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Minute actions and grand journeys

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Review: Jacobus Capone, “Passage” ·
Turner Galleries ·
Review by Jess Boyce ·

Local artist Jacobus Capone’s latest exhibition “Passage”, at Turner Galleries, presents a body of work produced over two years and three journeys between Tasmania and the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, during which the artist exchanged a single drop of water between the two locations.

The centre of the exhibition is a masterfully produced 26 minute, five channel video. The scene changes from grand white glaciers, rocky mountain faces and dark caves, to lush green bushland and flowing rivers. The artist is present in almost all of the scenes; his figure sometimes dwarfed by the grandness of the landscape, other times, a large presence in the vulnerable environment. A calm contemplation of the work is encouraged by the soundtrack; a slow rhythm of water drops and heartbeats.

Flanking the video on either side of the gallery is a series of paintings, light on one side, dark on the other. These studies of glacial scarring are unassuming when viewed from a distance, but closer inspection reveals that they are made up of a series of minute, delicate marks on paper, white on white or black on black. As well as the paintings there are two large inkjet prints on either side of the back wall, though these lack the crisp imagery of the video work.

Forest scene
Lush green bushland. Pictured: Jacobus Capone, video stills, Double Enigma.5 channel HD video.

The room is broken up into north and south (though not reflecting the gallery’s actual orientation) with the white paintings representing south and the black, north. The reasoning for the assigned colours is unclear but it echoes a recurring theme of oppositions – north and south, water and ice – while, conversely, interrupting the use of symmetry and reflection in the installation of the exhibition and the video work itself.

“Passage” mourns Tasmania’s once glaciated landscape – juxtaposing it with Svalbard’s current icy terrain – and reflects on the ever-changing state on the environment, the break in symmetry alluding, perhaps, to the fact that these now opposing landscapes weren’t always so different. The futility of trying to reconcile the two bodies of water also seems to reference current attempts to slow climate change.

Tiny, tender marks on paper represent millions of years of glacial movement and single drops of water traversing the globe. It’s these minute actions and grand journeys that are typical of Capone’s work.

“Passage” successfully encourages a consideration of one’s own place in the world whilst capturing the dramatic beauty of these two landscapes.

Jacobus Capone’s “Passage” is one of four solo shows by local artists at Turner Galleries until October 13. 

Pictured top: Jacobus Capone, video stills 8, Double Enigma.5 channel HD video.

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