Sunday, 20 April 2014

Australian artist: Rose Ann McGreevy

The highlight of Articulate Project Space's (APS) current exhibition is Rose Anne McGreevy's work.  For readers outside Australia, APS is a remarkable artist network that provides conceptual artists with a laboratory-like space to test new works and spatial theory. 

Rose is a senior Australian conceptual artist who has now retired from academia. As a pracitising artist, she continues to map out new spatial cartographies in her studio at APS and in her home.

ROSE ANN MCGREEVY, 'Interrupting the spatial plane' (2014)
Spending time with Rose's work yesterday made me wish Sydney had writers and curators like Peter Schjeldahl or Gabriele Knapstein to look at her work. This last comment reflects on the fact that there are only a handful of interested parties in Sydney who invest in spatial and conceptual art discourses.

The work, 'Interrupting the spatial plane. 2014' is potent and not for the lame hearted. The conversations set up between the roughly hewn horizontal timbers, the non-grain of the four mdf sheets and dowel wood achieve an opera-like tension. Every decision and action that McGreevy undertook to produce this work demonstrates her rare and quiet intelligence. 

ROSE ANN MCGREEVY, 'Interrupting the spatial plane', (2014), section view
This work also reminded me of the silent and still hurricane-like force a work can convey. The truth embedded in McGreevy's piece brought to mind Bruce Nauman's  now permanent installation, 'Room with My Soul Left Out, Room That Does Not Care' (1984) at the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin. Both Nauman's and McGreevy's piece remind me of truth in its most potent form: a brave mix of self honesty, introspection and courage. 

McGreevy's 'Interrupting the spatial plane. 2014' is best described as sublime.

For additional info on Rose's practice, please visit her blog:

Notes_ 05/05/2014: I am still thinking on Rose's work and will be uploading more notes shortly.
ROSE ANN MCGREEVY, 'Interrupting the spatial plane' (2014)

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Mapping abstracted conversations: Dance and Bruegel

Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Pissing Against the Moon, 1558.  Musée Mayer van den Bergh, Antwerp / "Pissing against the moon" essentially means wasting one’s time in futile activities.
PIETER BRUEGEL THE ELDER| Pissing Against the Moon (1588)

Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Pissing Against the Moon, 1558. Musée Mayer van den Bergh, Antwerp. Accessed on line on 18/04/2014: 
 This suite of paintings by Breugal are held in the permanent collection of the Musée Mayer van den Bergh, Antwerp. 

I'm terribly glad that I decided to return to Belgium, after visiting Documenta 13, to specifically see the Musée Mayer van den Bergh in Antwerp.

BREUGEL, Musée Mayer van den Bergh, Antwerp
The following is a link for Le Nederlands Dans Theatre au Cinema work titled, 'Shoot the moon':

Le Nederlands Dans Theatre au Cinema (LDN): I'm thrilled to read and to watch dance that appears to be directly inspired by one of Breugal's work and/or stem from the same proverb. I can only image the thrill my friend Gwen must experience when he gets to light LDN and similar contemporary dance companies.

The proverbs depicted in the panels above continue to provide me with great solace. These works have helped me construct a more pragmatic vista on what is currently happening on Australian shores.

Dreaming: The opportunity to see all 12 panels turned into a series of dance works by LDN would send me flying in true Dulle Griet style to a travel agent. 

Farewell letter by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

I've just received this from a precious friend.

For reasons of health, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Colombia’s illustrious Nobel Laureate for literature, has declared his retirement from public life. He has terminal cancer and sends this letter of farewell to friends and lovers of literature.

Farewell Letter
by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
If God, for a second, forgot what I have become and granted me a little bit more of life, I would use it to the best of my ability.
I wouldn’t, possibly, say everything that is in my mind, but I would be more thoughtful l of all I say.
I would give merit to things not for what they are worth, but for what they mean to express.
I would sleep little, I would dream more, because I know that for every minute that we close our eyes, we waste 60 seconds of light.
I would walk while others stop; I would awake while others sleep.
If God would give me a little bit more of life, I would dress in a simple manner, I would place myself in front of the sun, leaving not only my body, but my soul naked at its mercy.
To all men, I would say how mistaken they are when they think that they stop falling in love when they grow old, without knowing that they grow old when they stop falling in love.
I would give wings to children, but I would leave it to them to learn how to fly by themselves.
To old people I would say that death doesn’t arrive when they grow old, but with forgetfulness.
I have learned so much with you all, I have learned that everybody wants to live on top of the mountain, without knowing that true happiness is obtained in the journey taken & the form used to reach the top of the hill.
I have learned that when a newborn baby holds, with its little hand, his father’s finger, it has trapped him for the rest of his life.
I have learned that a man has the right and obligation to look down at another man, only when that man needs help to get up from the ground.
Say always what you feel, not what you think. If I knew that today is the last time that that I am going to see you asleep, I would hug you with all my strength and I would pray to the Lord to let me be the guardian angel of your soul.
If I knew that these are the last moments to see you, I would say “I love you.”
There is always tomorrow, and life gives us another opportunity to do things right, but in case I am wrong, and today is all that is left to me, I would love to tell you how much I love you & that I will never forget you.
Tomorrow is never guaranteed to anyone, young or old. Today could be the last time to see your loved ones, which is why you mustn’t wait; do it today, in case tomorrow never arrives. I am sure you will be sorry you wasted the opportunity today to give a smile, a hug, a kiss, and that you were too busy to grant them their last wish.
Keep your loved ones near you; tell them in their ears and to their faces how much you need them and love them. Love them and treat them well; take your time to tell them “I am sorry,” “forgive me, “please,” “thank you,” and all those loving words you know.
Nobody will know you for your secret thought. Ask the Lord for wisdom and strength to express them.
Show your friends and loved ones how important they are to you.
Send this letter to those you love. If you don’t do it today…tomorrow will be like yesterday, and if you never do it, it doesn’t matter either, the moment to do it is now.
For you, with much love,
Your Friend,
Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Clandulla State Forrest inaugurual exhibition, 'The Survey'

It was a pleasure to have been invited to work in the gallery and to meet nearly all the participating artists and other guests also staying at Cementa HQ.  
India Zegan| Site: Clandulla State Forrest, NSW| Title: Raft no.2 (2014)| Materials: Sand, cable ties| Dimensions: variable
Participating artists: George Pollard, Mr and Mrs Brown, Alan Schachler, Bettina Bruder, Kathryn Ryan, Dave Stanfield, Emma Wise, Genevieve Carroll, Connie Anthes, Sara Breen Lovett, Kelly Spritz, Margaret Roberts and me.
Special thankyou to George Pollard, Dave Stanfield, Alex Wisser, Christine McMillan and Anne Finegan for hosting and the welcoming atmosphere.

For this project, I presented Raft No. 2 (2014). As this work pushed me well out of my comfort zone, I am currently thinking on it as an extension of the automatic drawing and floor works that I have recently been experimenting with. The following text was made available to visitors on the day:


Title: Raft no.2(2014)
Materials: White sand, cable ties
Dimensions: Variable.

Zegan has been thinking on and off about Théodore Géricault's painting, 'The Raft of The Medusa' (1819) for approximately ten years. The French frigate, The Medusa, sank on route to Senegal in 1816.

Géricault's painting is widely agreed upon by art historians as marking the birth of modernity. 'The Raft of The Medusa' was the first painting in the European tradition to depict and place equal importance upon the representation of slaves, people of colour and caucasians. Historians have documented that the raft helped save the lives of some ten people, from the original 150 passengers of the raft. It is well documented that the official  life rafts had unassigned seats that could have easily accommodated  additional passengers.

For the Clandulla State Forest's inaugural exhibition, Zegan has chosen to focus on the raft from Géricault's epic painting. Zegan's decision to only work in black and white tones directly references the black and white hull of the Medusa.

India Zegan| Site: Clandulla State Forrest, NSW| Title: Raft no.2 (2014)| Materials: Sand, cable ties| Dimensions: variable
Connie Anthes: A sail-like rectangle made from the lightest grey shopping bags fused together with a soldering iron. Almost like a piece of minimalist music turned into an object.
Mr and Mrs Brown: I like particularly liked the movement between the three elements that Mr and Mrs Brown installed. Very elegant placement and spaces between each. Great use of hot pink colour and its correlation with the stains an insecticide leaves in their ute.
George Pollard: Dexterous.
Emma Wise: On.
Kathryn Ryan: Semitones of white.
Bettina Bruder: Watching.
Genevieve Carroll: Strong work. 
Unfortunately, my iphone ran dry. Please send pics.

Notes: It would be great to see another batch of artists being invited to participate in the next chapter of the Clandulla State Forrest. The opportunity to play and experiment on site is simply, quite brilliant.  

This project was thoughtfully conceived and delivered by Margaret Roberts and Alex Wisser.

Other: Wisser and Millis at Redlands Prize, NAS= perfect conversation.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

What is Australian?

When I visited Documenta 13 (2012) my heart raced as I walked towards Warwick Thornton's combie van parked in the gardens.


 Although I had only been out of Australia for a slither of a moment, two weeks, the piece was made instantly hypnotic by the audio component in the work, the broadcasting of Koori radio through the van's speakers. For readers not familiar with Koori radio and or the Warrumpi Band (and Midnight Oil), I've added this link.
I would like to think that this is soul sound of Australia; and not the offensive semi skinhead- Ozi! Oi! Oi! Oi! that we currently see on televised sporting and similar 'nationhood' occasions.

To return to Thornton, as I approached, the steps I took towards the van became increasingly quicker; and then slower. My heart raced and then slowed down. I became increasingly tearful and simultaneously proud to be an Australian as I approached Warwick's piece. This is what it means to live in the country that we are Congo-ising with our current contempt for the land through current and proposed mining practices.

To come across this work, an Australian work in Kassel, has helped me return to the question, what does it mean to be Australian?

The other night, the first in some weeks, I sat down briefly at home to watch television. An excellent ABC TV program on the Tiwi Islands came up and a Tilipoura man started speaking. While watching this program I addressed the television and said out loud, 'Your family makes excellent magpie geese sculptures. I know several pieces intimately through my work.' My flatmate concurred on this point. We kept watching, mostly in silence.

Warwick's piece stung as deeply and slowly as Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller's work presented in another section of the park at Documenta. The Cardiff-Miller work is/was the audio landscape of my Mother's childhood in Poland and now the Ukraine during WW2. 

Warwick's piece represents the rich cultural Australia that I grew up in with my Mother. The variable (how long is a piece of string) is that I grew up in inner city Adelaide, I am not indigenous and I've only been to the bush twice: once in the 70s on a drive from Adelaide to Perth; and then a visit to the Macquarie Marshes in western NSW in the early 2000s. That said, being a city dweller does not excuse me from thinking about what is happening in the bush- to people or to country.

My stoic Mother has a painting of 'Bush Tomatoes' hanging in her home. I think it needs reframing in a box frame.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Distortions of space through contemporary dance

Starting to return to think about spatial politics through dance and movement again; and the relationship between drawing and dance.

For more info on this beautiful project:
I am also delighted that the work is a collaboration with Ane Brun.
I keep watching 'Hold' and thinking about what it means to make work.

New Youtube gold: William Forsythe: 
Online score Synchronous Objects: 
; Motion Bank:

Drawing news: Raft drawings (2014): Have pinned sheet no.5 to the wall. Still working up No.4 and can better see the final additions that are required to #1-3. Will try to hold of on these until I have the full set, between 10 and 12 drawings completed. Due date: October.

Exhibition requirements: Need to secure a space that has quasi museum scale tall and long walls. These drawings are all 150 cm wide and will require significant space around them so that they can breathe.