Towards a Theory

4 August – 10 September 2000

Patrick Pound, Towards a Theory of Everything 2000

Lyndell Brown
Charles Green
Patrick Pound

This exhibition featured the work of Australian artists Charles Green and Lyndell Brown and New Zealand born artist, Patrick Pound. Over recent years these artists have pursued an interest in the operation of archives. Their practice, based conceptually in collecting, grouping, indexing and categorising, is saturated by theories of the library and archive.

The works are, first and foremost, photographic and mixed media assemblages of collected matter. They are repositories of information which are at once personalbelonging to the collective personal archives of the artistsand displayed in the gallery for public discussion and incorporating the signs and symbols of elite and everyday culture. The effect is of multiple pin boards, albeit on epic scales, on which memories, spanning vast moments in time have been collected, buried, forgotten and excavated.

In fact, the works are self consciously constructed. Texts and images from disparate and wide ranging sources are juxtaposed, overlapped and arranged to develop and reconstruct fictional instances in history, art history and human experience. These fictional accounts, like all histories, are selected and assembled according to the social, political and cultural perspective of the historian. In the very act of creating, the artists apply systems of categorisation and definition.

By reference to history and the act of its documentation, the works link directly to the archive. The hallmark archival systems of indexing and organisation are, however, strangely absent. Resisting literal translation, the works exaggerate ways of recording and remembering and deny established notions of listing, defining and understanding the world.

Certainly – and this is evident when looking at the works – the authors are obsessed with the role that individual experience and knowledge plays in the process of decoding assembled materials and signs. The logical consequence of such an argument is that a theory of everything is possible and the prerogative of each individual. Systems can be relied upon to list, name and order but they are a necessary nonsense, linked inextricably to explaining and managing the world and its complexities.

In 1989, Lyndell Brown and Charles Green commenced a long-term collaborative partnership. The core works in the exhibition, Double Vision—towards a theory of everything and Panoramic view of the city of shadows were executed in a joint collaboration with Patrick Pound for exhibition at the Australian Centre for Photography in 1999. They were re-figured for the exhibition at the Adam Art Gallery, supplemented and expanded on by new solo and collaborative works, including a site specific work for the Chartwell Galleries.

Born in Hamilton, New Zealand, Patrick Pound emigrated to Australia in 1989 having completed his training at Elam School of Fine Arts, Auckland University (BA Fine Art 1987). Pound currently lives and works in Melbourne and has exhibited extensively throughout Australasia.

Lyndell Brown lives and works in Sydney. She was educated at the Victorian College of the Arts (BA Visual Art1988; MA Visual Art 1992) and is currently working on a PhD at the University of New South Wales.

Charles Green was educated at Victorian College of the Arts (Diploma in Painting 1973), University of Melbourne (BA Hons 1987); Monash University (MA Visual Arts 1993); University of Melbourne (PhD 1998). He currently lectures at the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales, in the School of Art History and Theory. Green has published art criticism in Australia, Europe and the USA and is the Australian correspondent for Artforum magazine.