CICADA-SeeSaw-Banner-970x90-1.jpg
Reviews/Perth Festival/Visual Art

Film fascinates

14 March 2019

Perth Festival review: Felicity Fenner (curator), Love Displaced ·
Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery ·
Review by Jess Boyce ·

Curated by Felicity Fenner, Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery’s Perth Festival exhibition “Love, Displaced” seeks connection and intimacy in the 21st Century. The all-video exhibition features the work of Jacobus Capone, Richard Lewer (NZ), Tracey Moffatt and Gary Hillberg, Christian Thompson, AES+F (Russia), Jeremy Deller and Cecilia Bengolea (UK, Argentina/France) and Roee Rosen (Israel).

Singing of brotherly love, Christian Thompson stars in his 2014 work Refuge. Alone on a white screen, the artist’s voice is accompanied by a piano as he stares down the camera in an intimate interaction between artist and viewer. Though sung without translation in his native Bidjara language, the commanding ballad powerfully conveys the emotion of the words.

A close up of a man playing the piano accordion
Jacobus Capone, ‘Volta’ (still), 2016, 2-5 channel video, duration: 53 minutes. Courtesy of the Artist. Commissioned by the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art for NEW16.

Jacobus Capone’s Volta documents his father’s attempt to relearn the piano accordion, an instrument he had not touched since the onset of severe depression that caused him to be psychologically absent from Capone’s life for a number of years. The highly personal film follows an emotional reconnection, not only with a much-loved musical instrument but also with his son. Intimately cropped to accentuate Capone’s father’s body language, the work is installed on two floating screens, allowing viewers to walk amongst the work. Disappointingly, three further channels, documenting other members of Capone’s family watching his father’s performance, were not presented in this iteration.

Like the work of Capone and Thompson, The Dust Channel by Roee Rosen uses music as a narrative device, yet in contrast to the tender insights of the former two works, the strength of this surreal operatic ode to a Dyson vacuum cleaner is in its absurdity. The Dust Channel fetishises the need for cleanliness, whilst reflecting on cultural prejudice, the refugee crisis in Europe, and the plight of Palestine.

Tracey Moffat and Gary Hillberg’s fast paced and erotically charged montage video Other traces interracial encounters in film whilst critiquing the white gaze and the exoticisation of the “other” in pop culture. Beginning with moments depicting first contact between white explorers and local inhabitants, the dynamic film gradually builds to a climax, featuring energetic dance scenes and fevered sexual encounters.

Jeremy Deller and Cecilia Bengolea’s work Bom Bom’s Dream is, curiously, the only work to be displayed on a television rather than projected. Situated in the same room as the work of Moffat and Hillberg, the two dance heavy videos compete for attention. With its bigger screen and out-loud sound, Moffat and Hillberg’s work diminishes the impression of Bom Bom’s Dream.

Inverso Mundus by AES+F presents a hyper-reality in which humans and mythical creatures co-exist and the world is turned upside down; the rich are thrown to the street, pigs murder butchers, and street cleaners litter the cities with waste. The surreal video displaces traditional power balances and social dynamics.

A line drawing of an elderly Indigenous woman leaning on a walking stick
Richard Lewer, ‘Mavis’ still and detail from Never shall be forgotten – a mother’s story, 2017, hand-drawn animation, 5:04 minutes. Courtesy of the artist, Sullivan+Strumpf and Hugo Michell Gallery. © the artist.

In contrast to AES+F’s highly produced and polished animation style, Richard Lewer’s hand drawn imagery and use of an overhead projector as an animation tool allows the viewer to witness the artist’s touch. This insight into the artistic process helps to facilitate a compassionate connection to the narrators of the two stories Never shall be forgotten – a mother’s story and Worse Luck I’m Still Here as they explore the devastating loss of their loved ones.

“Love, Displaced” is a lengthy exhibition. To watch each work in its entirety takes two hours, twenty seven minutes and 33 seconds. Challenging our ever-decreasing attention spans, the exhibition tackles another difficult task: creating genuine connection with an audience through screen-based works whilst also navigating practical issues of sound bleed.

Though these logistical hurdles are met with mixed success, the exhibition is empathetic to the displaced, the marginalised, the downtrodden and the grieving, and looks to ways to reframe connection through community, storytelling, art, song and dance. With an exemplary selection of artists, each work alone is worth a visit.

Catch “Love, Displaced” at Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery until May 18.

Pictured top: AES+F, “Inverso Mundus”, Still #1-18, 2015, pigment InkJet print on FineArt Baryta paper, 32×57.5 cm (12.5×22.7 in), edition of 10. Image courtesy of AES+F and Anna Schwartz Gallery.

Like what you're reading? Support Seesaw.

Author —
Jess Boyce

Jess Boyce is an artist and curator with a passion for the promotion of Perth arts. Jess has worked in a range of community, commercial and artist run spaces across Perth and co-founded Cool Change Contemporary in 2018. She has joyful playground memories of the wombat shaped spring rockers.

Past Articles

Read Next

  • Kiki Saito and Matthew Lehmann in Nils Christe's Before Nightfall. Photo by Bradbury Photography copy Two West Australian ballet dancers on stage - a woman is perched on one pointe, her other leg extended upwards in a split. She arches back, supported by a male dancer. Hitting high notes at 70
    Reviews

    Hitting high notes at 70

    25 June 2022

    Traversing a range of human emotion, West Australian Ballet’s latest triple bill is an evening of beautifully performed contemporary dance, reports Kim Balfour.

    Reading time • 6 minutesDance
  • Cabaret festival. A singer wearing a fur hat is on stage with a pianist, guitarist and drummer. We can see the dress circle seats of the theatre in the background lit in a greenish light. Tributes to musical idols light up stage
    Reviews

    Tributes to musical idols light up stage

    23 June 2022

    A cabaret veteran and opera performer bring very different interpretations of the greats of classical, jazz and pop in the second week of the Perth International Cabaret Festival, writes David Zampatti

    Reading time • 6 minutesCabaret
  • A semi circle of 8 singers, with one standing in the centre, facing an audience. They are in a large hall and there are cnadles, chairs and pot plants decorating the floor around them. Vanguards bring poetry to vocal music
    Reviews

    Vanguards bring poetry to vocal music

    20 June 2022

    Armchair poets become legends in their own lunchtimes in Vanguard Consort’s imaginative Saturday Night Poetry, writes Claire Coleman.

    Reading time • 5 minutesMusic

Cleaver Street Studio

Cleaver Street Studio

Cleaver Street Studio