8 – 10 November @ PS Art Space ·
Presented by Theatre by the Sea ·
Somnus is a radical enquiry into the nature of sleep, immersing audiences in the experiences of four sleepers as they cycle through the fear and ecstasy of REM and non-REM states. The pillared warehouse of PS Art Space will transform into an otherworld of kinetic still lives, nocturnal languages, poetry, and haunting music- scapes, where audiences roam between stages of sleep. What lights up in this panorama is our passionate search for meaning as we encounterour ‘nightself’. Conceived and written by Jennifer Kornberger, directed by Horst Kornberger, with music composed by Eva Jurgec, Somnus is a large-scale collaboration between some of Slovenia’s best performers and an outstanding ensemble of Australian artists.
Theatre of the Sea fuses multiple genres to produce installations and immersive events. Elements of site activation, theatre, ritual, live music, and poetry establish temporary sanctuaries where audiences participate in acts of transformation.
1 – 3 November @ Fremantle Esplanade Park ·
Presented by Studio Roosegarde ·
An Australian premiere in Fremantle, Studio Roosegaarde will present a large-scale light installation illustrating the universal power and poetry of water. ‘WATERLICHT’ is larger-than-life; cascading waves of blue light will soar in the middle of Esplanade Park, simulating a virtual flood and calling attention to rising water levels along Fremantle’s shoreline. The work will embrace the unique physical features of the site while acknowledging its past. A soundscape will accompany the work, including local stories about Fremantle’s waterfront by traditional custodians, prominent civic figures, historians, artists and community members. These stories will live on as an enduring legacy of the work’s appearance in Fremantle, and serve as a stirring call-to-action for a city-wide conversation around clean water initiatives and climate change.
10 May @ The Lobby, Swanbourne ·
Presented by The Lobby ·
Penumbra II is the second iteration of a collaborative body of work between Bina Butcher and Tessa Beale.
The work focuses on contemplating what is frequently overlooked in the natural world. The installation exposes textures, colours and forms that highlight detail and offer new perspectives on conventional ways of seeing components of the landscape. These responses range from drawing, sculpture, sound, film, print and photography to documented interventions in the environment. This forms the basis of an installation that aims to create the conditions for slower, quieter consideration of our surroundings and our place in the natural world.
Friday 10th May 2019, 6:30pm – 8:30pm
The Lobby, | 11a Rob Roy Street, Swanbourne, 0410 461 622
RSVP is essential | Thursday 9th May
Review: ARTTRA Light Festival ·
Claremont Park, 5-7 April ·
By Belinda Hermawan ·
Returning for its second year, the ARTTRA Light Festival showcased 16 original light installations in a family-friendly outdoor setting, after dark. Having attended last year’s spectacular debut, I was looking forward to another display of innovative, one-of-a-kind artworks.
Amongst the highlights of this year’s Festival was Roly Skender’s Flywire film, which was expertly projected on a screen installed between two trees. The mesmerising projection used shifting geometric shapes and lines to create movement in the night sky.
Another favourite was Combs VJ’s box installation, which also made use of monochromatic audio-visuals, with the encased pyramid and mirrored sides creating an eye-catching effect, all set to perfectly timed beats. Also well-engineered was Naz Sumadi’s playful, origami-inspired Mechanical Morph, an ever-transforming pinwheel.
Both interactive and highbrow, Wilma van Boxtel’s Love Seat was more than a park bench. Her illumination recreated the red velvet seats of a theatre and encouraged community members to take a moment to sit and enjoy art together. Also using the park space to advantage were the three rock-like pillars of Sean Adamas’s colour-changing Crystallines (pictured top), Glenda Dixon’s Coloured Clouds that lined tree canopies with wool felt lamps, and ARTTRA Prize winner Per Aspera ad Astra by Amy Perejuan-Capone, the shimmering gold geodesic dome evoking a playground atmosphere.
Strolling through the grounds of Claremont Park, I was struck by how much families were enjoying themselves amongst the art. Children were actively engaging with pieces, running in and out of spaces, asking questions, playing games, taking photos, and watching moving images intently. Participants could play a Tetris-inspired video game by stepping on a control-board, walk in front of an animation playing on a theatre-sized screen, or pose for portraits with rainbows. Paired with a program of live entertainment, craft activities and food trucks, the festival atmosphere this year felt more palpable and inviting.
It was, perhaps, fitting that the work I came across first, and came back to again out of continued curiosity, was Joanna Sulkowski’s clever yet ambiguous neon banner Not What You Expected. We bring our own expectations to events, and there seemed to be a shift in focus from last year’s event. If the objective of this year’s festival was to raise the interactivity level to make the event more accessible for families – particularly those with primary school-aged children – then it was undeniably a success.
The trade-off, however, was a variation in production quality and consistency of theme between pieces. I felt there were two exhibitions this year: a collection of ground-breaking art-works worthy of a professional gallery, interspersed with what appeared to be a lower-budget set, for child’s play. I found, too, that the presence of promotional material interfered with the experience, with one installation risking the appearance of a market stall.
That said, the Town of Claremont has set an excellent example of what local governments can do to actively promote arts and culture amongst all ages. Harking back to childhood memories of glow-in-the-dark stickers and recreational star-gazing, ARTTRA Light Festival celebrates the sense of awe that comes with illumination and discovery. Fittingly, the installation that best encapsulated this spirit of wonder was that of Freshwater Bay Primary School’s entry: a spectacular field of papier mâché mushrooms of all sizes, glowing iridescently through silhouettes of fairy tales. It was pleasing to see this generation producing art as well as consuming it – the future is indeed bright.
With a focus on the creative and community-building possibilities of collaboration, and a strong commitment towards leaping into the unknown, project curator Andrew Nicholls gave Miranda Johnson some insights into the background of the project and what to expect when the installation is opened to the public at Revealed: WA Aboriginal Art Market, Saturday 13 April.
Miranda Johnson: How did the relationship between Polyglot, Tjanpi Desert Weavers and FORM originally come about? Andrew Nicholls: FORM has worked with Tjanpi on numerous exhibition projects over the past two decades we are huge admirers of their work in general, and well-aware of their artistic significance at a national level. Although we had not previously worked with Polyglot, they came to our attention a few years ago when we were looking to incorporate some more children-and-family-focused programming into what we do. It was actually my colleagues Amy Plant and Mollie Hewitt who first came up with the idea of bringing the two organisations together, as they recognised strong aesthetic similarities between the work made by both organisations. The three of us just had a gut feeling that there was the potential there for a really exciting collaboration.
I then approached each of the organisations (back in 2016) with an exceedingly vague invitation to collaborate, which was a bit daunting because at that stage we really didn’t have any clear idea what we were pitching! Luckily it turned out that Tjanpi had been thinking about exploring performance for some time and had just been waiting for the right project, and that Polyglot were huge fans of Tjanpi and also had been looking for a project that would allow them to collaborate with Aboriginal artists, so everything just fell into place. There’s been an extraordinary amount of serendipity and good luck as the work has come together over the past three years.
MJ: How were the project’s artists selected? AN: Tjanpi Desert Weavers engage artists from numerous communities spread across hundreds of thousands of kilometres of central Australia, so to make things manageable they suggested we work with four highly respected tjanpi artists from Warakurna, in remote Western Australia: Cynthia Burke, Dianne Ungukalpi Golding, Nancy Nanana Jackson, and Dallas Smythe.
Polyglot similarly recommended some of their most innovative performers, Justin Marshall, Justine Warner, and Tamara Rewse, with their phenomenally talented artistic director and co-CEO Sue Giles leading the development workshop sessions.
MJ: How has the collaborative process rolled out? AN: We held our first workshop at Polyglot’s premises in Melbourne in November 2016, to get to know each other and throw ideas around. Again, it was quite daunting for everyone because none of us had a clue what we were actually going to do together, or if a collaboration would even be possible. Thankfully everyone very quickly realised that we wanted to work together to make something really special. It has been an absolute joy to develop the work together, and to draw inspiration from such a talented and professional group of creatives.
The initial workshop was followed by a trip to Warakurna, where all of the non-Tjanpi artists were introduced to the Tjanpi artists’ Country. This was a transformative experience for everyone involved and allowed the artwork to really start to take shape. Further workshops followed in Perth and then in Warakurna again, and now in Fremantle during the lead-up to Revealed.
MJ: What are the similarities and differences that you noticed between each arts organisation’s artistic practices? AN: The project came about because everyone involved recognised similarities between what Tjanpi and Polyglot do. Both organisations make very sophisticated work from simple materials and techniques, and both of them have a joyously playful aesthetic and a highly mischievous sense of humour. In terms of the working methodology, the content of the project was primarily driven by the Tjanpi artists and how they wanted to share a sense of their Country, which was then shaped by the Polyglot team into something that would work as an experience for audiences. Throughout this process, FORM played the role of facilitator.
But the joy of tjanpi weaving is that the techniques are so easy to share, so within a couple of hours of meeting everyone at the first workshop in Melbourne we were all making tjanpi creatures that will be travelling across the country to be part of the work in Fremantle.
In terms of differences, Polyglot allows everything they do to be driven by input from children – kids are involved wherever possible throughout the development of their projects. This isn’t necessarily how the Tjanpi artists work, but children are always a strong presence in remote community life, so this felt like a very natural thing to incorporate into the process, and we worked with children in each of the workshop locations. The Tjanpi artists meanwhile are primarily inspired by culture and their connection to Country, and everyone got a taste of this in Warakurna. While non-Indigenous visitors to Warakurna are never going to have a comprehensive understanding of what this means, the creative team were given an extremely warm and generous introduction that really crystallised the project for everyone involved.
MJ: Can you tell me more about the interactive nature of the installation? AN: The installation is a space for children to explore at their own pace. The artists will all be present to guide this, but as with most of Polyglot’s work it is the participating children who will take control. They will get to climb over and explore the installation, discover tjanpi creatures hidden throughout the space, listen to the sounds of Warakurna, and sit inside the wiltja (a traditional shade structure) and learn how to create a tjanpi object of their own. We have tried to make it a work that children of almost any age, and all levels of physical ability, will be able to enjoy.
MJ: You’ve spoken about the wiltja as a literal safe space created from collaborative labour, which became central to the project. Tell me about this idea of a safe space, and what it can provide in terms of creativity… AN: Something that I think resonates with everyone who learns tjanpi weaving technique is how incredibly meditative and soothing it is to do – spending an hour or two in the company of those artists, hand-making something and sharing conversation simply makes you feel fantastic. I think the technique itself is a “safe space” and the wiltja was an organic extension of this. As an object in its own right it’s very clearly hand-made and it’s something you can sit inside, so it has a very cosy feel.
Everyone involved in “Manguri Wiltja” has had nothing but respect toward everyone else for the duration of the project, and this trust was able to build up over a solid length of time, which has given us all the confidence to work at our best and take a few creative risks with each other. That’s an incredibly rewarding space to be in as a creative. Ten days out from the world premiere we still don’t entirely know exactly what the experience of the final work will be, but we trust each other enough to know it’s going to be marvellous.
MJ: Do you see collaboration as central to cross-cultural learning and communication? Do you think this is something that would be beneficial to adults as well as children? AN: Absolutely. At FORM we always strive to try to achieve a level of collaboration in most projects we undertake with artists – we are passionate about placing artists in conversation with Western Australian communities and seeing what can happen as a result. However, co-creation is not something you can force. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. The great joy of “Manguri Wiltja” is how the various collaborators “clicked” almost immediately on our first day together in Melbourne. Given how vague the parameters of the project were to everyone initially, and how disparate the various creative practices and cultural influences were, it could easily have gone the other way.
We have always intended for “Manguri Wiltja” to be a work that children can experience with their parents (or other relatives) so we absolutely want people of all ages to share in the joyous spirit of the project and learn some more about life in remote Australia.
13 April @ Fremantle Arts Centre ·
Presented by FORM and Fremantle Arts Centre ·
During the Revealed Market, children and families are invited to enter Manguri Wiltja, an interactive play space made from intricate tjanpi woven forms, repurposed tyres and evocative sounds. A wiltja is a traditional shelter created here from woven circles, offering a tranquil space for contemplation. The installation draws upon the playful yet sophisticated aesthetics of both Tjanpi Desert Weavers and Polyglot Theatre and is designed to introduce children to the culture and Country of Warakurna.
FORM presents Manguri Wiltja at Revealed in a world premiere. The installation will tour nationally throughout 2019. For more information visit www.form.net.au
Review: Mulyana, “A Man, A Monster & the Sea” ·
FORM Claremont, Goods Shed ·
Review by Belinda Hermawan ·
In his first Western Australian residency, Indonesian installation artist Mulyana delights with a playful yet thought-provoking sea-themed installation “A Man, A Monster & the Sea”, at FORM’S Goods Shed exhibition space. Using yarn – a medium traditionally associated with accessories such as scarves, throws and blankets – Mulyana‘s soft and dynamic knitted and crocheted sculptures of reef, coral and marine creatures not only subvert our expectations but reference the threat that climate change poses to underwater worlds.
Mulyana’s grouped installations are ambitious in scale; each installation piece is its own standalone feature occupying the floor, wall or air-space. In combination with the intricate detailing that cleverly mimics coral, the works evoke a sense of wonder.
First, we encounter the safe world, where Mulyana’s alter-ego, a monster named Mogus, takes refuge. The colourful coral reef in Mogus World IV is teeming with life and vitality. It reaches, sprawls and cascades. Hung from the ceiling to “float”, the resulting movement of the schools of fish and jellyfish mimics the undulation of water. This exhibition is not a static experience; for children and adults alike, the installations invite exploration from different vantage points. Though touching the works is discouraged, there is an interactive family-friendly activity in the exhibition which encourages participants to use props to play and imagine.
Though the googly-eyed creatures of Mogus World (as Mulyana describes his imagined marine environment) are cute and cartoonish, the narrative of the exhibition is grounded in sobering reality; environmental disaster is not the stuff of fairy tales. As the Satu installation reminds us, coral turns white when it starts to die. The vivacity of Mogus World IV starkly contrasts the stretch of bleached jellyfish, whose tentacles dangle eerily towards the skeleton-like coral below. The fish are gone, the jellyfish are drifting away from the coral, leading to Si Hideung, who stands as a warrior evolution of Mogus. He is now on the defensive, in armour woven from a foreign material; plastic rope. The messages seem clear: it is plastic that is starves and destroys marine life.
The final installation, Kosong, is constructed in monochromatic dark tones. Mulyana explains that “while blackness may appear to be a symbol of emptiness, it also provides space in which to pause and begin a new journey”. So, though the word “kosong” means empty, the work speaks to renewal; the end of one cycle leads to another. This cyclical nature is depicted in the tilted ring of numerous black jellyfish suspended above the greyed coral like a halo askew. The effect is ethereal; highlighting, perhaps, the fragility of these precious and unique underwater environments.
Mulyana originally learnt how to knit and crochet at the Tobucil collective in Bandung. Now based in Yogyakarta – aka Jogja, a city well known for its contemporary art – his collaborative community-based projects see him training and working with a group of women known as Konco Mogus. He and his “Mogus family” work to co-create these vivid, intricate clusters of sea-life. It’s this spirit of connection that embodies how we should interact with each other and our surroundings if we’re to realise conservation efforts.
An exhibition for all ages, “A Man, A Monster & the Sea” is worth diving into.
Sitting at the intersection of art, design and academia, Penelope Forlano’s practice is diverse. With a portfolio that ranges from bespoke furniture to large scale sculptures in venues such as Perth Airport and various metropolitan secondary schools, this WA artist, designer and researcher evades simple definition.
With its multi-faceted surface, various angles and fragmented reflections, Forlano’s sculpture Counterpoints, Edition 1 of 3 has shades of its maker. Ahead of the work’s appearance at Sculpture by the Sea: Cottesloe, Nina Levy spoke to Forlano to find out what drives her multi-stranded work.
Nina Levy: Your practice spans three disciplines – how do you describe what you do? Penelope Forlano: My career has always been related to the designing the built environment and our experience within it, but my work started shifting more into the categories of sculpture and public art.
My job title has been a steady series of slight transitions as well. My art practice is grounded in this background and my PhD with took on anthropological perspective and methods to inform my creative works.
The academic experience has consolidated what I know from practice but also given me greater insights. I explore people’s engagement with the built environment and their experiences through design, which is academically referred to as design anthropology, but I think it just causes confusion outside (and sometimes inside) the academic world.
I’m interested in how our built environment shapes us and how we shape it. I see it as all part of the same work, but a job title to encapsulate the extent of it all is hard to pin down, so I tend to go with artist, designer and researcher. If anyone has better ideas for better job title, I’m all ears!
NL: Were you interested in the visual arts as a child? At what point did you decide to pursue a career in visual art/design? PF: I was always busy making something. I never stuck to one thing only. It was when my parents and teachers thought I was destined to be an accountant that I thought, I have to be more serious about art and prove I can succeed at something other than maths! I knew I loved creating and experimenting with ideas and ways of making things, but I wasn’t a natural illustrator. It was the three-dimensional arts that I was most interested in. Theatre set design, sculpture and places that felt like another world or change how you felt got me excited about spatial design and arts. So, I haven’t really moved on from that, now that I think of it in that way.
NL: How do the various strands of your career – design, art and academia – influence one another? PF: My design, art and research all meld into each other so it all influences each other, but I don’t tend to think of them in distinct categories. Even my PhD was through creative practice so that was definitely making the disciplines intertwined.
Sometimes I think my work, as a result, is all so diverse, but then when I really boil it all down, I see constant threads and similarities. Some people have commented on the scope or diversity as unusual, or that my works are all so different – mainly because of the various mediums – but to me the designs for production and the designs that are singular and large scale or small scaled art are all so closely linked.
NL: You made your Sculpture by the Sea (SxS) debut at Bondi last year with Counterpoints, Edition 1 of 3. What made you decide to exhibit at SxS? PF: I’ve been working on many large-scale public artworks in WA. Sometimes these projects can last for years. So, I decided to exhibit at SxS Bondi to test out a different market, in a different city and with a smaller work.
Personally, I also wanted the opportunity to watch how a diversity of people of all ages and cultures, interact with artworks in the landscape. So where better to do this than the beauty and allure of Bondi or Cottesloe?
It was wonderful to respond to such an amazing place with a significant history. It’s easy to have lots of ideas on how to respond to Bondi; it’s harder deciding on one. But ultimately, I knew this was a temporary exhibition location for the artwork and because my work is typically bound to site, this gave me the chance to create something that takes on different meaning and properties in various locations. So it was initially inspired by Bondi, but then started taking on other influences as well.
NL: Tell us about the process of making Counterpoints… PF: I had completed a public artwork at Fremantle College that references the school’s specialist maritime education programs and its location close to water. The work uses stainless steel and we had worked through a number of challenges with the maker and installer to achieve the desired outcome. I thought it would be great to use this process of making for another project. Sculpture by the Sea was an appropriate fit.
I always start by researching the history of the site and its character. The solid and static nature of the 300-million-year-old Hawksbury sandstone juxtaposed by the wild and rough ocean was hard to ignore. I wanted to create something that was stone-like and ancient in form (referencing ancient stone spearheads) and also referenced the water in terms of a drop. The polished stainless-steel material gives it an ephemeral surface like water but evokes longevity as a material.
12 Feb – 18 April @ John Curtin Gallery ·
Presented by Angelica Mesiti & Candice Breitz ·
Two of the world’s leading audio-visual artists give voice to the world’s immigrants and refugees in these emotionally engaging new video installations.
Acclaimed at the 2017 Venice Biennale, South-African artist Candice Breitz’ s Love Story features Hollywood stars Julianne Moore and Alec Baldwin. Their compelling performances bring to life the deeply personal experiences of refugees who’ve fled their countries in desperate circumstances.
Australian artist Angelica Mesiti’s latest work also offers unusual insight into the immigrant experience. It is a melancholic journey into the song and music of diverse communities living in the Danish city of Aarhus. Exquisitely captured with the artist’s characteristically dream-like nuance, Mother Tongue reveals the role of music in defining and retaining cultural identity and tradition. Angelica Mesiti is Australia’s representative artist at the 2019 Venice Biennale.
Curated in association with Chris Malcolm, Director, Curtin Gallery.
Presented in association with the John Curtin Gallery
Monday – Friday 11am–5pm
16, 23 Feb & 2 Mar 12pm-4pm
8 – 11 February @ Kings Park ·
Presented by Nigel Jamieson, Richard Walley, Zoe Atkinson and
Sohan Ariel Hayes ·
Let’s celebrate this land we share.
Over four extraordinary nights Kings Park is magically transformed into a cathedral of light, sound and imagery in which the trees come to life.
State of the art technology and the natural world come together for this spectacular walkthrough experience – where great flocks of birds fly overhead and animals dance and play. The event culminates with a light installation dedicated to the protection of the beautiful part of the world we live in – made in collaboration with thousands of young people across WA.
Created in association with the Noongar community, scientists and botanists, Boorna Waanginy explores the inter-connectedness of all life, the fragile beauty of South West Australia’s landscape and the threats it now faces.
Friday 8 Feb – Monday 11 Feb 8pm-11pm
Last entry at 10.30pm