JUNE 2020

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June 2020


Cover: Grant Stevens, The Forest, 2020 (Detail), procedurally generated computer graphics with sound, multiple display formats 1-3 video channels, endless duration Inside cover: Tony Albert, Brother (The invisible prodigal son) II 2020, glass, digital print glass decal, lead, painted steel



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Contents 07 Never the Same 09 Grant Stevens: The Forest 12 A walk through The Forest with Natalya Hughes and Grant Stevens 15 Polly Borland: Shapeshifter 19 Tony Albert: Duty of Care 28 In the Studio with Karen Black 30 Collector Profile: Tumurun Museum 32 Louis Ho podcast: Louis Ho and Jeremy Sharma: Solitary Confinement 36 Influences: Kanchana Gupta 38 At Home with Richard Lewer 40 Art Law Express: Alana Kushnir 42 Quick Curate: Protest 44 Last Word: Accidental Encounters with Esther Anatolitis 46 Upcoming Exhibitions

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Tony Albert RIOT 2019


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Ursula Sullivan and Joanna Strumpf. Photo credit: Anna Kucera


Never the Same Ursula Sullivan+Joanna Strumpf

We’re back. Back in the gallery, back to installing shows and back with a second issue of our new magazine! But the world is definitely not back to where it was. It most likely will never be again. Which poses the question of how to pick up the pieces and work towards making the future “better”. As a gallery, there has never been a time where we have been more grateful to be involved in the arts, for the opportunity that this affords to engage with a diversity of voices, across a multitude of topics. In this issue we are proud to feature conversations with three artists whose work questions and challenges the status quo, supporting the call for essential change, to preserve the richness of our humanity. Grant Stevens talks about the inspiration for his new exhibition, The Forest, a timely reflection on our relationship with nature in this age of instant gratification, perpetual fatigue, imminent environmental catastrophe, political inertia, self-care and social anxiety. Opening at S+S Sydney, 25 June. An extract from Sally Brand’s powerful essay on Tony Albert’s upcoming exhibition, Duty of Care, explores duty of care as a social contract and an act of reconciliation. As global outrage at the death of African American man, George Floyd, at the hands of US police officers continues, Brand comments on the potency and relevance of Albert’s work in a world where “institutional and systemic violence experienced by Aboriginal people, and particularly men, is unchanging”, concluding that his stained-glass windows, sand-etched glass text works,

and glass casts of Aboriginalia “provide a visual form that like systemic racism can be shattered”. Opening at Canberra Glassworks, June 2020. We also invited Leigh Robb, curator of the 2020 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Monster Theatres, to write about Polly Borland’s exploration and questioning of our perceptions of beauty and difference. On now, Art Gallery of South Australia. On a lighter note, you can also read about Richard Lewer’s love for roast chook, Karen Black’s studio mate, Frankie; and discover Kanchana Gupta’s world of influences. In other news, our digital program continues to expand and this month we are excited to share new conversations with you via our podcast: Natalya Hughes with Grant Stevens, Sally Brand with Tony Albert, and Louis Ho with Jeremy Sharma in Singapore. We have also majorly tweaked our viewing room (if you haven’t already been there its worth a visit). Enter your email address to visit current exhibitions: Darren Sylvester’s Balustrade Stake and flat, curated by one of Singapore’s most talented curators Louis Ho. There is heaps of content including videos, podcasts and Spotify playlists created by our artists to support the exhibitions. Or, if you are able, do come visit – we’ve missed you, and are keen to welcome visitors back to our gallery spaces: in keeping with best social distancing and preventive health practices, naturally! – Urs and Jo

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Grant Stevens with The Forest, 2020. Photo credit: Aaron Anderson


Grant Stevens: The Forest In Grant Stevens’ computer-generated worlds, digital technology and the natural environment come together in an endless series of speculative moments, uneasy contemplation, instant gratification and perpetual fatigue. By Nina Miall

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Grant Stevens: The Forest

Upcoming Exhibition: The Forest Grant Stevens / Sydney / 25.6.2020 / 1pm

Since the early 2000s, Grant Stevens has developed an extensive body of work using moving image, text, and photography. While his early videos often focused on the role of language and communication in shaping our experiences, his more recent projects have turned towards our perceptions of time in an age of instant gratification. Harnessing the real-time potentials of 3D gaming software, these works provide opportunities for quietude and reflection, against a backdrop that demands speed and immediacy. In a new work Below the Mountains…, commissioned for the UTS Broadway Screen, cameras pan across a vast computer-generated landscape, evolving over a limitless duration. Natural cycles of the sun, tides, and seasons come and go, as geological features erode and uplift, and trees grow and decay.

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In another new work The Forest, presented this June at Sullivan+Strumpf, a generous panorama immerses the viewer in a forest landscape that has all the hallmarks - towering conifers, flower-strewn meadow, snowy mountain backdrop - of a restorative screensaver. A single camera roams the computer-generated terrain, taking the subtle environmental dynamics of the scene into its purview. Artificially intelligent, the camera’s tracking movements over the hyperreal topography are randomized by an algorithm to create an endless, and endlessly soothing, iteration. The salutary promise of the scene is heightened by the soundscape which, with its vacillating orchestral harmonies, heralds a perpetual new dawn. Closer scrutiny unsettles the experience of The Forest, though, revealing the paradoxes of its simulated setting. The curative potential of the work’s alpine imagery, originally associated with the Romantic sublime and more recently promoted by

mindfulness apps, is undermined by an increasingly disquieting sense of absence: of people, fauna, action or climax. Steady and purposeful, the camera’s navigation of the scene implies an almost sentient logic, its intention increasingly unclear. As the video unfolds in real time, time within the forest doesn’t pass, the shadows arrested in the mid-afternoon, the scene’s weather conditions unchanging. With extended viewing, occasional glitches in the otherwise beautifully rendered imagery snag your eye, while your ear wakes up to subtle dissonances within the soundscape. Discord takes root, and our ready affinity for the representation of nature’s hackneyed tropes slowly unravels. Drawing on the visual languages of video gaming and the wellness industry with their high production values, The Forest continues Stevens’ interrogation of the conventions of representation, how they shape our inner lives and outer projections. Having worked with computer graphics throughout his practice, this new form of digital simulation allows Stevens to manipulate both the seductive and suspicious qualities of its aesthetic strategies with considered ambivalence. As the artist explains, “digital simulation provides an uneasy proxy for sensory immersion in a natural setting that is both idealised and homogenised through algorithms”. Part homage to the natural environment, part reflection on quests for personal growth, and part satire of wellbeing initiatives and their claims to rejuvenation, The Forest’s therapeutic promise may remain unfulfilled, but the work gives us pause to consider our perennial desire for meaning and insight, and the ways in which we seek them.


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A walk through The Forest with Natalya Hughes and Grant Stevens

Join artists Natalya Hughes and Grant Stevens as they discuss Grant’s new exhibition The Forest which launches online and in the gallery 25 June. Natalya and Grant have been close friends and colleagues for 20 years. Since studying together at QUT in the early 2000s, they have co-edited publications, exhibited together, and more recently, collaborated in academic contexts. They have spent many years discussing art and many other unrelated topics.

Listen to podcast

In this podcast, Natalya asks Grant the hard questions – from “how do you use a computer in your art” (a perennial question asked by the public at their artist talks), to why “working with assets” is a vital part of Grant’s practice – and not an investment strategy!

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Enjoy this walk through The Forest.

Page 6 Top: Grant Stevens The Forest, 2020 (Detail), procedurally generated computer-graphics with sound, multiple display formats 1-3 video channels, endless duration Page 6 Bottom: Grant Stevens, The Way 2007, lambda photograph mounted on laminated custom cabinet with inbuilt car audio system, CD receiver and speakers duration: 00:23:37 mins, 75.0 x 197.0 x 39.0 cm cabinet Collection: Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney Page 7: Grant Stevens Supermassive 2013, Synchronised four-channel HD video, 11 mins 19 seconds, Installation image.


Grant Stevens,The Forest, 2020 (detail) procedurally generated computer graphics with sound, multiple display formats 1-3 video channels, endless duration

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Installation view, Polly Borland, 2020 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Monster Theatres. Art Gallery of South Australia. Photo credit: Saul Steed


Polly Borland: Shapeshifter Polly Borland’s sensational works are part of the 2020 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Monster Theatres at the Art Gallery of South Australia. It’s now open to the public and on view until August 16. By Leigh Robb, Curator of Contemporary Art, Art Gallery of South Australia

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Polly Borland: Shapeshifter

Part-photography, part-sculpture, Polly Borland’s 2018

Polly Borland’s series of hallucinogenic high-key

series MORPH sees the nude body cocooned, distended

pop-colour morphs are contemporary shapeshifters that

and annexed by soft sculptural props. The use of studio

metamorphose between the human and the non-human

portraiture techniques, including the control over

– alien forms that are in excess, but also masked. A photo-

costume, background and lighting, reflects Borland’s

graphic composite of human and other, Borland’s morphs

meticulous editorial eye. Even the choice of high-key pop

are post-gender: they might be bifurcated but they are

colour belies the undulating dysmorphia of her subjects;

non-binary, they defy heteronormative readings.

the bodies presented here are neither totally human nor totally non-human. Expanding on the sculptural possibilities of photography, Giant MORPH 1 (2019) is a life-size tabula scalata or ‘ladder picture’. Originally displayed as a vertical image, the ‘turning pictures’ of the late sixteenth century were an optical folly whereby two images were spliced and corrugated to create an image that changed according to the angle of viewing. By moving around Giant MORPH 1, the moment of metamorphosis is extended and dramatised. The photographic still is viewed here in perceptual motion as the traditional reclining nude is either emerging from or swallowed up by a bulbous

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larva-like form.

- Leigh Robb


Installation view, Polly Borland, 2020 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Monster Theatres, Art Gallery of South Australia. Photo credit: Saul Steed

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Tony Albert, Brother (The invisible prodigal son) II 2020, glass, digital print glass decal, lead, painted steel


Tony Albert: Duty of Care This month, America is burning after the death of African American man George Floyd at the hands of white police officers. Another brother with his life cut short, another too many. We see him now, but do we see the system that perpetuates such violence? Albert’s clear glass works provide a visual form that like systemic racism can be shattered if you apply the right force. Extract from Sally Brand’s essay for Canberra Glassworks, June 2020

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Tony Albert: Duty of Care

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“Duty of care is a social contract, an obligation of individuals to ensure the safety of others. In a country of multiple languages and cultures, such as Australia, duty of care is also an act of reconciliation.”

To care and ensure the safety of others we must see, accept and respect difference as well as be able to see through it. Care is a visible and invisible force. In material form care may well be represented by the clear glass we use in windows to protect us from the rain and wind, in the cups that help us quench our thirst, and on the surface of a mirror that reflects our own image. Clear glass dominates Tony Albert’s latest exhibition Duty of Care at Canberra Glassworks. Glass is a new medium for Albert, who regularly works with collage, painting, found materials and photography to explore Australia’s contentious history and fraught race relations. During a six-week residency in late 2019, Albert collaborated with a team of highly skilled local artists to produce stainedglass windows, sand-etched glass text works, and glass casts of Aboriginalia: domestic and tourist artefacts

that include images of Aboriginal people, their cultural objects and designs. The results are both stunning and stinging, ubiquitous and other worldly, familiar and provocative, characteristics common to Albert’s practice whatever medium he deploys. Installed at the heart of the exhibition, Brother (The invisible prodigal son) II is a leadlight window that features a defiant, proud, and strong young Aboriginal man with a red target through his chest. This piece is one of a series that premiered on the grounds of the National Art School for NIRIN, the 22nd Biennial of Sydney curated by First Nations artist Brook Andrew. In preparation for NIRIN, Albert visited the school that has occupied the site of the former Darlinghurst Gaol


since 1922. The central chapel, built in 1873, features a stained-glass window with its central subject the prodigal son, a parable of Jesus that reminds us of the power of acceptance and the importance of family. For Albert, the connection with his Brothers series, created almost a decade ago in response to police violence against a group of Aboriginal teenage boys in Sydney’s Kings Cross, was immediate.1 The Brothers series ‘… allude to the holy trinity – strong yet powerful, bathed in light, yet still innocent and vulnerable. I wanted to immortalise our people who are all too often written out of history.’2 In early 2019, Albert also projected images from his Brothers series onto the epic brutalist façade of the National Gallery of Australia. Images from the Brothers series also won Albert the prestigious Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards

in 2014. Albert regularly reuses images and materials in his practice and one might expect this could dilute their power. For the Brothers series, this repetition has the opposite effect. This series continues to be potent and relevant because institutional and systemic violence experienced by Aboriginal people, and particularly men, is unchanging. While Albert was resident at Glassworks news of Warlpiri man Kumanjayi Walker shot dead by Northern Territory police sparked protests and fundraising initiatives across the county.3 Top: Tony Albert at Canberra Glassworks, 2020, Image courtesy Canberra Glassworks 1 https://www.sullivanstrumpf.com/assets/Uploads/exhibition-assets/brothers/TONY-ALBERTBROTHERS-no-prices-small.pdf 2 https://nas.edu.au/tony-albert-interview-nirin/ 3 https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-11-16/yuendumu-police-shooting-charges-laid-againstzach-rolfe/11705986

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Tony Albert: Duty of Care

Tony Albert, Uncodified (which way same way) 2020, sandblasted glass, 8 panels, each panel 30 x 30 cm, overall 31 x 165.5 cm

Installation of Piracy series, sandblasted commiseration plates, dimensions variable

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Uncodifed (Duty of Care) 2020 (detail) sandblasted glass, 7 panels, each panel 30 x 30 cm, overall 31 x 230 cm


Tony Albert, Yabu 2020, cast and blown glass, painted steel and commercial light fitting, Edition of 3, + 2 AP

Installation of Tony Albert Piracy series, sandblasted commiseration plates, dimensions variable

Visit the viewing room to see all works for this exhibition. All images courtesy Canberra Glassworks / All photo credits: Brenton McGeachie

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Podcast: Sally Brand speaks with Tony Albert

Tony Albert is one of the most important indigenous artists working in Australia today. In light of recent world events, he reflects with long time friend and National Gallery of Australia Program Manager Sally Brand on his latest exhibition, Duty of Care.

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Albert’s work has always been in protest, seeking positivity in the face of adversity - but in late 2019, during his six week residency at Canberra Glassworks there is no way he could have known how the death of George Floyd would set America ablaze and ignite a call for change around the world. Albert doesn’t believe in chance things ‘happen because they’re meant to happen’ he says. Glass is neither solid or liquid, and these works are amorphous too — a powerful lens that brings this issue painfully into focus.

Top: Tony Albert , Duty of Care 2020, fused, coldworked and constructed glass, set of 3 tables.

Listen to podcast


DUTY OF CARE TONY ALBERT Canberra Glassworks Curated by Sally Brand With thanks to

11 Wentworth Ave, Kingston canberraglassworks.com T 02 6260 7005 contactus@canberraglassworks.com open Wed to Sun, 10am to 4pm


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Karen Black, Fireworks, 2020, oil on canvas with unique frame, 59 x 75 x 4.8 cm

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In the Studio with Karen Black Plants are strange people

I want to talk about Frankie. We’ve always been friends and lately we’ve become quite close. I go for walks (without her) and steal plant cuttings from gardens in Marrickville to propagate in the studio, adding to my indoor garden. This encourages me to take a different route each day in order to find new plants to add to my collection, although Frankie is still my favourite. A large Euphorbia Ammak that is listed as vulnerable in its place of origin (Saudi Arabia and Yemin), she was gifted to me about 8 years ago. At that time she was around 50cm high and has grown to be a 1.5m tall monster. The structural beauty and variegated form make for an impressive specimen. Pups squeeze themselves out of existing structures to form an almost human like shape, extending like arms and legs, and even a penis protrudes in what, at a glance, confirms to be the anatomically correct placing.

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The ridged arms are like the top of a mountain range edged with spikes. I’m supposed to dust the floor of the canyons between these mountain ridges to keep the structures clean. Weekly! I do this precariously, as if knocked, a milky poisonous sap emerges and runs freely down the mountain and possibly all over me. Frankie is a pop star who demands the attention of all who enter the room, but is happiest when watching me paint. Plants are strange people.


Karen Black, Studio view. Photo credit: Anna Kucera

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Collector Profile: Tumurun Museum

JUNE 2020

Interview

Tumurun Museum is a private art museum located in the historical city of Solo in Central Java, Indonesia, less than a 2-hour drive away from Indonesia’s art epicenter, Yogyakarta. Officiated in 2017, the museum houses Modern and Contemporary art from the collection of The Lukminto Family including works by Indonesian modern art masters like Hendra Gunawan, Affandi, and Sudjono to international contemporary artists such as Anthony Gormley, Alex Seton, FX Harsono, and Sopheap Pich.

PRIVATE /PUBLIC: Tumurun Museum, Solo, Indonesia

Photo courtesy Tumurun Museum


Megan Arlin, Gallery Manager at Sullivan + Strumpf Singapore spoke with Mr. Iwan Kurniawan Lukminto to discuss the motivations behind opening a private museum and their vision for Tumurun Museum’s future.

Q / WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO BUILD A PRIVATE MUSEUM? A/ The museum strives for the collection to be accessible and enjoyable for the public, we wish to educate people on art in general and the artworks without leaving behind the appreciation of the process involved behind each artwork. We see our collection as our knowledge, and we wish to share what we know with the community. Located in Solo, we want to be present and engaged with the arts community in Yogyakarta and Solo itself so that young artists and art students are able to gain more knowledge through our museum.

Q / AFTER OFFICIATING TUMURUN MUSEUM IN 2017, WHAT HAS CHANGED FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE WITHIN THE ARTS IN GENERAL AND COLLECTING? A/ After running the museum for 3 years, we are working on developing the quality of our collection from our personal view and for our community. As time passes, we are actively looking to gain more knowledge and information about art, this includes Indonesian and international art. We’ve learned that art is ever-changing and always developing, there’s no stopping in learning and we should be open for it to develop within the collection.

Q / WHAT IS YOUR VISION FOR THE FUTURE OF TUMURUN MUSEUM? A/ Educating and inspiring the arts community has

Interview

always been and will always be our main objective. Unfortunately, art appreciation in Indonesia is still relatively minimal at the moment. With Tumurun Museum around, we wish to see new talents in the ecosystem, be it new collectors or artists. Only with these appreciations can we guarantee the continuity for the arts, this goes along with the name of the museum, Tumurun, which means to bequeath from one generation to the next.

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Podcast: Louis Ho and Jeremy Sharma in Solitary Confinement

“The curve-flattening has been less than easy. Reality seemed to take hitherto unexperienced dimensions: time flattening out into an undifferentiated stream of recurring diurnal cycles, no longer tethered to the rounds of calendrical routines, and the spaces of quotidian existence collapsing into a single, solitary locale of enforced confinement. Our main conduit of connection to other human beings and to the world at large is mediated chiefly through the screen, which also provides the primary channel of this virtual exhibition of works that approximate the two-dimensional. Here is a layering of flatness, from the ideational to the physical, from sentiment to context to medium to channel. “

Listen to podcast

In this podcast, exhibition curator Louis Ho had a chat with artist Jeremy Sharma, whose sound work, ph/lse, featured in the virtual exhibition. They talked about

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Sharma’s interest in music-making which then led him to his sound works.

Left: Jeremy Sharma, Terra Sensa 2013. Exhibited in the Singapore Biennale Jeremy’s photo credit – photo courtesy Stefano Temporin (Circular Agency) Right: Louis Ho – photo courtesy Jana Yar


Nicholas Ong, Rebel Blood, 2020, LED Lights and canvas, 152.5 x 122 cm Photo courtesy Sullivan+Strumpf and Nicholas Ong

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flat: Curated by Louis Ho

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Fiona Seow, Fragments 2020 Ink and pencil on paper 14.9 x 21 cm (56 pieces)

Mark Chua and Lam Li Shuen, The Cup 2020, Single channel digital video


Alfonse Chiu, A Soft Machine 2020, Single channel video, 10 mins, Edition of 5 + 1 AP

Justin Lin, Rolling 2020, Lofting Brass 73 x 38 cm

Nicholas Ong, Rebel Blood 2020, LED light and canvas 152.5 x 122 x 4 cm

Visit the viewing room to see all works for this exhibition

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Influences: Kanchana Gupta Kanchana Gupta

It is a coincidence and not deliberate that my current artistic influences are both women.

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I started reading about the work of Cindy Sherman a few months ago when I was an artist in residence at Objectifs, Singapore. During my residency, I was working on a series of performance-based video works. What attracted me initially to Sherman’s practice was her investigations into the construction of media-mediated images and the nature of representation. Her brilliant unbundling of the process of manufactured stereotypes while simultaneously reclaiming their authorship, has inspired me to look at my own practice differently. My video-based explorations dissect the narrative of sexualized presentations of the female body specifically in the musical compositions employed in commercial Indian cinema of the 1980s and 90s. I also investigate the process of fabricating a visual identity and the nature of its representation. However, my emphasis is on critiquing specific cultural and visual codes deployed for example monochromatic chiffon saree, music, dance, suggestive movements, rain, intimate settings, etc. Typically, these are used to portray women as erotic constructions in these songs. Artifice and fiction; cinema and performance, and the constructed reality are shared intersections between my work and Sherman’s. I explore these elements in a personal and intimate way to talk about the role these images played in shaping my feminine identity during my formative years. A few years ago, I started manipulating the materiality of oil paint and combining it with

processes like burning, tearing, compressing, and cutting to create objects, paintings, and installations, while pursuing my MFA. That’s when my interest in the works of the Cornelia Parker was sparked, and I am still fascinated by her methodology. I am inspired by how she harnesses the potentiality of materials, fragments them physically and figuratively, and arranges them to create unfamiliar forms, scenarios, and installations. To me, her powerful visual aesthetics represent intellectually complex ideas. Pushing the limits of materials through various processes to bring about a transformation and the duality of destruction and creation are echoed in my works too. We both play with elements of arranging and sequencing to frame the space. While Parker uses available every day and familiar objects with historical and cultural references, I create my objects through a laborious process of layering oil paint on construction site surfaces such as jute and tarpaulin and subsequently burning and tearing the paint off these surfaces. My work speaks to materials through their absence, traces, and patterns left behind, without any explicit reference to the process. In contrast, Parker’s works reveal the relationship between the object and its action. Her installations appear as if her subjects are frozen and suspended in the moment of their transition, which makes her work monumental. Learn more about Kanchana’s work at www. sullivanstrumpf.com and read the extensive catalogue from her solo exhibition “458.32 Square Meters” with essays by curator Savita Apte and interviews by Elaine Chiew.


Kanchana Gupta, Compressed and cut_001, 2019 (detail) Compressed oil paint skins burnt and stripped off tarpauline surfaces and cut manually. Photo courtesy Sullivan+Strumpf and Kanchana Gupta

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At home with Richard Lewer: Melbourne

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Richard Lewer in the studio with his new work The Batavia. Photo credit: Andrew Curtis


Q / WHAT IS THE ARCHITECTURAL STYLE OF YOUR HOUSE? A/ Our house is an old brick and timber truss and floor warehouse which was originally the stables for the Northcote Bakery across the road. It then became part of the Tasmanian Timber Bending Works where the old trade of steam bending was used to make buggy canopies, wheels, gothic windows, furniture and boats etc. It was converted before we arrived so fortunately we’ve really only had to repaint internally and so have been able to focus our efforts on building the studio and garden.

Q / WHAT IS YOUR MOST TREASURED OBJECT WITHIN YOUR HOME? A/ Apart from my wife and the cats and coffee machine, I would have to say my art collection which is filled with so many gifts and swaps made with friends and peers.

Q / AND WHAT ARE YOU STREAMING? A/ I’ve just started the Jeffrey Epstein doco – jaw dropping.

Q / ARE YOU A GOOD COOK? LOTS OF KITCHEN GADGETS? A/ I am not a good cook at all. I get distracted and start putting all sorts of ingredients and condiments into my dinners - not in a good way - so when I have to cook I have a very small repertoire and stick to it. My go to is roast chicken. Classic.

Q / DO YOU SOMETIMES WISH YOUR STUDIO WAS SOMEWHERE ELSE? A/ For a long time I moved studios every couple of years so when I finally got the opportunity to design and build my own I wanted it to be somewhere that I could make work for a very long time.

Q / WHERE DO YOU LIKE TO READ? A/ I tend to read upstairs on the couch as the living

Interview

area has great light and is usually sunny and warm in the afternoons. Recently though I’ve been listening to audio books for the first time, I really like that I can listen at home and in transit walking outside. I’ve just listened to The Batavia by Peter Fitzsimons, which has inspired a whole new body of work.

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Art Law Express: Alana Kushnir

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@guestworkagency

Above: Alana Kushnir. Photo credit: Justin Ridler


Alana Kushnir is a lawyer with a deep passion for the arts. A long-time Sullivan+Strumpf collaborator, her new online series Art Law Express is an Instagram Live Q&A for artists, gallerists, collectors, curators and art lovers. Q / DO YOU FEEL THE LAW COVERS THE RIGHTS OF COLLECTORS AND ARTISTS EQUALLY? A/ Depending on what they have created, artists can have copyrights and moral rights – these can be very powerful ways of protecting their creations and ensuring that they are dealt with in a manner that is respectful of the artist’s wishes – if the artist understands how they can be used to your benefit. Whereas, a collector or buyer of an artwork work does not automatically receive copyright in the work. Nor can moral rights be transferred. So, to a degree, a buyer’s rights to what they do with the work are restricted. At the same time, depending on the nature and value of the purchase, collectors may have rights under consumer law – certain standards of purchase must be met.

Interview

Contracts are a really useful tool for balancing the rights of collectors and artists – if they are written by someone who understands the legal implications of the content i.e. a lawyer. So the means are there – i.e. the legal support structure – but it is how the law is used, misused or often not used, that tends to tip the balance in favour of either the collector or the artist.

Q / WHAT’S THE MOST RECURRING ISSUE YOU’VE EXPERIENCED AS A LAW PROFESSIONAL IN THE ART WORLD? A/ The two most common areas that come up in my legal practice are contract and copyright law. However when these issues do come up, unfortunately, there is no one size fits all approach. Legal issues are a good example of when Google searching for an answer is generally not the way to go. Each work of art and each art-related set of circumstances is so unique and personal to those involved that the legal issues shift depending on what and who is involved. Aside from my deep passion for art in all forms, this is why I find working in this area of law so fascinating – each time the unique facts affect my approach to how to deal with a matter. Art is such a unique thing unto itself that getting standard legal advice from a lawyer who doesn’t understand the specificities of art as a creative practice can be particularly problematic. Would you want your GP to do your brain surgery or rather, would you want a brain surgeon to do it? The same goes for art. You would want to get advice from a lawyer who understands the eccentricities of the art industry and who appreciates that different priorities may apply.

Q / TELL US A LITTLE MORE ABOUT YOUR NEW INITIATIVE, ART LAW EXPRESS? A/ If the art industry and the legal profession have something in common, it’s that they are both slow to adapt to new technologies and new features offered by social media platforms. Art Law Express is a simple concept that bucks this long-standing trend – it’s a weekly Q&A session with me using Instagram Live. I’ll be answering questions received by our audience. Artists, gallerists, collectors, curators, art lovers – everyone and anyone interested in art – is invited to send us their questions and learn a little more about art and law. With Art Law Express I want to create greater awareness of the multitude of ways the law interacts with art daily. I hope our audience feels more inquisitive, perhaps even a little more confident, when it comes to addressing legal issues concerning art.

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Quick Curate: Protest

TONY ALBERT CLASH, 2019 acrylic and found vintage objects applied to plastic-polyester, powder-coated aluminium 120cm x 550cm AUD $62,000

JEMIMA WYMAN AGGREGATE ICON (B&W MEDIUM ): PROTESTER AGAINST THE G20 SUMMIT, LONDON, 1ST APRIL 2009 (STRIPPED BEANIE), PERFORMER SUPPORTING PROTESTERS AGAINST POLICE BRUTALITY IN TAKSIM SQUARE, TURKEY, 5TH JUNE 2013 (MIME GUN), MILLION MASK MARCH, MISSOURI, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, 5TH NOVEMBER 2014 (B&W

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GUY FAWKES), PROTESTER AGAINST G8 SUMMIT, ROSTOCK, GERMANY, 4TH JUNE 2007 (BARCODE MASK), 2016 hand-cut digital photographs 54 cm diameter

AUD $3,000


DARREN SYLVESTER WHAT HAPPENS WILL HAPPEN #5, 2010 lightjet print 120x90cm edition of 6 + 2 AP (series of 5) AUD $9,900

ALEXANDER SETON HAZARDS OF FAILURE, 2016 fameg bentwood, bianca carrara, wombeyan, tasmanian oak 202 x 37 x 37 cm AUD $22,000

RICHARD LEWER SOMETIMES I’M TOO TIRED TO FIGHT EVIL, 2019 acrylic on pegboard 40 x 41cm AUD $1,210

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Last word: Accidental Encounters with

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Esther Anatolitis – Executive Director of NAVA

Esther Anatolitis


‘Looking back on this dislocated year, what I’ve missed the very most is the invigoration and the joy that comes from accidental encounters.’

Wandering together, wandering alone. Wandering without a plan. Aimless adventures of that delicious kind – the kind that end up at a gallery you’ve never visited, or unexpectedly lost in contemplating a work, or following studio visit with studio visit as one introduction leads to another. The way your body opens itself to the new. The way your mind animates with each new encounter. Unexpected encounter is what’s unique about the contemporary art experience. Because visiting a gallery is a radically different proposition to going to the theatre, for example, where your ticket buys you an experience of fixed duration with a plot you likely already know. Step into an artist’s studio and you’re entering their mind as well as visiting their workplace. As your gaze wanders and conversation flows, what you’re encountering is the full complexity of what makes that work possible. A work of art can seize you, transport you, reconfigure you. It reclaims your time and focus from passive consumption. It shifts your expectations and reprograms your day. Art displaces us from a set of programmed experiences and offers an object, a process, an experiment that demands our full attention. We’ve just spent months with our every hour predictably located and programmed. Whenever it’s been possible to encounter something unexpected, it’s been flattened into the experience of the screen – the same interface that many of us have relied on to keep being able to do our jobs

Sometimes, when a friend has suggested a Zoom drink, even though we’ve longed to catch up, we’ve found ourselves exhausted by having all of our experiences tened into that one screen. And so, as we start to venture out, we’ll need to be sensitive to ourselves and to one another. Making that transition is going to have an impact on our social confidence and social anxiety, both as individuals and as a community. Galleries, museums and artist-run spaces are doing their best to decipher the direction of state and federal governments, and industry organisations are presenting helpful resources to make that advice clear. So while visiting galleries may already be possible, it will be a while before we’re gathering in numbers for opening drinks and floor talks. We’ll find different ways to welcome new collectors, greet new audiences, and craft new seams between our digital and non-digital experiences. To fill my home with the voice of the artist, I’ve also been listening back on NAVA’s podcasts, doing my best to delight in the slow and the reflective. Contemporary art is of the here and now, but the here and now has a long tail – and an open future. As we re-embrace the unexpected and wander anew, the work we encounter will have undergone quite the journey to reach us. And so will we. Let’s create that new world together. - Esther Anatolitis

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Upcoming Exhibitions

SAM LEACH FULLY AUTOMATIC 20.08.20

SYDNEY BALL 1960/1970 WORKS FROM THE ESTATE 30.07.20

SYDNEY

25.06.20

Grant Stevens

SINGAPORE 09.07.20

02.07.20

Tony Albert (online)

27.08.20

20.08.20

Sam Leach

05.11.20

JUNE 2020

30.07.20 Sydney Ball 24.09.20 03.09.20

Hiromi Tango

15.10.20

Angela Tiatia

26.11.20

Alex Seton

17.09.20 22.10.20

Natalya Hughes

Michael Zavros

flat: Curated by Louis Ho Curated show FX Harsono Dawn Ng


UNTIL 2 AUG 2020

Presented in association with the Adelaide Festival, and with generous support received from the Art Gallery of South Australia Biennial Ambassadors Program and Principal Donor The Balnaves Foundation. This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body and by the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian, State and Territory Governments. image detail Polly Borland, Australia, born 1959, MORPH 4, 2018, archival pigment print, 200.0 x 162.5 cm; Š Polly Borland/Murray White Room, Melbourne.

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JUNE 2020

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SYDNEY 799 Elizabeth St Zetland, Sydney NSW 2017 Australia P +61 2 9698 4696 E art@sullivanstrumpf.com

SINGAPORE 5 Lock Road #01-06 108933 Singapore P +65 8310 7529 E art@sullivanstrumpf.com



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Articles inside

Last word: Accidental Encounters with Esther Anatolitis – Executive Director of NAVA

2min
pages 46-47

Art Law Express: Alana Kushnir

3min
pages 42-43

Tony Albert: Duty of Care

3min
pages 20-23

Quick Curate: Protest

1min
pages 44-52

At Home with Richard Lewer

5min
pages 40-43

Grant Stevens: The Forest

2min
pages 11-13

In the Studio with Karen Black

1min
pages 30-31

Polly Borland: Shapeshifter

1min
pages 17-20

Influences: Kanchana Gupta

2min
pages 38-39

Collector Profile: Tumurun Museum

2min
pages 32-33

Louis Ho podcast: Louis Ho and Jeremy Sharma: Solitary Confinement

1min
pages 34-37

A walk through The Forest with Natalya Hughes and Grant Stevens

1min
pages 14-16

Never the Same

2min
pages 8-10
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