Adam Cruickshank ‘Reverse Cargo’ @ Craft Vic

1 02 2010

My friend invited me to join her visiting this exhibition at Craft Victoria. Exhibition media states: “Using techniques of sculptural assemblage and repetitive craft-based processes, Adam Cruickshank takes standardized objects produced from automated systems and reworks them into one-off totems or charms.

I had that very morning been discussing the modern ‘charm’ and its disconnection from the original intent of talismans and ornaments worn on the body … it is so interesting that a single one idea can pop up unexpectedly in many places at the one time.

photograph taken with gallery permission

The key piece in the above image is the ‘Ikea Headdress‘ (left), with the ‘Various Attachments for Ikea Head Dress‘ on the wall. You’ve probably read about this work, as it has been in the press recently. The headress is made from pencils from Ikea, and the attachments from mass-produced components like highly-coloured plastic key rings, bottle-tops, hardware chains, etc.

I don’t quite know what I think of this group. I think I understood the artist’s intent, and I wanted to see and feel more in it, but perhaps I couldn’t see past the materials. I felt somewhat alienated when I was standing in the room; I was missing the ‘heart’ or personal in the pieces… maybe that was expected or being deliberately elicited?

A piece I very much liked was on the stool on the right in the above image, ‘Information Fabricator‘; more detail in the image below. It’s a little computer unit that has been carved and highlighted with gold-coloured paint or ink. I like how the size and design references old tooled leather book-binding, the sort that would not be out of place on an old bible or a similarly ‘precious’ book …

photograph taken with gallery permission

Exhibition media states further: “Reverse Cargo employs concepts of ‘sympathetic magic’ much like the techniques of various Papua New Guinean tribes, albeit via a reversed, backward exchange. Unlike the work of many cargo cults throughout the history of the Oceania region, which adapted highly evolved craft practices to replicate the trappings of modern technology and western lifestyle, this new body of work inverts these processes to forcibly apply the magical to the mass-produced. This reversal (making the new ancient rather than the ancient contemporary) is oppositional, but by no means antithetical.

There were two other pieces in the group, one made from Ikea paper measuring tape, and plaited electrical cords.

Adam Cruickshank ‘Reverse Cargo‘ is at Craft Victoria until 6th March 2010.

Update (4th February): the Craft Vic blog [post] has challenged us to guess how many pencils are used in the headdress…


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