EXHIBITION REVIEW: Transmission
Race, gender, spirituality and sexuality; the thematic tropes of the contemporary art show all inhabit Transmission. Curated by Carrie Miller and Dr Matthew Hindson, Transmission pairs artist and musicians in collaborate to stretch the boundaries of their individual practise. What cultivates are works that touch multiple sense of audience’s collective experience in space, which is a nice link to the exhibition’s play on identity of both the individual and the group.
With the building-filling works conceived primarily for exhibition in the Campbelltown Art Centre, no single piece can be read as isolated or individual. When entering the gallery space you are immediately confronted with the sounds of every piece reverberating off the gallery walls. The sounds are omnipresent in their interventions, they are never separate from the visual artwork; there is no clearly defined border.
Whilst in navigating, it is true that sounds and specific works take dominance; one is never able to fully escape all of the galleries other activity. Thus, in the experience of individual works it is how the artwork exists in space that we, the viewers, are allowed insights into different sides of the collective.
Be it to add scale or to draw intimacy, the visual works of Transmission make you aware of space and how it is inhabited. Cunningham and Allkins’ ‘Boytown’ as well as Nell and Machines’s ‘Quiet/Loud’ both reside in the galleries largest room, projected onto a double story high wall. Taking turns, the first video detail a young boys struggling with his sexuality in the city and the suburbs, while the latter presents two women, one a luminous woman in prayer while another the other is strumming at her guitar. Both works present individuals adopting identities transcening the confines of their presumed gender, sexual and spiritual roles. Reflecting and confronting the identity expectations of the suburban demographic of the city, and those similar to the one the Campbelltown Art Centre resides.
However, a work that not only reflects the attitudes of Western suburbs cities, but exists as fully rooted in it is Archie Moore and Stiff Gins’ ‘C#sus’. Displayed in a corner room of the gallery ‘C#sus’ is hiding in a corner – hidden.
An amalgamation of found objects sourced from around Campbelltown, the items have been constructed to appear as a figure facing the wall with headphones on. Undoubtedly familiar in the material sourcing approach of HA Schults’ ‘Trash People’, ‘C#sus’ differs in its confusion of cultural identity, rather than accepting the breaking down of definitions.
Wearing Ugg boots, Native American dress-up clothes and Hawaiian leis, the figure is a hodgepodge of different cultures, with no clear identification. Most confronting however is the facemask of the figure; it has exaggerated lips with big eyes and painted half brown and the other pink.
The work is a continuation of Moore’s exploration into the constructs of the colonisation of the Aboriginal experience in Australia. The work’s relation to space expresses the need to actively engage. The music coming from this work is only what is heard from the headphones. In attempting to hear the music one must intimately crowd the work. In crowding the disparate nature of identity is highlighted.
Sounds come to connect everything. They make you aware that while in the collective there are multiple side and ideas. That in the collective there are many ideas and notions of identify.
Transmission, Group Exhibition, Campbelltown Art Centre, Campbelltown, 8 June – 5 August 2012.
Words by Luke Letourneau