April 01, 2006

PROJECT | Artlanguage: Every publishable place


Opens: Saturday 1 April, 4 to 6pm
Talks by: Charles Merewether, artistic director and curator of Sydney Biennale 2006, and performance reading by Ruark Lewis
Where: The Cross Art Projects
33 Roslyn Street, Kings Cross, Sydney (opposite St Lukes Hospital gates)
Exhibition continues to: Saturday 29 April 2006
Cross Conversation: see below
Information: Jo Holder 9357 2058 or 0406 537933

Pam Aitken, Sophie Coombs, Franz Ehmann, Lisa Kelly, Lucas Ihlein, Patrick Jones, Ruark Lewis, Jacqueline Rose, Alex Selenitsch, SquatSpace, Ania Walwicz

ArtLanguage: Every Publishable Place puts current artistic concerns about social poetics, activism and the function of the public/private voice within a tradition of artists working with the placement of language and image in the ordinary world.

Curator Ruark Lewis places work by eminent language artists Alex Selenitsch, Franz Ehmann and Ania Walwicz alongside that of an emerging generation. The exhibition unites aesthetic sensibility and avant-garde traditions with a critical approach to the dissemination and display of art. The artists embed social concerns within larger ethical and aesthetic fields, building forms of local practice that are not overtly oppositional but which access and involve global public opinion. In this way their art functions as an alternative form of publication.

Why is this type of practice so relevant today? Because the working model it proposes, wherein ideas, experience and opinion are modeled in an art gallery or other public context, runs counter to the neo-liberal status quo of technocrats and closed doors, manipulated concerns and sedated villagers.

Most artists in the exhibition see language as a traditional avant-garde or experimental tool and relish its capacity for subversion. Sophie Coombs's work 'Piece' and Lisa Kelly's sculpture 'Powerless Circuit' use epigrammatic humour. Other artists, more sombrely, refer to classic modernist writers in a type of homage, paid, for example, by Pam Aitken to Samuel Beckett and Jacqueline Rose to Franz Kafka.

Others use performance modes as social commentary. Patrick Jones's roaming graffiti wall, 'A Temporary Autonomous Zone', slyly critiques the absurd zero tolerance laws forbidding graffiti during the Commonwealth Games. The artist group SquatSpace urges us to get a feel for the complex issues of state re-development in the Redfern and Waterloo area by getting on-board a 'Tour of Beauty' and talking to locals. Other artists show ongoing series of works externally, like Franz Ehmann's hand-painted roadside signage and Ruark Lewis's 'Banalities', protest banners which place obfuscating letters and jargon within their disputed public context.

These artists are asking vital questions and looking for answers in discussions outside powerful institutions and hegemonies, in all forms of publishable places.

Curator Ruark Lewis
Ruark Lewis has had a successful two-decade career as an artist, performance artist, curator and writer who operates across a range of disciplines. His work is featured in the 2006 Biennale of Sydney entitled 'Zones of Transition'. He founded Haiku Review web-art journal.
Co-ordination: Jaime Wheatley

SquatSpace: Redfern Waterloo Tour of Beauty
When: Sunday 9 April 2006, 2PM
Meet: Lawson St, Redfern under the (ex)TNT Towers.
Tour lasts 4 hours
Enquiries: 0422771092 or info@squatspace.com

Ruark Lewis: Banalities for William Street
(after Kenneth Slessor).
When: Saturday 22 April, 2pm

The Cross Art Projects
A space for independent art & curatorial studies
33 Roslyn Street Kings Cross Sydney 2011
T: + 61 (02) 9357-2058
E: joholder@aic.net.au
W: www.crossart.com.au