standing awa r thei of life a with cts separate; obje own, speaking for themselves. Taking ks, advantage of accident, the chance mar of part as ugh thro e com mistakes that k the product, showing process. The wor
You pursue the task, force yourself to it, stay with it. Your toughness and our vulnerability are colleagues; your hum e and perspective, companions. You mak considered judgements and persist with courage, sustained by professional support, a space of your own. OBJECT MAGAZINE STUDIO EDITION 37
/ 38 OBJECT MAGAZINE STUDIO EDITION
!! * #- $ % ,% 5#* $%+%" +%" * 1"! #2 $* #! 6 %" $ + %$%# !1 ###7 %" "3 $%$ % %!# &%, *$ !$! 8-(%7 , " *#$ ! $34 1$$ *+## 2#% %" $7 %(%% 7% " 7 $9 7 - $ %* #,# (% $ * 3 %%(% $%2 %+& #$" %,! "3$ " $ # $ *#$$3 "*"# 47 % # %""$ % 7$ ! %( %!(%+ $$ 7" 9+ "7
4$7 ($$## %""$  + "$ * $7" 7 " 4$+7 !% $ "!" 3$ %"$ 3% ( ! 2 $1 $% 2$ ( (!"%" 2% * $ *+2(% 3$ 7"!" 3%" ## *3 $%3 (!" 1- "
BACKGROUND: MARC PETROVICâ€™S SKETCHBOOK OPENED TO A PAGE WITH DRAWINGS FOR HIS DISTILLED LIFE SERIES. PHOTO: COURTESY THE ARTIST INSET: BOWER BIRD, 2007, HOT SCULPTED AND BLOWN GLASS, FOUND OBJECTS. PHOTO: JOHN POLAK
OBJECT MAGAZINE STUDIO EDITION 39
‘Glass, more than any other material, is championed because of its virtuosity and its colour,’ says Petrovic. ‘I don’t want my work to be about beauty. I want to make work that has ideas behind it.’1 Initially, these ideas may be unclear, and the process of creation is what leads to understanding. Sometimes he finds answers, sometimes he doesn’t. ‘Some are dead-end series,’ he says. ‘Others lend themselves very well to this pursuit.’ One of these is Petrovic’s Distilled life bottle series. Created from the desire to separately address questions he had about such things as identity and relationships, the bottles hold glass objects within them, each one encapsulating an idea. Petrovic’s quest can last for years, since he jumps from one project to another based on how he is feeling at the time. ‘I’m not the same person on Friday that I was on Monday,’ he explains. This self-understanding just may be the key to how Petrovic finally discovers what he’s looking for. www.marcpetrovic.com SHANNON SHARPE IS THE MANAGING EDITOR OF AMERICAN CRAFT MAGAZINE, NEW YORK. 1. All quotes are from an interview with the artist, 3 December 2007.
BACKGROUND: MARC PETROVIC, 3 POTIONS (DETAIL), 2007, HOT SCULPTED AND BLOWN GLASS. PHOTO: COURTESY THE ARTIST TOP RIGHT: MARC PETROVIC GATHERING GLASS IN HIS HOT SHOP, 2007. PHOTO: KIM TYLER BOTTOM RIGHT: MARC PETROVIC WORKING ON HIS DISTILLED LIFE SERIES, 2007. PHOTO: KIM TYLER
40 OBJECT MAGAZINE STUDIO EDITION
& + / ) ) Telephone +61 2 9361 4555 or fill in this form Yes, I would like a four-issue subscription to Object Magazine delivered to my door, starting with issue no: _____ Australia A$45.00 (inc GST) / New Zealand & Asia A$80.00 / USA & Europe A$95.00 OR Yes, I would like to become an Object Supporter, to receive additional benefits to my subscription, such as invitations to exhibition opening nights. A$75.00 (inc. GST) Yes, I would like to stay up-to-date with Object exhibitions and events. Please email me the free Object e-flier. Yes, this is a gift subscription for: NAME: ADDRESS:
Please complete the form below, then either: Fax to:
+61 2 9361 4533
Object: Australian Centre for Craft and Design Reply Paid 63 Strawberry Hills NSW 2012
or email to:
+61 2 9361 4555
YOUR NAME: ADDRESS: TELEPHONE:
EMAIL: Payment details: TOTAL $ Cheque (in A$) payable to: Object: Australian Centre for Craft and Design Please charge my card: MasterCard
NAME ON CARD:
CARDHOLDER SIGNATURE: Conditions: Subscription and Supporter rates are valid until 31 July 2008. Object is committed to handling your personal information in accordance with the Australian Privacy Act.
42 OBJECT OBJECT MAGAZINE MAGAZINE STUDIO STUDIO EDITION EDITION
A 12-year-old girl decides to sculpt the face of a classmate in clay. When she reaches the eyes she has no doubt as to how to proceed – while leafing through a book on sculpture she reads that eyes don’t necessarily have to be fashioned with pupils. She follows the counsel but later feels that she pilfered the solution and isn’t really the author of the piece. Not being a cheat, she decides right away to give up on a career in sculpture. If not for that naive guilt feeling, we would have enjoyed the talent of the great ceramic artist Sara Carone a lot earlier. However, Carone is not in a hurry.
BACKGROUND: CERAMIC PIECES (DETAIL). PHOTO: ALEXANDRA MARIANI INSET: SARA CARONE IN HER STUDIO. PHOTO: PIO FIGUEIROA FACING PAGE: ADDING DETAIL TO A CERAMIC WORK. PHOTO: ALEXANDRA MARIANI
OBJECT MAGAZINE STUDIO EDITION 43
While she waited a long time before feeling confident enough to go back to sculpture, professional recognition for her ceramic career came quickly, and since 1990 Carone has exhibited in Japan, Toronto, Lisbon and São Paolo. At a time when most ceramic artists overdo glazing and colours – ‘masking’ the clay with a thick glaze – Carone bares her material and adorns it with subtle graphic elements that sometimes seem ironic but are always beautiful. Carone hasn’t stopped since resuming her artistic activities. She took classes in the technique of wheel throwing from Master Lelé and studied with Megumi Yuasa. She bought a wheel and placed it in her living room. She needed a kiln to fire her pieces and the least expensive was designed for Raku ware, the Japanese lead-glazed earthenware invented for the tea ceremony. Thus, economic considerations led her to adopt a technique that in Japan is regarded as the exclusive province of master-makers. While surprise is a key element in all forms of Raku ware, it is a surprise par excellence. Slight changes in the oxides, in the firing time of the arrangement of the items inside the kiln determine wide variations in results. ‘In ceramics it is the firing that gives an object its ultimate shape. The less one knows, the less one controls the firing and therefore the bigger the surprise’, says Carone. ‘From the beginning I tried to concentrate more on my misses than on my hits. Mistakes are enlightening. I never intended to turn out an utterly perfect, uniform piece. That would be facile – the formulas are in books. I’m concerned with the quality of the pieces I make. I try to reach a point of equilibrium, to attain lightness’.1
44 OBJECT OBJECT MAGAZINE MAGAZINE STUDIO STUDIO EDITION EDITION
Carone seeks balance in the shapes she chooses because they are ‘pure, beautiful and precise, wrought by man throughout millennia’. Vessels, dishes and pots end up being the physical basis and the pretext for her painstaking Raku craftsmanship. Months and even years may pass between the shaping and the firing of one of Carone’s pieces. Carone has set up a studio at the back of her home. To get there, visitors have to cross her living room, where the face of her former classmate rests half-hidden on a table. On the way, one can observe Sara’s family and a tangle of flowering plants in the garden. Although her studio is noisy – in addition to creating, she also teaches – it is still possible to prick up one’s ears to listen to the silence and the quiet joy of her pieces. ADELIA BORGES IS A SÃO PAULO-BASED WRITER AND CURATOR. 1. Sara Carone, conversation with the author, 1996. Edited extract from Adelia Borges, Icaro Magazine, no 144, July 1996, São Paulo, Brazil
BACKGROUND: VIEW OF THE STUDIO’S SINK AND SURROUNDS. PHOTO: PIO FIGUEIROA FACING PAGE, TOP TO BOTTOM: CERAMIC PIECES (DETAIL). WORKING AT THE WHEEL. SMOKE TOWARDS THE END OF THE RAKU BURNING PROCESS. PHOTOS: ALEXANDRA MARIANI
Rose Mamuniny, Necklace
orange/black/green/yellow feathers, 2005, oxidised silver catch, ﬁg string, feathers, bamboo, shark vertebrae. Photo: courtesy the artist Top to bottom: Workshop ﬂoor at Elcho Island Arts and Crafts Centre during Alice Whish’s work with Rose Mamuniny and Mavis Ganambarr, 2003. Photo: Louise Hamby Rose Mamuniny, Shark Necklace (detail) on string by Mavis Ganambarr, 2005. Photo: Leise Knowles
45 OBJECT MAGAZINE FEATURE
OBJECT OBJECTMAGAZINE MAGAZINESTUDIO STUDIOEDITION EDITION 45
: â€˜The strength of the imagery reďŹ‚ects the generosity of intention behind the art and the studio itself.â€™
46 OBJECT MAGAZINE STUDIO EDITION
‘ The Wandjina paintings and the Wandjina-shaped building are actually sophisticated acts of contemporary cultural transmission, contributing to the ongoing vitality of a culture that has continued for at least 20,000 years already.’
BACKGROUND: CLAPPING STICKS MADE ON BUSH CAMP, 2007, NATURAL OCHRE ON EUCALYPTUS.
‘ The Wandjina is a spirit, but not a ghost.’ OBJECT OBJECTMAGAZINE MAGAZINESTUDIO STUDIOEDITION EDITION 47 47
Walking into the gallery at the new Mowanjum Art and Culture Centre for the first time is an overwhelming experience. All around are images of Wandjina, their deep black eyes looking back at you from the canvases, ghostly beings with no mouth and an eerie presence that feels as if they are seeing right through you. The first time I saw a Wandjina painting I was spooked. En masse, as they often appear in the paintings of the Mowanjum artists, they are formidable.
BACKGROUND: SKETCH FOR JILINYA PUPPET CONSTRUCTION, DESIGN BY LEAH UMBAGAI, 2006 CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: MOWANJUM MEN MAKING DANCE TOTEMS FOR DJUMBA DANCE. MAKING BUSH STRING, BUSH CAMP JIGGENARDI. DETAIL OF THE ART CENTRE’S INTERIOR, 2007 FACING PAGE: ALISON BURGU AT WORK IN THE ART CENTRE’S STUDIO, 2007 PHOTOS: COURTESY MOWANJUM ART AND CULTURE CENTRE
So you can imagine, I was a little unsettled when I found that, from the air, the new Mowanjum Art and Culture Centre makes the shape of a giant Wandjina, sitting there in the landscape at the south-western end of the Gibb River Road. It seemed too much, overwhelming, maybe even a little kitsch. But the reality of the building, and the artworks themselves, is very different from my initial impressions. The strength of the imagery reflects the generosity of intention behind the art and the studio itself. The Wandjina paintings and the Wandjinashaped building are actually sophisticated acts of contemporary cultural transmission, contributing to the ongoing vitality of a culture that has continued for at least 20,000 years already.
This year I was lucky enough to visit a Wandjina cave site in the north of Ngarinyin country, and my feeling of being spooked by Wandjinas disappeared in an instant. The Wandjina is a spirit, but not a ghost. They are the creation spirits of the three tribes who inhabit Mowanjum community: the Worrorra, Ngarinyin and Wunambal people). The Wandjina create the land, bring the rain, and were the first artists. People say that following the creation of the country, the Wandjina painted their image on the walls of caves before moving into the spirit world. In doing so they left behind the foundations for a culture of painting that continues at the Mowanjum Art and Culture Centre today. Rock art caves, like the one I visited, are scattered throughout the north-west Kimberley, and are ancient art studios in themselves. On the rock walls are the Wandjina and other spirit figures, layered in red, yellow and white ochres, and you can see the traces of traditional painting techniques in the grooves and marks left by long-gone artists. Such caves and the country around them remain important places in the contemporary art practice of Mowanjum artists, as foundation sites of the culture they are keeping alive through the act of painting and as inspiration and instruction about both artistic content and style. To understand the products and practice of today’s Mowanjum artists, this context is vital. In this light, the act of representing the Wandjina using new materials and in new forms, be it acrylic on canvas, or as a building in the landscape, can be understood to have a cultural function for artists, their communities and audiences that runs deeper than its surface appearance as a contribution to contemporary art. www.mowanjumarts.com MAYA HAVILAND IS A PHOTOGRAPHER, SOCIAL RESEARCHER AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PRACTITIONER WHO HAS LIVED AND WORKED IN THE WEST KIMBERLEY IN RECENT YEARS. .
48 OBJECT MAGAZINE STUDIO EDITION
‘ The Wandjina create the land, bring the rain, and were the ﬁrst artists.’
OBJECT MAGAZINE STUDIO EDITION 49
NEW ZEALAND Alan Preston remains one of the seminal figures in contemporary jewellery, not only in his native Aotearoa (New Zealand), but across the Tasman Sea and right around the Pacific Rim. He was one of the six founding members (and is still a current partner) of the influential Fingers Gallery in Auckland in 1974. Since opening, Fingers has been steadfastly dedicated to representing contemporary jewellery and jewellers and continues to be a destination for collectors from around the globe. Preston’s work and career were recently celebrated in New Zealand, when he was honoured as the inaugural recipient of the biannual Deane Award for Decorative Arts. The award enabled him to produce a new body of work for inclusion in a significant survey exhibition organised and toured by TheNewDowse: Alan Preston: Made in Aotearoa. The exhibition showcased Preston’s key works and themes from 1979 to the present day.
The year 1979 was an important starting point, as it was at this time that Preston abandoned conventions to focus on making jewellery from materials that reflected the environment, values and identity of his Pacific homeland. In the ordered chaos of his studio – along with traditional metals such as silver and gold, which only ever play a modest supporting role in his work – one can find stashes of black-lipped oyster shell, paua shell, kowhai seeds, kauri seeds, hibiscus bark and greywacke stone (a hard, bluish gravel used for roadworks). Preston uses these materials’ capacity to speak of place – to him they are precious, and are often only subtly altered in his hands. Preston established his first studio in central Auckland in 1973 and relocated to a bushcovered block perched high above Muriwai Beach (about half an hour’s drive west of Auckland) in 1975. After a decade of living in a rented bach (shack) and working from a space at the end of an adjacent garage, he commissioned the now lauded New Zealand architect David Mitchell to design a house and studio that was sensitive to both the site and to Preston’s practice. Completed in 1986, the elegantly understated buildings echo Preston’s jewellery in a similarly considered relationship between materials and place. The studio was divided into three rooms to allow ‘dirty’ and ‘clean’ activities to be separated, with two additional workstations provided to accommodate occasional work experience students.
& 50 OBJECT MAGAZINE STUDIO EDITION
‘ There is some sort of kinaesthetic map that tells my hands where to go to ﬁnd and do things in the making process.’
ALAN PRESTON IN HIS STUDIO MAKING CORD WITH VAU (HIBISCUS BARK). PHOTO: STEPHEN ROBINSON
OBJECT MAGAZINE STUDIO EDITION 51
Preston says that the location of his studio has more impact on the work than the physical space itself – understandable when you consider that tourist brochures refer to Muriwai Beach as one of the most ruggedly picturesque wilderness beaches in New Zealand. He adds that, after more than two decades, a great deal of his recent work has been made almost entirely from materials sourced from this sublime location. www.fingers.co.nz www.dowse.org.nz www.mitchellstoutarchitects.co.nz BRIAN PARKES IS ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR AT OBJECT: AUSTRALIAN CENTRE FOR CRAFT AND DESIGN, SYDNEY.
BACKGROUND: ROADWORK PINS, 2006, ROAD METAL STONES, PAINT, SILVER. PHOTO: JULIA STACE BROOK-WHITE.
A NEW BOOK ON THE WORK OF ALAN PRESTON, BETWEEN THE TIDES, BY DAMIAN SKINNER IS DUE OUT IN APRIL 2008. THE EXHIBITION ALAN PRESTON: MADE IN AOTEAROA IS TOURING NEW ZEALAND IN 2008 AND WILL BE SHOWN AT THE SOUTHLAND MUSEUM FROM 7 MARCH TO 4 MAY.
52 OBJECT MAGAZINE STUDIO EDITION
INSET, FROM TOP: TWISTING BLACK DYED VAU (HIBISCUS BARK) WITH UNDYED VAU TO MAKE CORD; A DRAWPLATE IN THE VICE ON PRESTON’S WORK BENCH. THE DRAWPLATE IS USED FOR DRAWING DOWN SILVER OR GOLD WIRE WHICH IS THEN TWISTED AND PUT ON THE ENDS OF THE VAU CORDS. PHOTOS: STEPHEN ROBINSON. SELECTED IMAGES COURTESY RANDOM HOUSE FROM CRAFTED BY DESIGN: INSIDE NEW ZEALAND CRAFT ARTISTS’ STUDIOS BY JEANETTE COOK
& ) )
) MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART, TOKYO 27 OCTOBER 2007 â€“ 20 JANUARY 2008 The Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (MOT), with its glorious light-filled rooms, was a splendid venue for an exhibition about how we coexist with space. Space for your future is a collection of future visions by 34 individual and collective artists and designers from all over the world. Curated by the MOTâ€™s Yuko Hasegawa, â€˜spaceâ€™ refers to an environment that influences both our physical and spiritual realm. The exhibition combines the imaginations of artists from numerous genres â€“ architecture, fashion, graphic design, product design, film, video, environmental design and fine art â€“ against a playground of new technology. Their futuristic visions capture a world of possibilities. At first glance, Mikiko Minewakiâ€™s mineorities, modelled from familiar objects, is not particularly striking. However, on closer inspection this is an outstanding work. Minewaki works with plastic fragments to show that jewellery can be made from ordinary, massproduced materials. In mineorities plastic recorders, squirt guns and bowls have been carefully cut in sections and the sections linked to produce a necklace. By looking closely, we can guess the original form and colour of the original object. Minewaki is part of Japanâ€™s developing studio-jewellery scene. Sydneyâ€™s Powerhouse Museum has a Minewaki necklace in its collection, and her work has been toured to significant exhibitions throughout Europe. A â€˜LED Dressâ€™ created by the Cyprus-born fashion designer Hussein Chalayan was, literally, brilliant. Made of thousands of tiny LEDs embedded into panels controlled by a complex set of micromotors with tiny pulleys and cables and covered by an opaque baby doll-style dress, it was â€˜wowâ€™. With the engineering genius of mechatronics wiz Moritz Waldemeyer, and the support of Swarovski, Chalayan also wowed audiences with his LED dresses and hats at the Spring/Summer 2007 Paris collections. Phitohumanoids turned out to be soft sculptures that looked a bit like a human being at the same time as looking like a chair (of the beanbag variety). Brazilian Ernesto Netoâ€™s wearable â€˜interactive â€Ś phitohumanoidsâ€™ are made of stretchable fabrics of nylon and cotton and filled with tiny beads or scented spices. Visitors are encouraged to experiment with the sculptures â€“ you can â€˜wearâ€™ the chair. Neto has made an indelible mark on the international art scene with his interactive sculptures, at once massive and intimate, shaped like giant organic membranes. Michael Linâ€™s untitled floral patterns, delicately inscribed in pencil covering three walls, play with the architectural space. Only the far wall displays floral pattern s in vivid colours, characteristic of the artistâ€™s visual exuberance. A closer look reveals a canvas painting hung in the middle, its patterns connecting with those of the wall drawing surrounding it. The spectacular nature of the works mentioned here â€“ and of many others exhibited in the show â€“ ensures that the visitorâ€™s relationship to â€˜spaceâ€™ is transformed. This exhibition is weird and fascinating. It certainly spurs the imagination. www.mot-art-museum.jp CAS BENNETTO IS A SYDNEY-BASED WRITER AND COMMUNICATION CONSULTANT.
54 OBJECT MAGAZINE
) ; & ) VICTORIA AND ALBERT MUSEUM, LONDON 13 NOVEMBER 2007 â€“ 17 FEBRUARY 2008 Out of the Ordinary kicks off in the afterglow of the outrageous Dale Chihuly chandelier suspended from the central rotunda of the Victoria and Albertâ€™s foyer, all streamers and baubles. For an exhibition that claims to explore the commonplace, there is already a sense that there is craft, and then there is craft. To begin, Anne Wilsonâ€™s Topologies, 2007â€“08, presents lace scraps, threads, knots and pins laid out in various configurations on a long plinth. The ant-sized bits and pieces toy with our anthropocentric tendencies as we see in them reflections of our own behaviour: congregation, collaboration, isolation and activity. The work dialogues with Olu Amodaâ€™s This is Lagos, 2002, another miniature landscape of found objects, this time scrap-metal salvaged from the streets of Amodaâ€™s hometown of Lagos, Nigeria. The overlapping odd shapes evoke the contours of a city, appropriately spirited, chaotic and grubby, while embodying a remnant of the place it came from. Naomi Filmer reappraises that most familiar of things, the human body. Using props such as a spherical lens, she explores its forgotten corners â€“ a shoulder, an elbow, a heel â€“ and renders them in hologram, sculpture, or through sound or video. Her collection prompted a sense of unease, of ghostly, dismembered presences of the very intimate rendered very strange. Annie Cattrel echoes Filmerâ€™s fascination with anatomy with Capacity, 2007, a pair of extraordinary glass lungs, their mesh of bronchi crafted with stunning delicacy. The work transforms the spongy, dark, cavernous internal organs into a crystalline, lacey spectacle, displaying and preserving the hidden and ephemeral. SUSAN COLLIS, CURSED WITH A SOUL (INSTALLATION DETAIL), 2007 ÂŠ V&A IMAGES
Conversely, Yoshihiro Sudaâ€™s work is more about what it disguises than reveals. With mindboggling craftsmanship, Suda replicates botanical forms in wood so perfectly that the only clue as to their artificiality is their location â€“ secreted in unexpected crannies of the museum like weeds. Susan Collis also conceals her toil, exemplified by her puzzling presentation of a paint-spattered table and drop-sheet. Closer inspection proves the flecks, drops and rivulets to be nothing short of meticulously inlaid pearl, agate, coral or opal, and the drop-sheetâ€™s spatters are, in fact, detailed embroidery. Thus the worthless appearance camouflages its opposite: the precious and meticulously wrought. Lu Shenzhong, however, harnesses a certain â€˜wow factorâ€™ in his paper-cut installations. The Book of Humanity: The Empty Book, 2007, is comprised of three books of red paper, suspended aloft, each hollowed and spewing a river of red streamers and paper dolls in a waterfall to the floor. Every hand-cut human figure is slightly unique, representing fragile and insignificant individuals in the sea of humanity. In concert, the seven artists gather themes such as simulacra, re-invention, dislocation, transformation, and inverting the ordinary. None are decisively craftspeople, but all employ a certain â€˜craft sensibilityâ€™. As curator Laurie Britton Newell puts it in her catalogue introduction: â€˜craft is not a separate category but an ingredient, a process.â€™ As the first in a series of triennial partnerships between the V&A and the British Crafts Council, it will become apparent whether in the 21st century craft is indeed less a noun than a verb. www.vam.ac.uk www.craftscouncil.org.uk EMILY HOWES IS A FREELANCE DESIGN WRITER CURRENTLY UNDERTAKING POSTGRADUATE RESEARCH AT THE UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY, SYDNEY.
OBJECT MAGAZINE STUDIO EDITION 55
NATIONAL GALLERY OF AUSTRALIA, CANBERRA 12 OCTOBER 2007 – 10 FEBRUARY 2008 Culture Warriors, the NGA’s inaugural National Indigenous Art Triennial exhibition, showcases works by 30 living Australian Indigenous artists. It traverses a range of visual arts media including paintings on bark and canvas, three-dimensional objects such as woven artworks, wooden, metal and ceramic sculptures, along with digital new media and video. The extensiveness of this survey exhibition allows for only the most cursory sampling of its offerings here. Therefore I shall take the tack of identifying those artists whose artworks I found most truthful and aesthetically compelling – taking into account that one woman’s truth is not always another’s. Kuninjku artist John Mawurndjul’s ochre-painted Mardayin designs, originating from sacred male body-painting ceremonies, are exquisitely rendered on bark as well as on hollow log ‘coffins’. Mawurndjul’s finely wrought, web-like patternings are without blemish – simply perfect. While Mawurndjul’s markings have a revelatory quality, he does not give up his secrets. Moving from Arnhem Land to the Western Desert region, similarly intricate ‘webs of meaning’ are also revealed in the beautiful, gracile and subtle mark-making of Doreen Nakamarra Reid. The same purity of style and painterly qualities evident in Mawurndjul’s work are also present in that of Nakamarra Reid. Queenslander Danie Mellor makes a witty visual statement à propos of the complex relationships between nature and culture in his marvellous Wonderland, 2007, installation. In Wonderland the artist has brought together highly-skilled ceramic work with a variety of other media, including kangaroo skin. The latter brings a rather abject quality to the ears and paws of Mellor’s mostly ceramic marsupials. Mellor’s installation is essentially a satire on countless past and present ‘pastoral’ scenes of Australian wildlife, while simultaneously providing a commentary on stereotypical museological as well as conventionalised (neo-) colonial photographic display practices. It seems that creating this nouveau-Australiana has also occasioned Mellor a visit or two to the taxidermist’s – his stuffed, chirpless birds on branches offer their own kind of mute statement. In terms of sculptural work, I cannot conclude without mentioning Owen Yalandja’s superb, carved Yawkyawks, 2007, (Antipodean Sirens/Mermaids/Ancestral Beings, more or less) that have been cleverly juxtaposed with Anniebell Marrngamarrnga’s fascinatingly left-of-field woven versions thereof. Coolly composed and engaging, Marrngamarrnga’s and Yalandja’s works complement each other beautifully.
DANIE MELLOR, THE CONTRIVANCE OF A VINTAGE WONDERLAND (A MAGNIFICENT FLIGHT OF CURIOUS FANCY FOR SCIENCE BUFFS, A CHINA ARK OF SEDUCTIVE WHIMSY, A DIVINELY ORDERED SPECIAL ATTRACTION, UPHELD IN MULTIFARIOUSNESS), 2007, INSTALLATION OF MIXED MEDIA, KANGAROO SKIN, CERAMIC, SYNTHETIC EYEBALLS, WOOD, BIRDS. ARTWORK APPEARS IN CULTURE WARRIORS COURTESY THE ARTIST. PHOTO: COURTESY THE ARTIST AND NGA, CANBERRA
The observation needs to be made that the work on display in Culture Warriors is not of consistent quality but, in places, patchy. There’s also another whole debate to be had, a debate tapping into broader contemporary social discussions about whether to ‘mainstream’ Aboriginal artwork by including it with other Australian art or, alternatively, to separate it curatorially, which is the approach that has been taken in Culture Warriors. The question of the ‘mainstreaming’ of contemporary Aboriginal art is a tricky one because I (and certain others) would contend that Aboriginal art in fact does, at this point in history, constitute the mainstream. The Triennial has now become institutionalised, which may account for the tactic employed. This is probably a good enough reason for erecting a curatorial fence around Indigenous art, at least for the moment. Many works that I have discussed in this review are not drawn from the ranks of the major or usual prize-getters. Indeed, John Mawurndjul is the only artist among the most prominent group of artists listed as the ‘big guns’ (a highly contestable concept in this context) in the somewhat overblown publicity blurb accompanying Culture Warriors. Nevertheless there are many artistic ‘sharp-shooters’ represented in this exhibition, whose works do make it well worth the effort to visit. www.nga.gov.au CHRISTINE NICHOLLS IS A WRITER, CURATOR AND ACADEMIC WHO WORKS IN AUSTRALIAN STUDIES AT FLINDERS UNIVERSITY, ADELAIDE.
56 OBJECT MAGAZINE STUDIO EDITION
/ ; ) <
ANNA MILES GALLERY, AUCKLAND 3â€“27 OCTOBER 2007
UTS GALLERY, SYDNEY 25 SEPTEMBER â€“ 26 OCTOBER 2007
Octavia Cookâ€™s recent show, Accoutrements for the Entitled by Cook & Co, at Anna Miles Gallery in Auckland, New Zealand, is characterised by a spirit of alienated luxury and pageantry. Cook talks the language of branding and commercialism, and she does so with a wink. While her previous cameo jewellery dealt with her own family history, including her pet cats, and playfully introduced Captain James Cook and Queen Elizabeth as a part of that history, her new collection is dealing with the shine and power of jewellery in general.
Urban Myths & Modern Fables was a bold, collaborative exhibition that explored the timely issues of migration, displacement and identity. Drawing on the notion of myth as a narrative, featuring heroic or supernatural characters and events, or the idea of the fable, the 11 exhibiting artists used these concepts to comment on the contemporary world.
Cook succeeds in evoking the right atmosphere with the aid of a dressing table, a variety of mirrors and turning displays. There are a few cameo jewels in this show, like A Fine Pair, 2007: two funny gold and acrylic earrings showing Octaviaâ€™s profile on one earring and Queen Elizabethâ€™s on the other. Some pieces are much more aloof, like A Vulgar Show of Wealth Neckring, 2007. This plain necklace has a huge ornament in the form of a flat gem in a setting â€“ sawn out of acrylic and silver â€“ hanging upside down. Because this piece is blown out of all proportion, it represents the summit of repulsiveness. As such it works as a kind of caricature of a jewel. This mocking character can be found in other pieces, like the Quality and Quantity rings, 2007, or The Tsarina, 2007, a â€˜ceremonial hand mirrorâ€™ which hangs from a heavy chain. It is a new departure compared to the rather sentimental character of Cookâ€™s former cameos. Queens, Tsarinas and Maharanis are used as models for Cookâ€™s new jewellery, and are stamped with her own brand name, Cook & Co, which is in the centre of all her designs. The forms of her jewels are bold and contemporary, with stout chains and quirky ornaments. This young New Zealand jeweller has a fine touch of styling and conceptualising. www.annamilesgallery.com LIESBETH DEN BESTEN IS A CRAFT AND JEWELLERY WRITER AND CURATOR BASED IN AMSTERDAM. SHE IS ALSO THE CHAIR OF THE FRANĂ‡OISE VAN DEN BOSCH FOUNDATION FOR CONTEMPORARY JEWELLERY. OCTAVIA COOK, A VULGAR SHOW OF WEALTH NECKRING, 2007, ACRYLIC, 18CT GOLD, STERLING SILVER. PHOTO: HARU SAMESHIMA. COURTESY THE ARTIST AND ANNA MILES GALLERY, AUCKLAND
While the 25 works were executed in vastly different ways, these Australian artists share a camaraderie in their positions as established contemporary practitioners of Indian and Pakistani lineage now working in the Diaspora. The result was an engaging display of statements. Urban Myths & Modern Fables was curated by Haema Sivanesan, who says she was interested in a strong commonality among the key emerging artists involved in the show. And so the viewer is treated to some incredibly skilful work that sought to dispel myths, challenge ideologies and express a cross-section of realities for the artists. Influenced by Eastern and Western experiences, we see artists such as Tazeen Qayyum produce miniature paintings of exquisitely detailed cockroaches and decorated fumigators. The work is one of many that draw upon the post 9/11 dialogue between Muslims and the West. In this instance, the allegorical works reference the colloquial Pakistani description of the treatment of Muslim soldiers as insects. Similarly powerful is Sangeeta Sandrasegarâ€™s haunting installation, Untitled (The Shadow of Murder, Lay Upon My Sleep), 2006, which contains a series of paper cut-outs â€“ templates of European designer chairs engraved with horrific scenes of war. Juxtaposed with this are black paper puppet-like dolls that are draped in an array of hanging, flaccid poses. The work equates the current â€˜War on Terrorismâ€™ with World War ll as incidents both lacking in social conscious. A number of the artists demonstrate their concern with ethics and the debunking of stereotypes or myths. Working with conceptual techniques such as visual puns, quotation and metaphor, this exhibition reinvents and challenges the master narratives informing our notions of culture. The overriding result is a snapshot into the migrant experience, which many of us can relate to â€“ operating between past and present, the real and the imagined, and as an ongoing process of myth-making and storytelling. www.utsgallery.uts.edu.au AMBER DAINES IS DIRECTOR OF BESPOKE COMMUNICATIONS, A CREATIVE COMMUNICATIONS CONSULTANCY (WWW.BESPOKECOMMS.COM.AU) AND FORMER DEVELOPMENT MANAGER AT OBJECT: AUSTRALIAN CENTRE FOR CRAFT AND DESIGN, SYDNEY. HAMRA ABBAS, BATTLE SCENES, 2006, COMPUTER-GENERATED ANIMATION ON DVD. ARTWORK COURTESY THE ARTIST. PHOTO: COURTESY THE ARTIST, CURATOR AND UTS GALLERY, SYDNEY
OBJECT MAGAZINE STUDIO EDITION 57
& ;) )
SINGAPORE DESIGN FESTIVAL 28 NOVEMBER â€“ 8 DECEMBER 2007
DESIGN CENTRE, LAUNCESTON, TASMANIA 26 OCTOBER â€“ 19 NOVEMBER 2007
Singapore is a city where, for many, shopping has become a nightly ritual. The cool glow of department store fluorescents, behind large designer names such as Dior and Gucci, provides more of an opportunity for personal space and individuality than a small government apartment packed with three generations of family members ever could.
Fred Fisherâ€™s exhibition, Sculpture, provides a rare opportunity not only to encounter a significant body of his unique work, but also to see how the exhibition program of the Design Centre is extending into exciting territory. Housing the Tasmanian Wood Collection, perceptions of the Centre are still formulated around the principle of fine examples of Tasmanian artisanship and design in precious, even revered, woods.
Viewing this form of consumer therapy is concerning, given our current environmental situation. However, some more ecologicallyminded members of the Singaporean design scene are forming an alliance to fight against what has become an ingrained part of life in Singapore. Led by the winner of this yearâ€™s Presidentâ€™s Design Award, Jackson Tan, this group of designers is exhibiting new directions in sustainable design. Utterubbish, a self-proclaimed â€˜Collection of Useless Ideasâ€™, as part of the biannual Singapore Design Festival 2007, has brought together more than 30 designers from around the world to explore the blurred line between trash and treasure in a country where, to locals, the delineation seems to be crystal clear. A true highlight of the exhibition was Trash, 1996, by Bruno Mouron and Pascal Rostain, a French duo who have spent the past 20 years trawling through the rubbish bins of celebrities such as Ronald Reagan and Madonna, endeavouring to represent each subject through a collection of their household waste, turning these discarded remnants of consumption into a series of poetic narratives. Colours magazine exhibited a satirical installation based on a series of photographs that depict a rather disturbing future reality. This series documents the effects of global warming on a fictional island called Vorland. Situated off the coast of Sweden in 2056, Vorland has experienced a massive thaw over the previous ten years, transforming the island into the ultimate holiday spot in the summer and a hurricaneridden nightmare during the winter. This is a brilliant series that is sure to leave viewers with a dreadful sinking feeling in the stomach. There is no question as to the relevance of this type of exhibition, considering the current environmental climate. I only hope that the audience considers the message behind this work, rather than dismissing it as contentious designer garble. www.utterubbish.com TRENT JANSEN IS A SYDNEY-BASED DESIGNER. HE IS CURRENTLY DEVELOPING NEW OBJECTS FOR MANUFACTURERS IN THE NETHERLANDS, JAPAN AND AUSTRALIA. ABOVE: COLOURS, UMBRELLA, 2007. PHOTO: COURTESY COLOURS MAGAZINE AND SINGAPORE DESIGN FESTIVAL
58 OBJECT MAGAZINE STUDIO EDITION
Fred Fisherâ€™s exhibition breaks that mould in its use of painted MDF and its purely sculptural concerns. While rigour and consummate craft skills are to be valued, they may often be employed in the service of limited ideas and questionable design values. We may marvel at the ingenuity and skill levels Fisher attains, but they are always integral to the extraordinary sculptural qualities of his work. His capacity to envision and fabricate complex and tantalising objects demonstrates a level of conceptual development of threedimensional form that is rare and exquisite. Works such as Coil, 2006, create an immediate engagement through their powerful presence. Coil is a sinuous, growing form, drawing the viewer in and around, directing the eye up in a dynamic and active relationship. Closer reading engages one in an interweaving of parts that seems to flow through the sculpture in impossible ways, defying the nature of the material through the massing of many component parts into complex, fluid forms. In much of Fisherâ€™s work the richness of the visual experience is heightened by the bold use of two opposing colours, or of black and white, creating optical effects that amplify and extend the formal components and spatial relationships, as exemplified by works such as Black Relief, 2007 and Stack, 2005. The power of Fisherâ€™s work derives from the sound visual (and mathematical) principles that underpin it all, and the concordance of idea, form and articulation, rigourously maintained in its development and realisation. Few artists have the capacity to conceive such complexity in three dimensions and to balance the various elements so acutely. www.designcentre.com.au SEĂ N KELLY IS A WRITER AND CURATOR BASED IN HOBART. ABOVE: FRED FISHER, COIL (DETAIL), 2006, MDF, ACRYLIC PAINT. PHOTO: JANET FISHER
CAMPBELLTOWN ARTS CENTRE, CAMPBELLTOWN, NSW 1 SEPTEMBER â€“ 28 OCTOBER 2007
CRAFT VICTORIA, MELBOURNE 27 SEPTEMBER â€“ 1 DECEMBER 2007
The text â€˜Krap Crap Carp Parkâ€™ has been woven into the very fibres of a customary ni-Vanuatu mat, and is accompanied by exquisite, rhythmical patterning. It is part of a larger group of woven works commissioned by the artist Newell Harry, which toy with the surprising connectedness of languages that form his Australian, South African and Mauritian makeup. Similarly, other artists in the News from Islands exhibition drew on the personal to interrogate issues of locality and association across the Pacific. With the inclusion of 21 artists â€“ some with extensive community involvement â€“ performances and a comprehensive catalogue, News from Islands was a thoughtful and pertinent project.
Like a child entering the depths of waters to explore, so too do five New Zealand ceramists venture into the rapids of Melbourneâ€™s art world. Best in Show investigates five individualsâ€™ internal and external environments, capturing their habitat and raising the question: â€˜What is this Antarctic Riviera?â€™ Is it all fur coats and Campari?
One of the works that sung most for me was Keren Rukiâ€™s Kahu kuri, 2006, a cloak woven with fibres planted by Ruki on her own marae (meeting house) in New Zealand and layered with dingo pelts hunted in south-west New South Wales. Kahu kuri were formerly made using New Zealandâ€™s own indigenous and now extinct dog, the Kuri. This intensive weaving practice is now defunct and Ruki had to research museum collections across Australia and New Zealand to learn the technique. It took her three years to complete, to consult, to ask for blessings, to gather the materials and then to weave. The muka (flax) that caresses the wearer (traditionally a male chief) is beautifully and finely woven, while the sumptuousness of the dingo fur, sewn into white and brown strips, protects and warms. The idea of nurture is fundamental to Rukiâ€™s practice. The cloak is her gift to her extended family for use in the diverse life ceremonies in both her New Zealand and Australian homes. Its preciousness well exceeds its functionality. During the opening weekend, Latai Taumoepeau honoured the Kahu kuri with a visceral dance, evoking its magnificence and mesmerising the crowd. email@example.com MAUD PAGE IS CURATOR OF CONTEMPORARY PACIFIC ART AT THE QUEENSLAND ART GALLERY I GALLERY OF MODERN ART. SHE IS A MEMBER OF THE ASIA PACIFIC TRIENNIAL OF CONTEMPORARY ART (APT) CURATORIUM, AND CONTRIBUTED TO THE LAST TWO TRIENNIALS IN 2002 AND IN 2006. ABOVE: KEREN RUKI, (FOREGROUND) KAHU KURI (DOG-SKIN CLOAK), 2006, MUKA (FLAX FIBRE), DINGO SKINS; (BACKGROUND) TUMOHEâ€™S CLOAK, 1997, IRON-ON TRANSFER, FABRIC AND CANE; MAORI GIRL, 1999, IRON-ON TRANSFER, FABRIC AND CANE. PHOTO: SILVERSALT PHOTOGRAPHY
What we see here is a snapshot of seascapes, dreams of lost species resurrected, the micro enlarged and festive occasions. Emerging from these waters are the creatures that inhabit the sea for Joanna Marie Soster, clumps of coral wrapped with the slippery tentacle of an octopus, and birds that lie lifeless. Marie Strauss presents a series of wax-covered, egg-shaped ceramics in soft colours of green, cream and grey. They sit high as if close to an incubator lamp, and from these pods sprout hair, capturing the moment of hatching of the Moa bird, lost to extinction. Everything is larger than life, as in Kate Springfordâ€™s extraordinary, oversized, flea-like creature, My Pet Choccie, beckoning to be held and loved, and captured crawling in motion â€“ it is dressed for the occasion in a re-used fabric bridal headpiece. Accompanying this piece are two curly-topped ceramic cakes, covered in the same chocolate-coloured glaze, making them good enough to eat. From these muted naturalistic colours we find Madeleine Childâ€™s assortment of large-scale confections. The replication of artificiallycoloured popcorn in bright pink, yellow, orange, green and blue, covered with shimmering iridescent glass beads, is impressive. Philip Jarvis also plays with the large scale in producing Monopoly Trophies of a dog, boat and jockey. Hand-built, twisted and tortured, the three works are roughly glazed in tarnished silver. Some works in Best in Show become lost in this playfulness. Overall, most distil a sense of what is important in each ceramistâ€™s surroundings within this Antarctic Riviera. www.craftvic.asn.au STEPHEN GALLAGHER IS A MELBOURNE-BASED JEWELLER AND CURATOR FOR RMIT SCHOOL OF ART GALLERIES, AND THE CURRENT RECIPIENT OF THE AUSTRALIA COUNCIL LONDON STUDIO. ABOVE: MADELEINE CHILD, CHEEZLES, 2007, CERAMIC, GLASS. PHOTO: COURTESY THE ARTIST
OBJECT MAGAZINE STUDIO EDITION 59
Cnr Middle and Bloomfield Streets, Cleveland Qld 4163 Monday to Friday 9am – 4pm, Sunday 9am – 2pm Admission free Tel: (07) 3829 8899 or firstname.lastname@example.org www.redland.qld.gov.au Redland Art Gallery is an initiative of Redland Shire Council, dedicated to the late Eddie Santagiuliana Image: Romani Benjamin, Spine 2006, lost wax cast glass. Courtesy of Ranamok Glass Prize Limited. Photograph: Screaming Pixel.
Sunday 13 April – Sunday 18 May 2008 Redland Art Gallery, Cleveland
Issue 55 of Object Australian Centre for Craft and Design's Magazine. Object is supported by the New South Wales Government - Arts NSW, and...
Published on Oct 30, 2009
Issue 55 of Object Australian Centre for Craft and Design's Magazine. Object is supported by the New South Wales Government - Arts NSW, and...