In Love for the Mood

28 February – 5 April

Adelaide//International

Singaporean artist Ming Wong works through the visual styles and tropes of iconic films and performances. Through a retelling and reinterpretation of world cinema classics—where the artist deliberately ‘miscasts’ himself and others, often playing multiple roles in a foreign language—, Wong explores gender, representation, culture and identity, considering the means through which motion pictures construct subjectivity and geographic location.

Commissioned for the Singapore Pavilion at the 53rd Venice Biennale—and presented in Adelaide as an immense three-screen projection—In Love for the Mood is a restaging of Hong Kong auteur Wong Kar-wai’s iconic film In the Mood for Love (2000). Wong substitutes a Caucasian actress for the roles of both Chow Mo-wan and Su Li-zhen, a man and woman whose respective spouses are cheating on them. The actress in Wong’s production is not a native speaker of Cantonese, and recites the lines with difficulty—bordering on exasperation at times—even though the artist prompts her in fluent Cantonese off-screen. In Love for the Mood enacts a performance about identity, while Wong’s deliberate miscasting of the female lead elevates the film’s exploration of the frailty of the human heart to a universal condition encountered by all, regardless of race or language.

Image: Ming Wong, In Love for the Mood, photo by Sam Noonan.

Beyonce is a Port Supporter

13 May – 31 May

Artist: Carly Snoswell

'Beyoncé is a Port Supporter' compiles a body of selected works created during a Masters by Research project. Through immersive, creative fan practices, this research examines how craft making can be a method of releasing the obsessive motivation that arises through continual, prolific engagement in fan communities and hobby crafts. The resulting artefacts have been developed through a process of immersion into the artist’s own subjects of fandom, including but not limited to Beyoncé, The Simpsons and the Port Adelaide Football Club. Through the making of devotional artefacts, fannish affinities become heightened, merging to create a specific personal amalgamation of fandom, and a deeper understanding of belonging.

Craft making and devotional fan communities have typically been dismissed by outsiders, labelled as self-indulgent with participants sometimes regarding their activities as ‘guilty pleasures’, best kept to themselves or as requiring justification. This research will unravel this condition: to validate the repetitive and obsessive practices that develop through involvement in pop culture and hobby crafts and challenge these notions of superficiality and inferiority that persistently adhere to them. The body of work behind 'Beyoncé is a Port Supporter' provides a collection of devotional, excessive artefacts, which invite the audience to contemplate their own fanatical affinities, in order to highlight the importance of these communities in promoting social inclusion and helping to develop a greater sense of belonging and self.

Image: Carly Snoswell, One Plus One (detail). Photograph by Steph Fuller.

Agents of Incongruity

18 June – 5 July

Artist: Tom Moore

This exhibition is the result of practice-led research utilising specialised glass making techniques to produce objects exploring the themes of nonsense, monsters, wonder and dread. The objects are intended to celebrate innovative and joyful uses of blown glass and invigorate contemporary practice by adopting novel technical and thematic influences to expand the communicative potential of this material.

This research proposes that glass is imbued with unique associations that may be particularly appropriate for responding to the troubled terrain of the Anthropocene. Glass making is considered as a process for creating value, through the skillful transformation of natural recourses, culminating in luxury objects utilising finely detailed decorative effects. Atmospheric pollution generated in the course of the research has been calculated and generously offset, in an attempt to reconcile the personal dilemma of continuing to practice a pyrotechnic craft in an age of rapid global warming.

Translation of unconventional drawings into glass has been explored as a strategy for generating surprising objects that playfully upset conventions of representation and perception through odd proportions and eccentric compositions.

The research has been influenced by imagery portraying humans acting or appearing like animals, suggesting fellowship and parity. This theme is explored through glass objects that blur and combine animal, human and plant characteristics and behaviours.

The incongruity theory of humour and its role in generating pleasurable cognitive shifts is central to the aim of studio practices, leading to the use of absurdity in an effort to confound and energise conventions of craft making and display.

Image: Tom Moore, Birds and Blocks, photo by Steve Wilson.

 

Encounter and Obligation

19 July  – 7 August

Artist: Daniel Connell

This summary exhibition was the result of practice-led research into portraiture as a contemporary art practice. It traced the progress of portraits moving off the wall and into the socially-engaged sphere by looking at the internal mechanisms of a portrait and extrapolating. Portraiture has a colonial heritage in capturing and fixing an other identity, and this needs to be challenged because identity is also both fluid and reflexive.

These multiple bodies of work seek an alternative model for representation. Can representation be necessary and needed? Can it be advocacy? Can it force a stance in solidarity, be a space of hospitality and question the self and narcissism that is too often at the core of identity politics?

The representation in these portraits talks of opportunities for partnership, aware of associated awkwardness and imbalance, but aiming to break down the toxicity of a multiculturalism which has become a landscape of sealed silos. This work emanates from India and Australia – featuring recent migrant communities and relationships across many countries.

This exhibition included a free weekly cover letter and CV writing workshop for new migrants with SAPNAM (South Australian Professional Networking Association for Migrants).

Image: Mor and Mornee (charcoal on wall) and Aunty, Gawaddi Village, Punjab, 2014.

I-CONIC Australian Design

5 - 19 September

I-CONIC Australian Design celebrated award winning and innovative Australian industrial design and featured iconic designs from the 1880s to the present day. Over 50 products designed in Australia including the Wiltshire Staysharp knife, Décor BYO wine cooler, Eveready Dolphin torch, Rosebank Stack Hat, and the Britax baby capsule were be on display.

In Australia, some innovations were the result of our unique climate and lifestyle, like the Esky, but others like the Britax baby capsule and the Kambrook powerboard celebrate the capacity of our industrial design profession to bring a world first innovation to a global market.

Curated by Monash University Senior Lecturer in Industrial Design Ian Wong. I-CONIC Australian Design was first presented at Monash University in March 2019 with support from the Design Institute of Australia.

Image: I-CONIC Australian Design, installation view, photo by Jack Fenby.

Agents of Incongruity

18 June – 5 July

Artist: Tom Moore

This exhibition is the result of practice-led research utilising specialised glass making techniques to produce objects exploring the themes of nonsense, monsters, wonder and dread. The objects are intended to celebrate innovative and joyful uses of blown glass and invigorate contemporary practice by adopting novel technical and thematic influences to expand the communicative potential of this material.

This research proposes that glass is imbued with unique associations that may be particularly appropriate for responding to the troubled terrain of the Anthropocene. Glass making is considered as a process for creating value, through the skillful transformation of natural recourses, culminating in luxury objects utilising finely detailed decorative effects. Atmospheric pollution generated in the course of the research has been calculated and generously offset, in an attempt to reconcile the personal dilemma of continuing to practice a pyrotechnic craft in an age of rapid global warming.

Translation of unconventional drawings into glass has been explored as a strategy for generating surprising objects that playfully upset conventions of representation and perception through odd proportions and eccentric compositions.

The research has been influenced by imagery portraying humans acting or appearing like animals, suggesting fellowship and parity. This theme is explored through glass objects that blur and combine animal, human and plant characteristics and behaviours.

The incongruity theory of humour and its role in generating pleasurable cognitive shifts is central to the aim of studio practices, leading to the use of absurdity in an effort to confound and energise conventions of craft making and display.

Image: Tom Moore, Birds and Blocks, photo by Steve Wilson.

 

Ngalya Together

9 - 27 October 

Ngalya Together was an exhibition of collaborative lighting designs involving designers Koskela and artists at six Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art centres. The exhibition highlighted contemporary transformations taking place in Indigenous fibre arts and cultures across Australia. Ngalya is the word for ‘both’ in the Dharug language from the Sydney region, and this term has been interpreted and translated in different ways by the ten languages represented by the participating artists.

The exhibition celebrated and expanded on the spirit of collaboration and knowledge exchange that began a decade ago for Koskela, when it first worked with and learned from the weavers of Elcho Island Arts during the development of new illuminated woven forms for the 2010 exhibition Yuta Badayala (In a New Light). Ngalya sought to physically and conceptually to illuminate these profound works and the cultures from which they come.

Image: Installation view, Ngalya Together, 2019. Koskela for Tarnanthi, SASA Gallery.