Leah Heiss ‘Levitas’@ fortyfive downstairs

1 04 2009

Again, I’ve managed to visit an exhibition on one of it’s last day. Not a habit I intend to continue, but March was so full of many things to do.

The exhibition media states: “In Levitas, Leah Heiss explores human connectivity through jewellery developed from materials engineered at the nanoscale. The intimate scale objects exhibited in Levitas feature fluids that are responsive to magnetic energy and alloys with shape-changing properties, as well as therapeutic jewellery designed to administer insulin or purify drinking water.

I popped in to fortyfive downstairs in my lunch time and left feeling unfulfilled. There was no literature that I could see at the gallery; though the photographs and film that accompanied the objects were informative and helped to place them. I later learnt more from Leah’s website and blog; though I wished I could have read more while in the presence of the pieces.

The below image is from the exhibition media (I didn’t take photographs), and is from the Polarise series.

image from exhibition medai; image: Narelle Sheean

from exhibition media; image: Narelle Sheean (link no longer valid)

Exhibited were pieces from her ‘Polarise’, ‘Shape Change Jewellery’, ‘Diabetes’, and ‘Arsenic’ series (though I think there was another that I cannot remember at the moment). The first series were glass objects with liquid that responded to magnetic fields, generated I think within the plinth they stood on. The second series were wearable pieces made from material that changed with body heat; sitting on the cold plinth they seemed to be waiting for touch to animate them again. The last two series are medically inspired.

One thing that distracted me was that it seemed some of the silver pieces (‘Insulin’ and ‘Arsenic’) had been handled without gloves, as there were fingerprints that were starting to discolour. This detracted from their minimalism and clinical presence, and took the pieces out of the ‘medical’ and sanitised place they seemed to want to evoke and brought them back in the human world.

This show was also briefly, but fairly, reviewed here.

Levitas‘ was at fortyfive downstairs 11th – 21st March 2009.


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