Fluid by definition is a substance that has no fixed shape and yields easily to external pressure; a gas or (especially) a liquid. Fluid as a concept or thematic departure point for an exhibition is particularly potent as it allows for changeability and indefinite possible explorations of its variable nature. 24 UNSW Art & Design students have traversed this alterable landscape at Cypher Gallery and Monster Mouse Studios Marrickville in a three day only event from the 24th-27th September. The work itself is performative, sculptural, multi-disciplinary, interactive and brave and the accommodating nature of fluid is manifest in works incorporating liquid, solids, weight, gas, and squishy qualities.
Shaza Smit opens the exhibition with her environmentally conscious piece ‘I don’t give a fog’ viewed upon entry to the space. Smit explained her new politically aligned view arising out of the research for this particular piece, ‘…mining coal from the Great Barrier Reef is actually a thing that we are doing now. When this coal is burnt, it creates twice the amount of Greenhouse emissions than all the other forms of energy in Australia combined. I wanted to create something which seemed domestic and familiar, and something which we usually over look and don’t think twice about’. So she created a bathroom tiled plinth with a tap and ‘when the viewer opens the tap they are actively creating chemical smoke. If they were to keep the tap open, the smoke much like the Reef coal, would run out.’
Alternatively, Lucinda Rose and Rachel Levine’s collaborative and improvisational performance ‘A Butcher in Gold’ investigates the tension created when flour is combined with water and the physicality of the busy, action and sometimes aggressive force required to bind these two substances together. Their fascinating primal and rhythmic performance to accompanying music in kind begins in a small separate gallery space where they join, sew, pull, and create doughy offerings later gifted to the audience within and without this domestic golden hub.
Bailee Lobb’s Extensions, is also an interactive work however exploring the psychological weight of hidden illnesses via textile design which the audience is invited to wear. One of three seemingly identical suites with varying weight distribution is selected unknowingly by a participant who through this bodily engagement experiences sad, overwhelming or comforting responses.
These are but three examples of a great body of work of which must be seen in person however, other standout works include Celina Jayne’s edible toffee sculptures ‘Osculate’, Scarlett Steven’s ‘Tufts’ of hair, various video installations by Amy Mills and others, and more performative installation pieces such as Elle van Uden’s water play ‘Clair de Lune’, some traditional two dimensional printed works by Catherine Thicket contrast and draw attention as does Ben Allen’s, pulsating heart ‘Don’t Phunk with my Heart’.
Monster Mouse Studios and Cypher Gallery address: 21 Maude Lane, Marrickville (very close to Sydenham station)