Tuesday, 30 December 2014

'Feral', Articulate Project Space (APS): Urlaub im Balkon

Day 17: Saturday,17th 2015: Group B +C's opening last night saw many excellent and playful responses to the laboratory brief for this project. I particularly enjoyed Nicole Ellis's Soft Pole, Night work (2015)[see image below], Bianca Burn's Spatial study No.2 (2014-2015), Tim Corne's Negative Space (2015), Julian Wood's [time based work/dvd projection] Spirit: Life through breath (2015), Linden Braye's Continual Re-actions (2015) and Margaret Robert's Occupy Kobro (SC2) (2015). 

It made me smile to see Justine Holt's Untitled (2015) near my Der Papagei [#5]; Nicole Ellis's works in conversation with my drawings; and unexpected conversations between Linden's and my works.
Linden Braye | Continuing Re-actions (2015), section view| Materials: Electrical extension cords, ply wood, Articulate Project Space

Nicole Ellis | Soft pole, Night work (2015) Materials: Chalk paint, fabric, wood, Articulate Project Space

autocartographical drawing, automatic drawing, experimental drawing
India Zegan, Die Papageien (2015), Feral, Articulate Project Space
autocartographical drawing, experimental drawing, automatic drawing
India Zegan, Die Papageien (2015), Feral, Articulate Project Space
autocartographical drawing, automatic drawing, experimental drawing
India Zegan, Die Papageien (2015), Feral, Articulate Project Space
automatic drawing, experimental drawing, autocartographical drawing
India Zegan, Die Papageien (2015), Feral, Articulate Project Space
automatic drawing, autocartographical drawing, experimental drawing
India Zegan, Die Papageien (2015), Feral, Articulate Project Space

Autocartographical drawing, experimental drawing, automatic drawing
Justine Holt | 'Untitled' (2015) Material: Salt blocks. My watercolour drawing 'Der Pagagei' [#5] (2015), can be seen in the background, Articulate Project Space

Autocartographical drawing, automatic drawing, experimental drawing

 India Zegan, Die Papageien (2015), Feral, Articulate Project Space

Margaret Robert's ongoing investigation into Katarzyna Kobro's work is of particular interest to me. Robert's ongoing project to re-make selected Kobro minimalist sculptures enables Sydney viewers to see and experience Kobro's sublime works.

To be with a minimal work, and to have quiet and mindful time in a space with a minimalist work is slightly akin to a ensemble singer or musician breathing quietly as she follows the notations on a page sheet music that her ensemble is currently rehearsing. By necessity, this is a quiet, private and voluminous experience. It is only knowable to those undertaking such an excercise. 

By contrast, viewing a photographic reproduction of a spatial or minimalist work on the internet or in a hard copy publication reduces the viewer's understanding and experience of the work. It also invariably sets up a misguided understanding of the work through representational painting discourses, as opposed to understanding the work through spatial and sculptural discourses.

Margaret Robert's deep understanding and ability to perfectly remake Kobro's work has enabled me to experience several of Kobro's early works from the 1920s. When I was last in Poland, I unfortunately missed Kobro's works held in Lodz art collections. I'm looking forward to visiting her archive when I am next in Poland and Germany. As some readers will know, I am currently re-focusing my eyes on Polish and German artists who have been over looked and/ or who have minimal currency in anglocentric art histories. 
Margaret Roberts, Occupy Kobro (2015). Background: Marta Ferracin in 'Feral', Articulate Project Space, Sydney
Margaret Roberts, Occupy Kobro (2015). Backgroud: Anya Pesce (monochrome wall works) & Marta Ferracin in 'Feral', Articulate Project Space, Sydney

Margaret Roberts | Occupy Kobro [SC2] (2015) Materials: Plywood, paint, contact adhesive                           Notes: This work was 'activated' when visitors held the white and black plywood section. Activators were asked to aligned the verticals so that the ply section met and aligned the silver wall section; and also aligned the bottom edge of the ply section with the vertical/ horizontal that divided the silver and white sections of the floor element. I will be uploading additional 'activation' images shortly. 

Day 12:  Sunday, 11th January, 2015: Der Papagei [#6] was bisected from its roll of paper yesterday and suspended for public display. This then leaves two elements that need to be completed to finish this suite of drawings. Good documentation photographs will follow shortly.

autocartographical drawing, automaticdrawing, experimental drawing
India Zegan | Die Papageien [#5, #1 and #3] (2014-), work in progress, Feral 1, Articulate Project Space, Sydney

Feral opening: Following the suggestion of a dear artist friend, I continued to draw at the opening of Feral [A+B, aka 1+2] on Friday night (09/01/2015). By illustrating automatic drawing processes, visitors were able to appreciate the Godot like task of completing this suite of drawings that are strictly limited to one white tone and 12 grey watercolour pencils. The same artist friend also suggested setting up a go-pro camera to document my drawing processes. This is something I will most likely do once I have moved studios and sessional work re-commences for 2015.
Working on these autocartographical drawings provides me with an opportunity to totally immerse myself in the spectral inflections and atonal possibilities within automatic drawing. Following this, I have also been thinking about the unique silence that follows a chord, after it has been struck on a piano or string instrument. I am interested in the moment after sound production has passed, despite that note/ chord still being actively held down by a musician's fingers.
I've now packing up both trestle tables in order to make space for group C [3] artists. I'm looking forward to seeing the next set of responses. 

Feral observations: 
1. Group A +  B artists have all presented their work well. 
1. Standout: Linden Braye's (group B) conceptually driven responses to painting discourses located upstairs at APS. For one work, Braye's placed a hard cover edition of Johannes Itten's The Art of Colour (1973) in a found carboard box on the floor. Itten's publication was positioned standing on its bottom edge as it would on a book shelf, and was oriented so that the publication bisected the rectangular base of the box, creating two triangular voids on either side of Itten's publication. The final element to this work was the inclusion of one green electric light bulb. Braye accommodated the light bulb by cutting a neat void in one of the box's fold down tabs. As I was not able to take in all of Braye's works on the opening night, I am looking forward to carefully viewing them before they disappear.

Linden Braye | Continuing Re-actions (2015), Articulate Project Space                                          

2. Emma Wise's (Group A) memory game and her homeless person's shelter provides viewers with an opportunity to think on the mercenary budget cuts actioned by Tony Abbott's government.  

Group B, which includes me, will be deinstalling all works after closing at 5pm, Sunday 18th January 2015. Followed closely by Group D who move into APS on 19th January.

Day 9: Thursday 8th January, 2015: My work space at APS has a become my temporary studio for the next week or so while I am participating in Feral 1+2. I am still working on #6.

Both old and new studios are currently unusable as I have started deconstructing one and have started transporting equipment and materials to the other. I am looking forward to working with my friend, Damon Hannon who is an architect and eco builder. Hannon's extraordinary talent, skill and work ethos means that we will be able to push through the build in record time and under budget. I need to push everything through as quickly as possible so that I can return to 100% studio productivity on the 1st February: new studio configured and old studio completely vacated.  

Day 7: Today is Tuesday 6th January, 2015. The most fitting adjective to describe the current atmosphere at APS is 'inspiring'. If there was a  barometer-like instrument that could measure goodwill, experimentation, professionalism and a collegiate approaches to this laboratory exhibition, the reading at 6.30pm last night would have measured 90%. The invited artists  include 2014 BVA and Hons graduates from National Art School and Sydney College of the Arts; emerging and mid career artists; current and ex- staff from Sydney College of the Arts, UNSW Art + Design (ex-COFA) and the National Art School. 

The refreshing cross generational conversations that emerge from APS's laboratory style projects travel against current Sydney art fashion. This 'pop-gun-soda' mash-up of emerging, mid career and recent graduates encourages viewers to create their own playful links and narratives between works. For readers and visitors based in Sydney, the first Feral opening is this coming Friday at 6-8pm. For more info, please visit the Articulate Project Space blog: http://articulate497.blogspot.com.au/

Studio news: I am greatly relieved that I have avoided a non-studio period later in the year, when my current studio is handed their unfortunate (but unavoidable) eviction notice by property developers. I have taken my first crate of equipment over to my new studio. 

Regarding this urban development, I find it deeply curious that there are now thousands of new apartments that have sprung up in the Wolli Creek area in the last 3 years, and not one single pedestrian crossing has been installed. There is only one speed hump in this area, no traffic lights, many SUV cars and a sub-culture of souped-up car drivers.

Thinking on the changing landscape around Wolli Creek, which is near Sydney airport, brings to mind the Australian painter, Jeffrey Smart (1921-2013).  Smart is best known for painting Australian urban landscapes that included shipping crates, semi-trailer trucks, highways and commercial transit locations. 

Drawings: I am still working on #6. This element is progressing slowly due to the tone I am working towards and the particular hand weight register that I have set for this element.

Day 2:  
Today is the 1st January, 2015. Working in the space today with fellow Feral 1 group one artists has been a quiet affair and a delight. For visitors who have not had the pleasure of visiting APS, this project space/ spatial laboratory has two levels; both levels will be used for this project.

Project tracking: I have put down 70% of the pencil marks on #5 and have commenced #6.

Automatic drawing, autocartographical drawing, experiemntal drawing
India Zegan | 'Der Papagei [#6]' (2014-), located on work table, work in progress, Feral 1, Articulate Project Space, Sydney

experimental drawing, autocartographical drawing, automatic drawing
India Zegan | Der Papagei [#6] (2014-), work in progress, Feral 1, Articulate Project Space, Sydney

Day 1: Wednesday 31st December, 2014: As I am working in the space and with the space, I am treating this project as a mini residency. I am thrilled to be participating in both Feral 1 and Feral 2. Starting a new project on the cusp of a new year is the perfect way for me to start a new year. 

Drawing quietly and listening to Ane Brun seems the most perfect way to think and reflect on the last 12 months; and preparing oneself, as much as one can, for the unknowable opportunities that will present themselves in 2015.

I will be working in the space each day until I go back to work on the 12th, and after that, when I am not at work. In the first instance, I am continuing with the drawings that belong to 'Die Papageien' suite. I am also looking forward to making new works in response to other Feral project artists.

Autocartographical drawing, automatic drawing, experimental drawing
India Zegan | Der Papagei [#1] (2014-) Notes: This suite of drawings in work in progress. All drawings are 585cm long and vary between 17- approximately 30cm wide. Each drawing is made on archival Fabriano paper 200gsm and a selection of grey toned watercolour pencils.

Experimental drawing, autocartographical drawing, automatic drawing
India Zegan | Der Papagei [#5] (2014-)| Notes: I started the 5th drawing in 'Die Papageien' series today, 30/12/2015.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

'Die Papageien' (2014-), Articulate Project Space

experimental drawing, automatic drawing, autocartographical drawing
India Zegan
Title: ‘Die Papageien’ (2014-)
Materials: colour pencils on archival Fabriano paper 200gsm
Dimensions: 17.5-21cm x 584cm

autocartographical drawing, automatic drawing, experimental drawing
India Zegan
Title: ‘Die Papageien’ (2014-)
Materials: colour pencils on archival Fabriano paper 200gsm
Dimensions: 17.5-21cm x 584cm
The work that I currently have on display at Articulate Project Space's (APS) exhibition, 'Colour, line, form', is the 4th drawing from a suite of autocartographical drawings titled, ‘Die Papageien’ (2014-2015). I am currently investigating spectral inflections and atonal possibilities within automatic drawing. 

As this drawing is nearly 6 meters long, it bisects both the ground and first floor spaces of APS. I am very glad to be able to present these drawings in a space that can easily accommodate my ongoing want to explore verticality.  This suite of drawings is now approximately 50% complete. The remaining 50% will be completed by the beginning of March 2015.

Future installations of this suite of drawings: As there is a shortage of suitable exhibition spaces with gloriously high ceilings in Sydney, some of the drawings from this series might end up being orientated horizontally along a wall. 

In a domestic environment, a drawing from this suite could easily be installed parallel and above a wall's picture rail. For braver people, the work might snake up a wall and continue onto and across a ceiling.

Many thanks to the exhibition's curator, William Seeto. The exhibition is now open until the 28th December. 

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Cicadas, Stone Villa, Salmagundi and the lack of affordable studios in this town

Cicada, Sunday night at my friend's house, December 2014

Cicada, teaspoon and leg, December 2014

India Zegan 'October, 2012' (2014)| Materials: Plywood, Archival Fabriano paper 200gsm & colour pencils| Measurement along combined top edges= 17cm x height: 21cm

'October 2012' (2014) is a new work that I completed today and will be submitting for the Stone Villa fundraiser which happens this coming Friday night, 19 December, 2014 at Chrissie Cotter Gallery, Camperdown. All works sell for $50. All funds raised go to support their forthcoming Stone Villa Wearable Art Prize, 2015.

Stone Villa is a studio initiative that aims to provide affordable studio rents to studio artists. As a not-for-profit studio complex, this project is generously supported by Marrickville Council. For readers not familiar with the studio scenario in Sydney, such initiatives are rare in Sydney. If you are a Sydney based artist, keep a tab on Stone Villa website. There's a call out twice a year for Visual Artists to apply for a free six month studio residency at Stone Villa.

Salmagundi Studios: I'm luckier than most in this regard- at least for the time being. My current studio is located within the 20+ mixed discipline studios at Salmagundi. That said, our position is best described as tenuous, as Wolli Creek (suburb) is currently being transformed into a medium density high rise apartment landscape. All studio holders pay current market rent. 

As a mixed discipline studio, Salmagundi accommodates a variety of visual artists, robotics engineers, artisans, designers and project-based associates. Each studio holder has successfully managed to calibrate their paid work load (the day job...), so that over 80% of studio holders are able to commit a full time load or as close as possible, depending on project brief and scope of the project. Work undertaken in the studios includes: engineering projects (predominantly 3D film, theatre, tv and event based projects), commercial design (2 and 3D), decorative art and furniture restoration, metal work, graphic design, print media and visual art. Salmagundi has also recently started providing art classes to adults living with a disability and other groups.

While all of this sounds great, it is inevitable that the building will be sold for redevelopment within the next 12 months. If any one has any bright ideas regarding rehousing 20 artists in an industrial building, please contact Dillon McEwan via the new Salmagundi.org blog:

India Zegan, '30 irregular minutes' (1999-2013). Photographer: Felicity Jenkins. [Measurements: 120cm x 120cmx 9cm, upright support: variable.] 
Notes: This work was first exhibited as part of the 'Splice' (2014) exhibition at Articulate Project Space, Sydney. The drive to present this work, using a galvanised metal hinge, was informed by the giant 'gate' (movable 4th wall) in my studio. Mechanically minded people will appreciate that the circular voids that had to clear 64mm of mdf( never again with that material) were achieved by using a free-standing magnetic industrial grade electric drill press. I could not have completed this work without a studio. Many thanks Skadi Nova and Dillon McEwan for providing affordable studios and free access to said wonderful drill press. Thanks also go to Steve Mori for art transport and installation assistance; and Ramie Moussa for de-installation when I was in Singapore helping install 'Art Stage', Singapore and also looking at the Singapore Biennale (2014).

Photo notes: My movable 4th wall in my studio. The installation of this structure provides me with a dedicated installation space when I 'open' my hinged 4th wall; in addition to machine workshop and storage area, also within my studio. My 4th wall also provides me with an additional 2x[ 3.5m (w) x 3m (h)] walls. Special thanks to my friend, Damon Hannon, Architect and Eco builder. Damon completed his Masters in Architecture, UNSW a couple of years ago. Damon is a Sydney- Gosford based Architect. Damon's inventive design allowed the project to be completed in two days and under budget. There has been zero warp to the gate since its installation in 2012. The entire frame is made from timber.

Photo notes: With the 4th wall 'closed', I am able to unfurl 'long' works in progress.  December, 2014

Photo notes: Prior to commencing the toxic treatment (2011-12) to change the font and design of my pattern, I made a major investment in small portable dust extraction and air filtration machines, attachments and special charcoal filters for particles and odours. In addition to running the air filtration machines at all times, I also wore industrial quality air-filtration masks, and worked with a vacuume at close hand, so that I could thorough 'vac' between each cut. Re-routing the surface of this pattern (initially made by me) is possibly one of the most scary and phenomenally satisfying technical projects that I have set myself. During the process I kept feeling that the project was a bit like performing neurological surgery on myself using a high powered router. I have now disposed of all mdf in my studio and will not work with this material again. 

Photo notes: Working with Ramie Moussa. I engaged Ramie as my Technical Adviser and Studio Assistant for a 2.5 week project, 2013. Although I am more technically minded than others, and give or take less than others, my experience and expertise does not extend to resin technologies, and the correct curing point of resin in fluctuating relative humidity conditions.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Die Aufmerksamkeit: Receiving a found library

It appears that the festive season has come early this year. An art friend dropped off a box of books the other night. My friend found the box and its contents dumped outside a suburban home in Sydney's inner west, prior to a local council hard rubbish collection. My mindful friend knows I am currently learning German and guessed correctly that this box and its contents would be gleefully received.

It appears that these books were collected by the Australian artist, Elwyn 'Jack' Lynn (1917-1997). Various inscriptions bear Lynn's signature, note where the volume was purchased and the date. The photograph located above illustrates some of the titles that were found.

'Kunst und Revolte' (1968) by Louis F. Peters bears a black biro inscription, 'Kassel 1968' and Lynn's signature. Peters' 'Kunst und Revolte' is of particular interest to me. It causes me to speculate if this publication was circulating in Adelaide amongst the fearless W.A.M. gals such as Pam Harris (1946-1992) and Anne Newmarch.

An earlier publication, 'Fritz Winter, Triebkräfte der Erde' (1957), also bears Lynn's signature in black ink (fountain pen) and the date,  '6.11.58'. For those less familiar with the German artist, Fritz Winter (1905-1976), Winter was deemed a degenerate artist by the National Socialists and was subsequently sent to the Eastern Front. Subsequently, and on returning to Germany in 1949, he was invited to participate in Dokumenta 1 (1955) and Dokumenta 2 (1959).

The 'square peg' in this collection of books is a MOP Gallery catalogue for the exhibition, 'Our lucky country' (2010). As such, it is the only Australian visual art title cached in this box of books. It would appear that an unknown person, post 2010, added the MOP catalogue to this collection on publications. I am looking forward to reading Fritz Winter's 'Triebkräfte der Erde'. Following this, it seems appropriate to read the catalogue essay for 'Our lucky country' (2010). The only other anomaly in this collection, albeit in a different field, is a collection of contemporary Australian poems, 'On reflection' (2005) by David Musgrave.

As the year rolls to an end, and the tensions between the Ukraine and Russia continue to escalate, and as more lives are lost through willful acts of violence, I cannot help but imagine a worse case scenario. A recent newspaper story by Jurek Skrobala, 'Stuck in the Middle: Polish Intellectuals Sound the Alarm on Russia' in Der Spiegel (first accessed 9/12/2014) presents Poland's difficult and tenuous position:
The ongoing tension in this region brings to mind the Polish artist, Magdalena Abakanowicz and her work, 'Abakan trójczęściowy czarny' (1972), [techniki mieszane/ mixed media] which I saw at the Biała Fabryka Museum, Łódź in 2012. 

Special thanks to Jagoda + Włodek for alerting me to Abakanowicz's important work which is held in the permanent collection of Biała Fabryka Museum, Łódź.

Magdalena Abakanowicz, 'Abakan trójczęściowy czarny' (1972), Biała Fabryka Museum, Łódź

Magdalena Abakanowicz, section detail: 'Abakan trójczęściowy czarny' (1972), Biała Fabryka Museum in Łódź

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Upcoming group shows, December 2014- January 2015

 1. 'Articulate turns Four: Colour, Form, Line' (2014)
Curated by Dr. William Seeto
Venue: Articulate Project Space: 470 Parramatta Road, Leichhardt
Public transport: Articulate Project Space is a 8 minute walk from Petersham train station, approximately a 15 minute train trip from Central station.
Opens: Friday, 19th December, 6-8pm
Opening hours:  11-5pm each day 20-28 December, except for 25 and 26 December

Press release:
Colour, Form, Line is a theme-based group show with 57 artists curated by William Seeto for the end-of-year annual exhibition titled Articulate Turns Four. The exhibition theme of colour, form and line sets the context by providing a framework that enables discourse, and offers a means of connecting diverse art practices.

In formulating the exhibition, the curator was briefed to invite artists and coordinate installation on the ground and first floors of Articulate. In order to facilitate curation, a theme was set that reverse-curated the show by allowing artists to choose whether they took part or not. In making work, artists were encouraged to reference the thematic elements individually or in combination, directly or indirectly, as metaphor or reality. The theme offered structure by addressing different ways of working with the view to presenting an alternate outcome. It was a guide that allowed variation of practice and enabled discourse between different artists’ work. In setting parameters it brought together diverse practices, dealt with individual viewpoints, and drew work together. During installation, the artworks were assembled and curatorial positioned so they worked-off each other in order to create a cohesive exhibition.

 The curator, Dr. William Seeto is an established artist and independent curator. He completed a Doctorate in Philosophy at the University of Sydney, and has curated exhibitions at the Tin Sheds Gallery - University of Sydney and Articulate Project Space. His practice of 33 years revisits abstraction by examining perception, and different ways artworks heighten or displace experience.

2. Stone Villa Annual Fundraiser, 2014
Opens: Friday, 19th December 2014, 6-8pm
Venue: Chrissie Cotter Gallery, Pidcock Street, Camperdown.
Notes: All funds raised go towards funding the annual Stone Villa Wearable Art Prize (2015). 

 3. 'Feral' (2015), Articulate Project Space  
Opens: Friday 9 January 2015, 6-8pm

Press release:  
FERAL is progressive, overlapping exhibition that will be open Friday - Sunday 11-5pm between 9 January - 8 February 2015. Opening events for its five iterations are Fridays 9, 16, 23 + 30 January and 6 February at 6-8pm, each of which will show the work of a different combination of twenty artists.

The FERAL program is designed for artists to experiment with installation or placement of artwork in an architectural space that is already altered by the earlier installation of other artists' work, and which will be altered again when another group replaces that earlier installation. It is called FERAL because its progressive overlapping nature is a slightly feral form of exhibition practice, and because FERAL sounds like FAIR ISLE, the 2014 version of the same sort of project. The FERAL/FAIR-ISLE  project is part of the broader Articulate interest in the relationships artworks form with their locations. 

FERAL artists include Tania Alexander, Lisa Andrew, Michelle Beevors, Dominic Byrne, Sue Callanan, Andrew Christie, Liz Coats, Richard Dunn, Nicole Ellis, Juliet Fowler Smith, Jane Gavan, Beata Geyer, Barbara Halnan, Pollyxenia Joannou, Fiona Kemp, Rachel McCallum, Diane McCarthy, Sian McIntyre, Louise Morgan, James Needham Walker, Melissa Jane Palmer, Kimberley Peel, Jannah Quill, Elizabeth Rankin, Renay Ringma, Margaret Roberts, Alan Rose, Kathryn Ryan, Alexandra Sideris, Helen L Sturgess, Phaptawan Suwannakudt, Yoshi Takahashi, Ioulia Terizis, Alicia Terry, Emma Wise and India Zegan with more to come.