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Welcome to the newest outing for Art in the Park, Cross-pollinations, an exhibition that brings together works by local and far-flung artists in the hope of expanding critical dialogue around the nature and use of public space in the city.
The selected works are by turns poetic and subversive, and draw upon a variety of artistic media including urban detritus, organic matter, domestic artefacts, sound, and even the park’s own living weeds. All represent an intervention of sorts, into how we ordinarily move through and interact with the spaces around us, and into how we share our cities and their occasional patches of green.
Revisiting the site’s former role as a nursery and hothouse, the exhibition also seeks to propagate new perspectives on how our ‘natural’ environment is understood, shaped and contested. While only a handful of the works are site-specific, all are in some way responsive to this central concern.
We hope you enjoy engaging with these works and with the community that hosts them.
Tessa Rapaport & Karl Logge
James Gulliver Hancock
Stabilising the worry
Children’s BMX, wheels, aluminium tubing, steel rods
110 X 350 X 80cm
James Gulliver Hancock is a travelling artist originally from Sydney. His work is concerned with perception and subjectivity and continually contains elements of charm and whimsy. He draws from ideas based in psychology including analysis of hypochondria, obsession, hyper-awareness and altered views of the world. Stabilising the worry explores these themes, specifically hypochondria and worry, through the ghost of a child. His modified BMX is left as a symbol of human paranoia, with safety devices extending out ridiculously on either side. These themes of safety and its place in play and freedom are particularly relevant in the setting of Sydney’s hyper-safety-conscious public spaces.
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Tanam Untuk Kehidupan
Main main aja
Discarded paper and plastic packaging
TUK is a collective formed in 2006 in Salatiga, a small city at the foot of Mount Merbabu in Central Java, Indonesia. Made up largely of craftspeople without formal art educations, the group is the initiative of a new generation of young people frustrated by their restricted political voice and the lack of exhibition spaces, study opportunities, and employment prospects in creative industries. In Bahasa Indonesia, ‘Tanam Untuk Kehidupan’ translates literally as ‘Planting For Life’, and ‘tuk’ in Javanese means ‘water source’. TUK members have adapted a festival model to address local environmental issues such as the depletion and contamination of ancient springs, rubbish disposal and deforestation, and describe their practice as “art that sidesteps artists’ egos through a collective process of design and implementation”. The works shown here are from TUK’s Festival Mata Air, and were made in workshops with local communities, using discarded household materials.
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Brendan Penzer is a social ecological artist working in an expanded field of installation art practice. Sculpturthon is an installation event. Part endurance, part performance and expressly collaborative and communal in nature, this work will see 100 sculptures/installations made by 100 artists/community members exhibited on a single plinth over the 5 hour duration of Cross-Pollinations. Somewhat of an unofficial world record attempt, Brendan will start off proceedings with a sculpture at 11.00am and every 3 minutes thereafter a new sculpture will arrive and replace the exhibited piece. At 4.00pm, the close of the exhibition, 100 sculptures will have been exhibited on the one plinth over the course of the day.
Beetroots, earth, metal, timber
Award-winning Elke Wohlfahrt (German-born, lives in Sydney) makes paintings, sculptures, installations and video pieces about environmental topics like polystyrene cups and socio-political worries such as the silencing of nations, cities and suburbs. KulturExchange is about culture, memory, identity, disorientation and dislocation of migrants. 480 beetroots express migrants’ approaches to the issues of having a dual identity and being confronted with an inversion of their perceived normality. The work also explores how creating a new self-awareness can produce ambivalent feelings of either missing out on familiar things, or becoming familiar with new ones, depending on the migrant’s prevailing moods of optimism or pessimism.
Mixed media, found objects
Rebecca Pearson is a recent graduate from the National Art School in Sydney. She enjoys working with a wide variety of materials, often using found objects to create small sculptures that provide inspiration for her paintings. In this series of work, Inside, Outside, Rebecca creates small poetic worlds in which insects and animals are confined to fragile and slightly surreal environments. These miniature spaces echo the changing dimensions of our own tenuous environment, where things once taken for granted, like the common green, are becoming more precious. The use of glass objects in the sculptures causes us to see surface reflections of the outside world, even as we are observing these interior environments and the creatures that inhabit them.
Tessa Rapaport & Karl Logge
Suitcases, plywood, cushions, canvas, books
Tessa Rapaport & Karl Logge are interdisciplinary artists who collaborate together on a wide range of critical and creative projects, from printmaking, drawing, sculpture and installation to writing, teaching and curatorial projects. Their work attempts to turn public places into catalysts for dialogue and exchange, and is often located in non-traditional exhibition spaces. Book Case is a temporary public reading room that travels in a suitcase. Its collection consists solely of short-format reading matter (zines, short stories, essays, poetry etc.), and changes according to each new location it appears in. Readers are encouraged to interact with each other via index/correspondence cards in each book, or by old-fashioned conversation in the reading room surrounds.
Plastic info points, printed material, weeds
NobBody’s interdisciplinary approach to art allows him to work collaboratively and individually, with no loyalty to particular media and materials. He is a key member of artist group SquatSpace, the Network of Uncollectable Artists and the FAG Press. His activities create dynamic social criticism resulting in site-specific, project driven interventions. Weedyconnection is an ongoing investigation where incidental botanical species are metaphorically used to display the cultural reality of Australia. The work problematises the concept of permissible species in this country, which de-facto alienates non-native ethnobotanical connections. For the occasion, permission was sought to leave a patch of the park to grow, allowing specimens to fully mature, revealing the botanical reality of our urban environments.
Bamboo, glass, water
150 X 150 X 26 cm
Huyen-Trang Tran was born in Vietnam and is currently completing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Sculpture at COFA, UNSW. Her work is an investigation into placement, how it alters the visual coherency and modifies the meaning of certain structures. Dislocated Landscape is an installation whose visual aesthetic relies upon the qualities of the ground on which it is constructed. The circular form of the work evokes completeness, while water is used to emphasise the capacity of nature to cultivate and transform itself. As a travelling installation, Dislocated Landscape is also a metaphor for the artist’s own experience with displacement.
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Discarded /unwanted plastic, wire, glue
Jane Gillings divides her time between teaching art at a Mission Australia youth art program, and making her own artwork. Her work is diverse and encompasses printmaking, painting, illustration and sculpture. More recently she has been exploring the concept of waste and has embraced her compulsion for hoarding to create works that resurrect discarded objects. The plastic flowers in this installation formed part of Wreath, an installation of over 200 flowers produced for Sculpture By The Sea 2007. Jane’s work attempts to draw attention to the amount of waste that we produce as humans. By presenting it back to her audience as something beautiful, she hopes to make people more aware of what they are throwing away, and its potential for reuse.
36 X 36 X 36 cm
Greg Shapley is a new media artist and director of Don’t Look Gallery in Dulwich Hill. He most recently participated in the group show ‘Another Book for No Good Reason’ at Chrissie Cotter Gallery. Temporal Anomaly is a sound sculpture created specifically for Maundrell Park, comprising four audio channels dispersed throughout the park in small, self-contained units. Each of these units replays audio from previous recordings in the same locations, thus collapsing other ‘times’ into the present. The work questions what place is and how it changes and reinvents itself over time. It prompts us to consider if it is only our memory that insists we are standing where we stood yesterday, or if place is in fact a fixed vessel within which matter and energy fluctuate.
Virginia creeper, draco tree
45 cm (approx.)
Peter Williamson works with material drawn from the gardens and green waste of the inner city. Using techniques based in basketry and weaving, his goal is to draw attention to the presence of the other life forms that surround us in the city, and to give these other forms a place of honour and focus in the experience of the viewer. Cyclops Basket is constructed by ‘random weaving’, calling to mind the way plants will grow wherever they get a foothold. The form of the object calls to mind an eye, with the power to watch the watcher.