YEAR IN REVIEW 2017
Image: Richard Larter (United Kingdom/Australia 19292014) Big Bang, 1992, acrylic on canvas, 10 panels, 320 x 2100 overall. 10 panels, 320 x 2100 overall. UTS Art Collection, gift of Mr Frank Watters through the Australian Governmentâ€™s Cultural Gifts Program, 2008. Photo: David Lawrey
Opposite: Michael Cook Civilized #13 2012. UTS ART Collection on loan from the Corrigan Collection Photo: Laurence Morassut.
2017 IN REVIEW HIGHLIGHTS & ACHIEVEMENTS ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS UTS GALLERY SUMMARY 2017 EXHIBITION PROGRAM UTS ART EDUCATION & OUTREACH SUMMARY UTS ART COLLECTION SUMMARY ACCESSIONS & LOANS UTS GALLERY STUDENT WRITING PROGRAM BAILLIE LEE
STAFF & SPONSORS
Reporting period: Janâ€“Dec 2017 Contact person: Tania Creighton UTS ART
46,000 staff and students in the UTS community 99% say it’s important to have art on campus*
The UTS Art Collection on campus, Mark Kimber’s Suburban Night’s series, 2002. On loan from the Corrigan Collection. Photo: Laurence Morassut.
*2017 Patternmakers survey
2017 IN REVIEW
In 2017 UTS ART maintained its strong commitment to promoting equity, diversity and social justice. This was most apparent in the exhibitions IMPACT and The Invisible. The refugee artists of The Invisible exposed the unimaginable difficulties faced by those forced to flee their homelands and the reality that confronts refugees trying to reach safe haven in Australia. The exhibition connected faculty staff, students, alumni and community. Professorial Fellow Eva Cox, a former refugee herself, officially launched The Invisible. The accompanying colour catalogue (supported by STARTTS and Create NSW) included commissioned essays by curator Abdul Hekmat (FASS alumni), Linda Jaivin and Deborah Adelaide (FASS). The exhibition was covered in the media nationally (SBS News) and in the Sydney Morning Herald, as well as in the local and international arts press, and attracted an audience of over 3500 visitors during its run.
Each facet of UTS ART—the UTS Gallery, Education & Outreach and the UTS Art Collection— fosters collaboration between artists, designers, students, staff, alumni, industry and community. As we program our exhibitions, acquire new artworks for the Collection and deliver Education & Outreach programs, we share with the wider UTS community the desire to inspire and engage our students. Artists test and showcase their skills through our cutting edge exhibitions, providing a learning environment that encourages students to engage creatively with the world around them.
At UTS ART we believe a creative student will be able to adapt and thrive when faced with the challenges of university and, later, as a successful UTS graduate. UTS ART believes innovation is fostered through transdisciplinary practice. We make a point of collaborating across learning disciplines. We focus on developing synergies to encourage students to get involved along the way. The six exhibitions presented in the UTS Gallery and Tower foyer throughout 2017 engaged students, staff, alumni, industry and the broader community in contemporary art and design practices, and created useful opportunities for collaborative learning.
Opposite: Artist Rushdi Anwar with guests on the opening night of The Invisible at UTS Gallery. Photo: David Lawrey. Below: Impact, installation view, UTS Gallery. Photo: David Lawrey
IMPACT was a touring exhibition from the Cairns Art Gallery that explored the continuing impact of colonisation on First Nation communities in Australia and the Pacific Region. First Nation artists from Australia and the Pacific region created works that spoke of dispossession, conflict, gender and race. IMPACT ran in the UTS Gallery to coincide with Living In Their Times—an exhibition and event series commissioned by UTS ART and the Jumbunna Institute to mark National Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC Week to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Referendum.
A number of key public events throughout the year showcased our role as a public advocate of UTS’s commitment to social justice. The Living in Their Times event activated four sites across the campus and reflected on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander selfdetermination and activism preceding and following the landmark referendum.
The forum ‘What is a Refugee? On Perception, Displacement and The Role of Art’ ran in tandem with The Invisible. The discussion centred around the current status of asylum seekers and refugees in Australia, the struggle for recognition by Hazaras in Afghanistan, and the role of art in changing public perception.
The event featured a film program of shorts, documentaries and features curated by filmmaker and UTS Academic Pauline Clague. Mundine’s award winning multi-screen video project Bungaree’s Farm was staged, and this event was followed up with further NAIDOC week talks and presentations.
Speakers included Julian Burnside AO QC, Abdul Karim Hekmat (curator of The Invisible), Professor William Maley, Niamatullah Ibrahimi, Professor Jock Collins and Hannah Factor. The forum was convened by Lucy Fiske (Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow, UTS).
Two six-metre articulated figures of Marbuck and Jedda—based on the work of Robert Campbell Jnr and created with the help of one of UTS ART’s energetic and resourceful interns, UTS design student Laurence Morassut—remained watching over students in the large Tower foyer staircase until the end of the year.
Below: UTS ART LIVE, ‘A Game of Chess’. Academics discuss their research with the UTS Chess Club through the framework of chess, UTS Foyer. Opposite: Sounding The Future, installation view, UTS Gallery. Photo: David Lawrey.
UTS ART sees innovation through creative practice as key to connecting and engaging with internal and external audiences. Hundreds of prospective students visited the UTS Gallery on Open Day and experienced Sounding the Future, a group exhibition of Australian artists that speculated upon the sonic landscapes of the future. The exhibition was presented as part of National Science Week, the Sydney Science Festival and Sydney Design and was accompanied by an audiodescription workshop supported by the Equity and Diversity and Unit. The workshop was designed to enhance staff and student awareness of the different ways art can be experienced and, in particular, how people with impaired vision experience art. UTS students make up over 70 percent of our gallery audience and were regular attendees of artists talks throughout the year. Many participated in the second annual UTS Gallery Critical Writing
Program which is open to current UTS students from all faculties. A public talk from gallery artist and UTS Design lecturer Biljana Jancic— part of the UTS Photography Lecture Series—was one of fourteen events and education programs targeting future or current students in 2017. UTS Gallery also hosted the well-regarded Graduate and Honours Photography end of year shows and the PhD exhibition, Soma Poesis, by Todd Robinson (Course Director, Fashion and Textiles, School of Design, UTS). UTS ART Live is a new Education and Outreach initiative—a series of public performance events that bring together professional artists and UTS students to collaborate and produce art events on campus. In 2017, Art Live organised extracurricular collaborations with UTS Activate Social groups including the Chess Club and UTS The Queer Collective, a group of Queer-identified
Over 13,500 visitors engaged with the UTS Art Collection and education and gallery programs*
Students passing Anna Careyâ€™s Pacific Moon, 2012, giclee print. On loan from the Corrigan Collection. Photo: Laurence Morassut.
*2017 Patternmakers survey
students who meet on campus. The Queer Collective ran a popular queer tour of the campus in collaboration with Sydney artist Sarah Rodigari. In the Dr Chau Chak Wing Building, Sound Design students participated in a workshop with sonic arts group Super Critical Mass as part of their curriculum coursework, culminating in a noisy and experimental performance that received national coverage on ABC News. Jumbunna: Institute for Indigenous Education and Research (JIIER) continue to support UTS ART Education and Outreach programs and have partnered with us to create Waraburra Nura (The Happy Wanderer’s Place) UTS’s Indigenous plant garden on the Northfacing balcony of the main tower. The garden provides a space of relaxation and tranquillity for everyone. Aunty Fran Bodkin, a botanist and D’harawal Elder, provided cultural guidance on the usage of the D’harawal language and local plants and their medicinal properties. The garden was designed by Nicole Monks, a Yamatji
Wajarri woman who leads Black and White Creative, and the Waraburra Nura website was created by Wiradjuri man Tamatau Faleono as part of his Honours year at UTS FASS. UTS ART as a unit is maturing and a timely review of team position descriptions and structure was carried out in line with the broader MCU Change process. In 2017 we commissioned the Patternmakers arts research agency to map our audiences and their behaviours, confirming priority areas and enabling strategic planning for coming years. To supplement this research, students were engaged to survey 300+ gallery visitors over three weeks. The benefits of a lively and creative learning environment were highlighted by these two surveys, where 99 percent of respondents said it was important to have art on campus. In 2017 twenty-two new artworks were acquired for the UTS Art Collection. Recent portrait acquisitions were presented in Fresh Fruit, a display for the Tower foyer featuring works by Christian Thompson, Pat Brassington and others. A curated selection of Artbank and UTS staff videos screened regularly in the Chancellery space and on other campus screens. Major installations of art across campus included a newly loaned 4.5-metre painting by Sally Gabori, Dibirdibi Country. This powerful work hangs in the Chau Chak Wing Building foyer. Upcoming public art commissions for UTS Central will offer UTS, visitors and the local community an opportunity to engage with stories that matter.
Left: The Waraburra Nura Indigenous garden. Opposite: installing Sally Gabori’s Dibirdibi Country, 2010 in the Dr Chau Chak Wing Building. Kate Scardifield, Material Cosmos I (detail) 2017. Analogue and digital collage on wool. Courtesy the artist and ALASKA Projects.
Artworks from the UTS Art Collection were loaned for exhibitions at university museums and a number of regional galleries. I extend my heartfelt thanks to the many talented artists we worked with throughout the year. Support from multiple internal and external collaborators allowed us to further the scope and reach of our education and access programs. I would particularly like to thank Eleanor Zeichner, Alice McAuliffe, Stella Rosa McDonald, Janet Ollevou and Felicity Sheehan and our casual installers Robert Pulie and Tim Andrew for their invaluable contributions and considerable achievements. We have much to be proud of, much to reflect on and much more left to do. We look forward to engaging with you through art in 2018 and working with you on the many new and exciting creative opportunities ahead. Sincerely, Tania Creighton
A new installation based on the paintings of the late Robert Campbell Jnr and his figures of Jedda and Marbuck. Photo: David Lawrey
Living in Their Times was an exhibition and multi-site public program to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Referendum
13 artists 3 curators 22 new artworks 10 public programs 13 education programs 13,545 visitors 1161 followers
SURFACE TENSION—BILJANA JANCIC 28 February–28 April. 1 artist, 2757 visitors, 4 public events, 4 education events
IMPACT 9 May–30 June. 4 artists, 1 curator, 1984 visitors, 1 public event, 2 education events
SOUNDING THE FUTURE 1 August–23 September. 4 artists, 1 curator, 3548 visitors, 3 public events, 3 education events, 2 hire events
THE INVISIBLE 3 October–24 November. 4 artists, 1 curator, 3506 visitors, 2 public events, 4 education events
A visitor to the opening of Biljana Jancic’s Surface Tension at UTS Gallery. Photo: David Lawrey.
SURFACE TENSION 2 February–28 April
Biljana Jancic Jancic’s installation responded directly to the architecture of UTS Gallery, folding space and time through projected images and the insertion of reflective surfaces, creating ways for the viewer to become a part of the work. The work is situated within the historical context of ‘expanded cinema’ and is concerned with the nature of projection and screen as well as the relationship of the mediation to the audience and the location. Biljana Jancic completed her PhD in 2013 at Sydney College of the Arts, and has exhibited widely across Australia and internationally, including the 2016 edition of Primavera at the Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney.
Above and opposite page: Biljana Jancic, Surface Tension, installation view, 2017. Two-channel video, aluminum, chromakey tape. Photo: Biljana Jancic.
VISITORS – 2757 PUBLIC PROGRAM ·· Publication launch and artist talk – 20 ·· Art Month Sydney – 50 ·· UTS Photography lecture – 40 ·· Audio description workshop, UTS staff – 20 EDUCATION PROGRAM ·· UTS Sky High program – 60 ·· Artist tour: MLC Burwood – 20 ·· ‘Sound in Space’ workshop, UTS Architecture – 120 ·· Artist tour: UTS Photography – 80
EXHIBITION SPECIAL FEATURES ·· 24-page exhibition catalogue with essay by Dr Alex Munt ·· Presented as part of Art Month Sydney 2017 ·· Commissioned text by student writer Baillie Lee—UTS Gallery Student Writing Program MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS FBi Radio—‘Artforum Critics’ Pick’, Artforum, UTS Newsroom VISITOR COMMENTS ‘Incredibly interesting. I felt elevated, thank you!’
IMPACT 9 May–30 June
Michael Cook, Taloi Havini, Angela Tiatia and Fiona Foley Curator: Julietta Park New media and video works by artists Michael Cook, Fiona Foley, Taloi Havini and Angela Tiatia examined the continuing impact of colonisation on First Nation communities in Australia and the Pacific region. Dispossession, alienation, conflict, gender, race and history are some of the narratives explored in this touring exhibition from Cairns Art Gallery. Impact was accompanied by Living in Their Times, a one-day program commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Referendum, curated by Djon Mundine OAM with support from the City of Sydney and the Jumbunna Institute.
Above and opposite page: IMPACT, installation view, UTS Gallery, 2017. Photos: David Lawrey.
VISITORS – 1984 PUBLIC PROGRAMS ··
STRATEGIC RELATIONSHIPS Jumbunna Institute, UTS, Cairns Regional Art Gallery, National Reconciliation Week
‘Living in Their Times’ – 100
EDUCATION PROGRAMS ·· Photography workshop with Angela Tiatia, Canley Vale HS – 30 ·· Photography workshop with Angela Tiatia, STEAMpunk Girls via UTS Hatchery – 30
MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS UTS Newsroom, Time Out Sydney VISITOR COMMENTS ‘An amazing and insightful exhibtion.’ ‘Incredible images-i felt transported.’ ‘Powerful and thought provoking.’
EXHIBTION SPECIAL FEATURES ·· Commissioned text by student writer Louisa Luong – UTS Gallery Student Writing Program
LIVING IN THEIR TIMES 27 May–18 August
Curator: Djon Mundine OAM Living in Their Times was an exhibition and event series commissioned by UTS ART and Jumbunna Institute to mark National Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC Week. The project centred on a one-day event commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Referendum. This event activated four sites across the campus: Bon Marche Studio, University Hall, UTS Gallery and UTS Tower Foyer and included an immersive threechannel video installation by Mundine and a film program curated by filmmaker Pauline Clague. The event was extended through the display of giant articulated figures based on Robert Campbell Jr’s work in the UTS Tower Foyer and a lecture given by the late artist’s partner Eileen Button.
Above: Djon Mundine, Bungaree’s Farm, 2015. Opposite page: Living in Their Times, installation view, 2017. Photo: David Lawrey.
Living in Their Times reflected on the lineage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander self determination and activism that both preceded and followed the landmark 1967 Referendum through which Australians voted to formally remove passages from the Australian constitution that discriminated against Aboriginal people. The program included a restaging of Bungaree’s Farm, an immersive threechannel video installation reflecting on the life of Bungaree, an important Aboriginal figure in colonial Australia and the first person to be referred to as an ‘Australian’.
VISITORS – 100 STRATEGIC RELATIONSHIPS Supported by UTS Business School and UTS Equity and Diversity. The event was supported by cultural funding from the City of Sydney. MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS 2ser, Koori Mail, Art Almanac and ArtsHub
SOUNDING THE FUTURE 1 August-23 September
Gail Priest, George Poonkhin Khut, Pia van Gelder & Tom Smith, Peter Blamey Curator: Gail Priest
The curated group exhibition Sounding the Future speculated upon our auditory futures. These dreams of future soundings, inflected by our experience of the present day, also offered reflections on how we listen now. The artists developed new work that considers the impacts of new technologies, degrading environmental conditions and the prospect of a posthuman world.
Above: Gail Priest, Sounding the Future, 2015, installation view, UTS Gallery, 2017. Right: George Poonkhin Khut, Mettamatics 1 & 2, installation view, 2017. Photo: David Lawrey.
VISITORS – 3548 PUBLIC PROGRAM ·· Artist talks & publication launch, 9 August – 45 ·· Audio-described tour & in conversation, 15 August – 25 ·· UTS Open Day, 26 August – 800 EXHIBITION SPECIAL FEATURES ·· National Science Week, Sydney Science Festival, UTS Diversity Week and UTS Open Day ·· Extensive publication and project website by curator Gail Priest ·· Commissioned text by student writer Louisa Luong - UTS Gallery Student Writing Program
MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS Concrete Playground, 2ser, Realtime Arts, Emily Stewart VISITOR COMMENTS ‘Amazing show!’ ‘I could listen all day- thank you!’
THE INVISIBLE 3 October - 24 November
Khadim Ali, Elyas Alavi, Avan Anwar, Rushdi Anwar and Abdul Karim Hekmat Curator: Abdul Karim Hekmat
The Invisible featured new and recent work by artists who draw on their own refugee backgrounds to create powerfully evocative works in painting, video, sculpture, installation and photography. The exhibition explored the effects of dispossession, migration, trauma and memory as the artists transformed personal and collective experience to make visible the daily lives of displaced peoples. A public forum ‘What is a refugee?’ introduced audiences to the complexities of refugee experience.
Above: Rushdi Anwar, The Notion of Place and Displacement, 2017. Paint, UNHCR tent fabric, safety pins, wood frame, singlechannel HD video Right: The Invisible exhibition opening Photo: David Lawrey
VISITORS – 3506
PUBLIC PROGRAMS ·· Artist talks – 30 ·· Public forum ‘What is a Refugee?’ with speakers Julian Burnside AO QC, Professor William Maley and others – 160
EDUCATION ·· Artist-led workshops – Dulwich Hill High School and Mount St Benedict College EXHIBITION SPECIAL FEATURES ·· 32-page colour catalogue with essays by Debra Adelaide, Linda Jaivin and curator Abdul Karim Hekmat
Opened by writer and activist Eva Cox AO Commissioned text by student writer Madeline Newling—UTS Gallery Student Writing Program
MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS Artlink Magazine, Running Dog, The Sydney Morning Herald VISITOR COMMENTS ‘Unbelievebaly heart breaking- how can this be done to our fellow man?’ ‘Thank you. This is powerful and evocative!’ ‘Inspiring and great stories.’
862 people engaged with programs 28 events 6 videos 4 school workshops 3 on-campus temporal public art events 2 new initiatives 1 national news story 1 new Indigenous garden & website
EDUCATION & OUTREACH
Alongside connecting with high school students and engaging in social justice initiatives, UTS ART Education & Outreach undertook two of its most ambitious projects to date. UTS ART Live and the Waraburra Nura garden, sharing Indigenous knowledge and skills in creative thinking across faculties and UTS campus.
The Waraburra Nura balcony garden shares local Indigenous knowledge about plants from the Sydney basin and their medicinal uses
Students from Dulwich Hill High School interview curator and artist Abdul Karim Hekmat of The Invisible.
Local high school students gained professional experience and cross cultural understanding, producing online videos exploring the work of refugee artists from The Invisible
22 new acquisitions 50% of the collection on display 450 artworks relocated
UTS ART COLLECTION
In 2017, more than 50 percent of the collection was out and about, seen on campus by UTS staff, students and the wider community, and the focus of talks and walking tours
Opposite: Patricia Piccinini, Elegance & Romance, from the series Your Time Starts Now, 1996. C-Type photograph. On loan from the Corrigan Collection. Photo: Laurence Morassut.
Christian Thompson, Christian Thompson. Untitled (kangaroo paws), 2008. From the series Australian Graffiti. Lambda print. UTS Art Collection.
Fresh Fruit, displayed in the Tower foyer, showed newly acquired works by artists interrogating gender, identity and the tradition of portraiture
22 artworks were acquired for the UTS Art Collection, including a realist still-life painting by Sam Leach, a bronze self portrait by sculptor SannĂ¨ Mestrom, and a folio of etchings by Indigenous artists from Yirrkala (NT) and Turkey Creek (WA)
This page: : Tracey Moffatt, Untitled from the series Something More, 1990. C-type photograph. On loan from the Corrigan Collection.
Three photographs from Tracy Moffattâ€™s iconic series Something More are now on display This page: Sam Leach, Helmet for Cosmist, 2017. Oil on linen. UTS Art Collection.
James Tylor, (Deleted scenes) From an James Tylor,landscape (Deleted #7 scenes) From an untouched (detail), 2013, inkjet printlandscape on hahnemuhle paper withprint on untouched #7, 2013. Inkjet hole removedpaper to a black velvet void, to a hahnemuhle with hole removed 500 500mm. Courtesy artist and blackĂ— velvet void. UTS Artthe Collection. Image GAGPROJECTS. courtesy the artist and GAG Projects.
ACCESSIONS & LOANS 2017 acquisitions UTS Art Collection 2017.017 Sydney Ball Canto no XVI 2002-2003 screenprint 2017.014 Elaine Campaner Lake 2017 pure pigment ink on cotton rag paper 2017.004.5 Sade Carrington Purnululu (from Basil Hall Collectors Folio Series V) 2011 2 plate etching 2017.007 Robert Fielding Graveyards in Between (no 7) C-type print 2017.001 Reinhold Inkamala Black cockatoos eating sweet seeds 2017 multi-plate etching and aquatint 2017.004.4 Mabel Juli Garnkiny Ngarrangarni (from Basil Hall Collectors Folio Series V) 2011 2 plate etching
2017.002 Lily Kelly Napangardi Sandhills 2015 Edition/State/Versn: 5/20 etching 2017.008 Sam Leach Helmet for Cosmist 2017 oil on linen 2017.003 Guy Maestri Hill End no. 62011 two plate etching, AP 2017.005 SannĂ¨ Mestrom Self portrait, sleeping muse 2017 bronze 3/5 2017.010 Marrnyula Munungurr Dreamtime at the G 2016 Screenprint 2017.006 Baden Pailthorpe Incubator 2017 high definition 3D animation 2017.009 Jason Phu A Clown 2009 linocut
2017.004.6 Shirley Purdie Baloowa(from Basil Hall Collectors Folio Series V) 2011 3 plate etching
2017.004.1 Gulumbu Yunupingu Ganyu (from Basil Hall Collectors Folio Series V) 2011 two plate etching
2017.013 Kate Scardifeld Material Cosmos I 2017 digital print on silk crepe satin
2017.004.3 Nyapanyapa Yunupingu Dharpa (from Basil Hall Collectors Folio Series V) 2011 2 colour etching
2017.015 Andy Snelgar Woomera (Miru) 2017 carved and decorated wood, sinews and natural resin 2017.016 Andy Snelgar Shovel (BaBarr) 2017 carved and decorated wood 2017.011 James Tylor (Deleted Scenes) #7 from an Untouched Landscape 2013 inkjet print and velvet, 4/ 5 2017.012 James Tylor (Deleted Scenes) #13 from an Untouched Landscape 2013 inkjet print and velvet, 3/ 5 2017.004.2 Barrapu Yunupingu Gurtha(from Basil Hall Collectors Folio Series V) 2011 etching
New Inward Loans from the Corrigan Collection L2017.011 Sally Gabori Dibirdibi Country 2010 SPP on linen L2017.002 Leah King-Smith Vein and veil 2004 archival dyes on rag paper L2017.010 Kerrie Lester Landscape on a plate oil and plate on board L2017.003 Tracey Moffatt Untitled from the series Something More 1990 C type photograph L2017.004 Tracey Moffatt Untitled from the series Something More 1989 C type photograph L2017.005 Tracey Moffatt Untitled from the series Something More 1989 C type photograph L2017.007 Nell (pink tree) 2011 oil on linen
L2017.006 Sean Scully Wall 1988 etching and aquatint L2017.008 Peter Solness Citadel of Stone (North Head) 2012 inkjet print on archival paper L2017.009 Carolyn Young Wamboin, Active Flowering, 30 October 2015, from the series Grassy Woodlands Still Life 2015 archival inkjet print L2017.001 Michael Zavros Homework 2014 giclee print on cotton rag
UTS GALLERY STUDENT WRITING PROGRAM Jancic’s interests in contemporary art and architecture are distinctive in this piece, and this large-scale spatial installation makes interventions into the structural features of the gallery space.
In 2017 UTS Gallery invited proposals from current UTS students for short-form essays (500 words) responding to our 2017 exhibition program. We looked for insightful and innovative critical writing that addressed the themes of the four exhibitions on show at UTS Gallery in 2017. We asked writers to visit the exhibition, reflect on their experience, and tell us how they’d like to respond. One proposal per exhibition was selected and developed in consultation with UTS Gallery curatorial staff. The essays were published on ArtsHub and the UTS ART website. Students from all faculties were encouraged to apply and a writer’s fee of $250 was paid on publication.Student Baillie Lee was the inagural writer and repsonded to Biljana Jancic’s exhibtion Surface Tension.
SURFACE TENSION, A RESPONSE By Baillie Lee We all view and respond to the world in diverse ways. Our reactions to everyday encounters differ from person to person. Thus, by entering into a new spatial dimension our interactions with this space will generate multiple responses. Artist Biljana Jancic explores this dynamic in her exhibition ‘Surface Tension’. Upon entering this installation, the viewer is instantly drawn to projected images extending across an entire wall of the gallery. These images reflect from the wall onto both the glass and concrete surfaces, altering the boundaries of the space, and complicating the relationship between audience member and video projection. This destabilising gesture enables the viewer to have a more intimate connection with the image.
These structural features are prominent as the eye begins absorbing the visual information of the space. Instantly, the flood of natural light and the way it has been integrated within the existing gallery space attracts the viewer. This attention is then redirected through the use of silver aluminium tape that extends across the concrete floor and is situated in a solid line of two-dimensional stripes. These stripes create an intersection with a section of blue tape that develops from a select corner and trespasses across the gallery floor. Then the blue tape extends up the front window, and makes a visual connection with the industrial qualities of the outdoor environment. The blue tape is a chroma key gaffer tape which by the film industry in the production of computer generated imagery. As Jancic explains, ‘I like this colour because it is a sort of stand-in colour that suggests it is a placeholder for something else’. The viewer becomes conscious that the physical experience of the space is of a transitional nature. The integration of the matte and reflective tapes along with the doubling of the video projection complicates the temporal dimension of these architectural interventions. Jancic describes her interest in ‘warping perceptions of time’. This is depicted through the projected shadows that extend across the central white wall, which as viewers walk across creates natural shadows that become part of the work. This creates an optical illusion, which is extended by the ambiguous atmosphere and the blurring of the indoors and the outdoors.
‘I wanted the video aspect of this exhibition to feature light spills of windows in other spaces. So it’s a way of remixing ephemera from one space to another,’ states Jancic. The artist’s experimentation with light within the existing space begins the development of an alternative space, that extends the spatial elements existing within the gallery space. This portrayal is also enhanced with the linear qualities of the tape fields. The one-way relationship between the audience and the work has been altered within this installation. As a viewer myself, the relationship that I had with the piece was intimate. I connected with the piece as I walked around and my shadow became one with the art that was projecting off the central wall. My experience is reflected in Jancic’s statement, ‘I’m always very interested in creating interventions that destabilise perceptions of a space or that articulate unseen tectonic forces inside a space’, not only in the merging of shadows and projections but also demonstrating an emotional dimension within the construction of each other. This has been articulated through the title of the work, ‘Surface Tension’, and my experiences as the viewer was transformed by the exploration of these tensions. This work gave me a chance to become one with the art and also experience an emotional connection with the existing space.w
Baillie Lee is in her third year of studies in Photography at UTS and a writer who captures images that evoke written material.
UTS ART 2017 Team Deputy Director, Brand Strategy and Engagement: Mark Lillis Curator: Tania Creighton Assistant Curator, UTS Gallery: Eleanor Zeichner & Stella Rosa McDonald Assistant Curator, UTS Art Collection: Janet Ollevou Education & Outreach Coordinator: Alice McAuliffe Curatorial Assistant, UTS Art Collection: Felicity Sheehan
Previous page: SannĂ¨ Mestrom, Self portrait, Sleeping muse 2017. Bronze. UTS Art Collection. Right: Khadim Ali, Untitled (from The Arrivals series), 2016. Gouache, ink and gold leaf on wasli paper (6 panels). Courtesy the artist and Milani Gallery. Photo: David Lawrey.