Inhabiting Space
14 May – 17 July 2016

Opening: Friday 13 May at 6pm

Juliet Carpenter/ Evangeline Riddiford-Graham, Julian Dashper,
Mike Parr, Campbell Patterson, Fred Sandback, Sriwhana Spong
Curated by Stephen Cleland

Inhabiting Space is in-house Curator Stephen Cleland’s first full-gallery exhibition at the Adam Art Gallery. Spurred by the dynamic architecture of the Athfield-designed building, the exhibition brings together seven artists whose works set up situations that enable viewers to question what it means to ‘inhabit space’. A prompt for the project, and a starting point for the exhibition, is an installation—the largest of its kind to be realised in Australasia— by the late American post-minimalist Fred Sandback that links the three levels of the Gallery by the simple deployment of coloured yarn.

Sandback refined an approach to sculpture that hovers between the material and the immaterial. Over his lifetime, he developed a procedure based on drawings that can be executed in response to actual spaces. The resulting installations construct virtual planes and shapes that both draw attention to themselves and their surroundings. In Sandback’s words, his sculpture attempts to ‘assert a certain place or volume in its full materiality without occupying and obscuring it.’ In the process, the viewer becomes intensely aware of their surroundings. In the case of the Adam Art Gallery installation, the sculpture can only be experienced in stages as visitors move up and down the building and to and from the work.

Sandback’s stated attempt to create ‘a drawing that is habitable’ is key to the other works in the exhibition. By means of bodily actions, vocal performance, spoken and written text, drawn line, lighting and camerawork, the works of Mike Parr, Julian Dashper, Sriwhana Spong, Campbell Patterson, and Juliet Carpenter and Evangeline Riddiford-Graham each develop distinct engagements with both actual and represented architectural spaces. Orchestrated across the spaces of the Gallery, their works invite us to consider not only the other spaces referenced in their works but their immediate in-situ contexts.

A subtext of this selection is the re-realisation of works that exist as propositions or proposals, or which were conceived for other situations. The contention is that the works have the capacity to communicate an idea or thought from one place to another; to create complex situations within which the past and present, here and there, then and now, viewer and object, space and place intersect.

Inhabiting Space is generously supported by the Chartwell Trust, the Adam Art Gallery’s major patron for 2016.
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