Antoinette J. Citizen
This year's Queensland emerging-artists show features work by Sean Barrett, Antoinette J. Citizen, Yavuz Erkan, and David Nixon. The artists were selected by IMA Director Robert Leonard.
Sean Barrett started off studying commercial studio photography, but jumped ship to 'art' photography. Commercial photography compels us to buy, believe, and behave, and, in his art, Barrett explores and exploits its technical and aesthetic arsenal. In his installation The Gathering, Barrett's beautifully shot and photoshopped portraits, still lifes, and abstractions remain puzzling. They seem out of context, missing the product or point that would normally provide their raison d'etre. The images aren't hung conventionally, but lean against walls or lie on the floor (and on one another) with a contrived sense of abandon. As much as they initially appear efficient, lucid, and pointed, Barrett's deranged images are just the opposite.
Antoinette J. Citizen is thinking about the future. Inspired by the idea that the world will end in 2012 (the end of the Mayan calendar), she programs Google Calendar to rapidly scroll forward, month by month, hoping to find its limit—a new unanticipated end time. By contrast, she slows down the 1960 movie The Time Machine, presenting it as if it had started playing when it was first set (the year 1899) and would only finish in the distant future it imagines (the year 802,701). For Project Alpha, she mocked up a letter from ASIO to Peter Alwast, inviting the Brisbane artist to join the elite who will continue the species in the event of a future cataclysm. Finally, with Courtney Coombs, Citizen harassed the curators of the hip Paris art museum, the Palais de Tokyo, sending them a new proposal every fortnight, until asked to cease and desist. Optimistically, the duo proposed multiple future works that would not take place.
For his Unorthodox Aphorisms, Yavuz Erkan photographed himself enjoying odd sensual experiences: he holds a handful of jelly, sugar is spread across his back, he wears a bra cup across his face as a breathing mask, he looks down the front of his pants, he blows a giant bubblegum bubble. Erkan leads by example; his brightly lit studies in polymorphous perversity instruct us in possibilities for our own pleasure. He explains: 'I invite the viewers to distance themselves from their conventional routines. These photographs are visual aphorisms targeted at the conformism of individuals who live what is considered a normal life.'
David Nixon creates abstractions from banal everyday things. In his video Immanence, white specks swill about against a black background, recalling Len Lye's classic experimental film Particles in Space. The specks suggest snowflakes, the 'snow' of analogue TV static, and swarming fireflies. In fact, they are polystyrene bean-bag 'beans' flying through the air. This visual is accompanied by a haunting soundtrack featuring children's playground chatter, encouraging us to imagine that the luminous specks are alive. Alongside the video, Nixon's sublime abstract photographs turn out to be images of fluttering, torn plastic bags.