‘Figment’ @ e.g.etal

22 03 2010

Since first reading about the ‘Figment‘ exhibition, I have been looking forward to seeing how the e.g.etal store will look: “… our showroom will be transformed by a bespoke installation into a vibrant mythical landscape.  The intention of the installation is to imbue the space with a sense of whimsy and playfulness while allowing a direct connection with the individual works on display.” (from e.g.etal website)

The image in the previous post shows the overall visual effect of the installation, but it’s quite different to see a photograph of it to the experience of actually being in the midst of it.

installation; photograph taken with gallery permission

Strangely, when I first read about the ‘immersive landscape‘ intended for this exhibition, I had in my mind developed a vision of a lush green densely-foliaged forest, complex and with limited ability to see the whole room at once – which upon reflection may be because most of my ideas fable or myth seem to be set in a forest (something to pursue and elucidate later). So when I walked into the space as it has been created, it was quite a different setting to that I had created in my mind – which in itself is an interesting experience, the mind-shift from what is imagined to what is reality. On initially entering the space I was struck by there being no soft or organic surfaces, in contrast to what I had conjured up.

installation; photograph taken with gallery permission

The atmosphere created is almost hallucinogenic – one somewhat feels like Alice in Wonderland, entering a space where the roof is lower and you feel larger than you would in an ordinary room, or any gallery space (which usually have high ceilings). The projected lights create another worldly experience, and dodging the lights accidentally getting in your eyes makes you more conscious of how your body moves through the space and aware of where you are in relation to the work.

The jewellery sits on transparencies of drawings the artists made which working on the project – so you see the finished object and also see part of the journey to make them. These drawings bring colour to the space, and create the web of wonder on the walls. Of the exhibitions I’ve seen in the last year or more, this one is one of the best (if not the best) in terms of imaginative design and committment in executing the idea.

installation; photograph taken with gallery permission

The jewellery here is outstanding! Participating artists are (by surname):

  • Katherine Bowman; “inspired by the myth of Icarus … draws on James Reeves’ engaging 1969 text entitled ‘Gods & Voyagers, Legends of Ancient Greece’” (exhibition text); these pieces are my favourite in the show, they’re gorgeous (the round pendants in the first two images above); Katherine has some amazing images of these on her own blog, and she generously shares her process, from drawing to making; I would dearly love to take one of these home (especially Invention ‘Daedalus’)!
  • Michaela Bruton ‘The Sun is Sad and it’s Crying‘; “drawing from the notion of ‘animism’ – a vibrant view of creation that conveys an instinctual respect for the earth” (exhibition text); I’ve written before about Michaela’s work, and the fine soldering and patience to create her pieces [see stories: Siemens, Fresh!, Cornucopia, Legs]
  • Anna Davern; “the tale of “Little Suck-a-Thumb” within the well-known German children’s book Der Struwwelpeter by Heinrich Hoffmann permeated the nightmares of a young Anna Davern” (exhibition text); I didn’t read this until after I saw the work, but I can now place the menace of the imagery in these works and certainly can understand the bad dreams; they’re not ugly or evil by any means, but you know that kind of wierd place some childhood stories reside, between fantasy and horror … and the on-the-surface-placid images that have an undercurrent of nasty lurking; see Anna’s blog for photographs of some of her pieces
  • Natalia Milosz-Peikarska; “recalls childhood hours lost in a world of magic and witchcraft” (exhibition text); the colours Natalia uses are quite lovely; she has more images of her work and opening night on her blog too (I love that so many makers are blogging!)
  • Jessica Morrison ‘Day Dream‘; “still looking out the window and daydreaming” (exhibition text); in pieces unlike any I’ve seen before from Jess, she is exhibiting gorgeous stained-glass pieces in blues, reds and orange; I think these are plique-a-jour, which is just incredible for the scale (having done only a little of this technique before, I can only imagine the amount of time these took); I think there’s a lovely connection between the technique (which translates to ‘open to light’) and the imagery of the work; see more of Jessica’s work on her blog, Studio Ingot and e.g.etal website
  • Karla Way; “evokes resonant memories of an imagined childhood character – a mythical lizard traversing the wide, dusty grey landscape of remote Western Australia” (exhibition text); I particularly liked her necklace combining soft grey perspex and a strong pink agate, which she shows on her blog
  • Katherine Wheeler ‘Deciphered Landscapes‘;”evokes notions of timelessness, adventure and the wandering spirit of a holiday’s endless days” (exhibition text); Katherine must have been busy the last few months, with making for this and her own solo exhibition currently on a Hand Held Gallery! (see my previous story on her exhibition, and artist profile, for images of her work); also see her blog for more photographs of the exhibition and of the opening night

installation; photograph taken with gallery permission

So much effort has been expended for this exhibition, by the artists and curators and gallery staff (and carpenters!); and it’s truly a wonderful experience.

Figment‘ is at e.g.etal until 31st March 2010.

Update (24th March): check out more photos on e.g.etal’s blog; and also in pretty exciting news, some of the text in the above story has been quoted (with permission) in the latest e.g.etal newsletter (flattering indeed!).

Update (27th March): Katherine Wheeler has shared some images of her drawings and the work she provided for this exhibition on her blog.


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3 responses

22 03 2010
vettiliveinnorthcote

hi Karen – I loved the projections and the whole Figment experience! Particular favourites were Katherine Bowman’s Icarus collection, Natalia Milosz-Piekarska’s bricoleur amulets, and Katherine Wheeler’s Deciphered Landscapes.

23 03 2010
Catherine

Hi Karen

What struck me first about this exhibition was the innovative use of an old technology. Don’t throw those projectors away, recycle them!

Cheers – Catherine
(Mark Holsworth’s wife)

24 03 2010
Last Week « Melbourne Art & Culture Critic

[...] On Saturday afternoon Federation Square was crowded with young women on Saturday attracted by the free catwalk shows, DJs, hip-hop dancers and other features of this fashion fairground, it was still more of the L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival. (See my other entry on exhibitions in the festival) Catherine and I are still looking at fashion festival associated exhibitions. E.G. Etal had a good exhibition, Figment, curated magnificently by Fleur Watson. The jewellery was displayed on old overhead projectors. You could look at the piece back-lit on the projector or look at its shadow projected on the wall. (See Melbourne Jeweller’s review of this exhibition.) [...]

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