SPAN | Fremantle Arts Centre

From intimate personal boundaries to those that separate lives and land, five artists explore our perceived physical, social and political perimeters.

Traversing the emotional, spatial and politicised boundaries of our contemporary environment, SPAN is a journey for spectators in itself, shaped by the diverse works of five prominent Western Australian artists: Susanna Castleden, Olga Cironis, Tanya Lee, Clyde McGill and Andrew Sunley Smith.

The exhibition, held as part of Perth International Arts Festival, begins the viewing experience beyond the gallery walls, with a life-size print of Fremantle Port’s passenger gangway displayed across Fremantle Arts Centre iconic external façade. In Susanna Castleden’s 1:1 Gangway imprints of the passenger terminal gangway at Fremantle Port are captured in frottage on maps, the labor-intensive process of frottage underpinning the grand scale of the print.

A three-channel video explores the borders of domestic life and delineates the boundaries between private and shared space in Tanya Lee’s Curtilage. Everyday objects extend from suburban settings on absurdly long handles: a hairbrush slowly emerges from a house and slowly reaches the next to brush the neighbours’ hair; a spoon reaches across an apartment balcony to feed a neighbor cereal, and a toothbrush to brush another’s teeth. Transforming these intimate acts Lee explores what it means to cross social boundaries.

The human impact of political upheaval and war is explored in Clyde McGill’s Dolorosa. Suspended amplified wires hang throughout the gallery, creating an interactive soundscape above a series of paintings. The artist recounts the story of a displaced family’s journey towards asylum in a series of performances, and the audience responds by plucking and strumming the wires above, creating haunting music.

An installation by Andrew Sunley Smith looks at culture as an engine, consuming and burning in order to move forward. A series of abstract sculptural forms created on-site at FAC incorporate radiators, coolers, dissipators and engine structures. “Our houses, buildings, cities, and circuits are all engines,” Sunley Smith says.

And, in a long hallway at the furthermost gallery space, locks of hair from thousands of people are weaved together on a loom, mapping the places from which people have come. Olga Cironis’s Mountain of Words acts as both an art object and performance with Cironis weaving individual tresses, each a line in a continuously scrolling story.

Fremantle Arts Centre
4 February – 26 March 2017

Courtesy the artists and Fremantle Arts Centre.

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