Gavin Hipkins

Gavin Hipkins

The Field (Part 2)

10 April–26 May 200710 Apr–26 May 2007

In his one-take video, The Field (Part 2), a camera, with a torch strapped to its underbelly, Gavin Hipkins attempts to negotiate a field of hundreds of suspended coloured balls. Gavin Hipkins’ camera navigates through the darkness prodding and probing the balls. Objects appear in the background, including a ladder, camera tripod, blackout curtain, and other studio props. With its amateurish night cinematography, the video suggests a growing sense of desperation, awakened panic, frustration, and sensory confusion. Viewers may recall fitful scenes from The Blair Witch Project.

The Wellington-based artist explains: ‘I was revisiting elements from my multipart photogram work The Fieldproduced a decade earlier. These included references to galactic travel (The Field resembled a starry field and a technological grid), and the surrealist ocular phallicism Rosalind Krauss explored in The Optical Unconscious. She quotes Maurice Nadeau on Alberto Giacometti’s Suspended Ball: “Everyone who saw this object functioning experienced a strong but indefinable sexual emotion related to unconscious desires. This emotion was in no sense one of satisfaction, but one of disturbance, like that imparted by the irritating awareness of failure.” I have attempt to activate just such a condition of failure and erotic charge. The (hidden) lens in its phallic glory probes and toys with the suspended balls in a sexually charged (and at times) aggressive manner. A rhythmical rimming and swaying occurs as polystyrene balls spill around and around the lens hood; as it were in a prolonged tease.’

The Institute of Modern Art acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land upon which the IMA now stands, the Jagera, Yuggera, Yugarapul, and Turrbal people. We offer our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the first artists of this country. In the spirit of allyship, the IMA will continue to work with First Nations people to celebrate, support, and present their immense past, present, and future contribution to artistic practice and cultural expression.