The word banquet implies abundance, but also gluttony and greed. Like much of my recent work, Banquet uses the symbol of the ruined city to highlight the impact of an anthropocentric worldview.
The brutalist towers of Banquet are made from sugar cubes. Perched on fancy cut crystal glassware, they are flooded with laundry soap. They tilt, crash and dissolve over time.
Sugar is sweet, but it is also addictive – another white powder. The toxic legacy of the sugar industry (driven by our mass consumption) ranges from slavery to bleached coral on the Great Barrier Reef. And as the bright blue laundry detergent in this sculpture undermines the foundations of the city, it is a reminder that what goes down the drain ends up in our rivers and oceans. All of our actions have implications for an environment with which we are inexplicably entwined.
Banquet is the first artwork in my ongoing series of sugar cities.
Tracey Clement is known for creating artworks that meticulously utilise labour intensive techniques for their conceptual resonance. In Soft Science she turns her attention to knitting, a skill still largely regarded as women’s work.
In Soft Science, when the domestic feminine act of knitting is made an integral part of a laboratory experiment, we are asked to acknowledge two truths: that women have always made a significant contribution to the supposedly masculine domain of science, and that the hard facts of science are not the only way to make sense of the world.
Soft Science highlights the fact that there is more than one way to skin Schrödinger’s cat. In a secular society we tend to look to the quantifiable facts of science for meaning. But art too is a way of understanding the world; a knowledge generating system which is different, but no less valid.
In Soft Science, when cold rational laboratory glass meets soft warm knitting, fuzzy logic is made manifest. In other words, there is no right answer in an experiment calculated to prove, if it proves anything at all, that truth is a mutable concept and that much of the universe may be ultimately unknowable.
Please save the date for my upcoming solo show, Soft Science, opening 12 December.
In Soft Science, cold, rational laboratory glass meets warm, fuzzy knitting in an elaborate faux experiment designed to prove (if it proves anything at all) that the universe is ultimately un-knowable.
WATCH me making What goes around...
38 Lander Street
12 – 22 December 2018
Opening: Wednesday 12 Dec, 6-8pm
The ruined city is gone and the white cones of salt now spread throughout the gallery like satelite cities in an inorganic termite colony.
The dodgy Latin of the title equium tumulus sali multiplex is a nod to the naming conventions of science, one of the many strategies we use to attempt to tame and control the natural world.
The work is on show in:
3 May – 2 June
Opening Night: Wednesday 2 May, 6-8pm
The first work in my Soft Science series, Soft Science: City, debuted in the group show Couplings in April 2018.
Curators Helen Hyatt-Johnston and Brad Buckley selected 30 artists (who are also couples) to exhibit together, including me and my partner Peter Burgess.
Dominik Mersch Gallery
11 April – 12 May 2018
Opening: Tuesday 10 April, 6–8pm
All three bodies of work which I made for my PhD (Post-Premonitionism 2, Metropolis Experiment, and my Drowned World Maps) came together in my show Mapping The Drowned World, for 3 days only. Both the sculptures and the maps were made in response to JG Ballard’s 1962 novel, The Drowned World. You can watch me de-install the show in the video below.
This the fifth (and final) map I’ve made as part of my Mapping The Drowned World project, inspired by JG Ballard’s novel The Drowned World.
You can find all of my Drowned World maps here.
In this map the conventional view of the planet is inverted. After all, there is no right way up in space.
18.3 hours of drawing, January – September 2017.
Metropolis Experiment, 2-17 June 2017 at AirSpace Projects, Marrickville.
Metropolis Experiment is part architectural model, part mad science: the whole city is a laboratory. But instead of shiny stainless and gleaming glassware in sterile white surrounds, we are presented with rusty tripods and salt crystals that creep up and over everything, corroding as they go. In Metropolis Experiment something has gone horribly wrong: it’s a ruined model city, a metaphor.
Metropolis Experiment is my third recent body of work which responds to the vivid prognostications of JG Ballard’s 1962 post-apocalyptic sci-fi novel, The Drowned World. View the first here and the second here.
What links these works is the image of the ruined city, an image Ballard conjured so evocatively in The Drowned World.
Thanks to its scale, Metropolis Experiment draws on the conceptual qualities of architectural models (as well as ruins) in order to make a point. As theorists are fond of pointing out, all ruins simultaneously embody both the present and the past.
Meanwhile, architectural models are inherently aspirational. They embody potential, physically manifested, but not quite realised. They represent the future. As a ruined model city (a combination of both) my artwork adds a third temporal stream: the future already devastated.
Metropolis Experiment is a premonition, a warning.
Metropolis Experiment II is actually part of a larger work, Metropolis Experiment, which will be shown at AirSpace Projects 2-17 June 2017.
This sculpture is the unholy love child of an architectural model and a chemistry trial gone horribly wrong: it’s a ruined model city, a metaphor.
Metropolis Experiment is part of my third recent body of work in my Mapping The Drowned World project which responds to the vivid prognostications of JG Ballard’s 1962 post-apocalyptic sci-fi novel, The Drowned World.
This the fourth map I’ve made as part of my Mapping The Drowned World project, inspired by JG Ballard’s novel The Drowned World.
Maps are always staking a claim or making a point. Far from being an endeavour of pure science, they are political and cultural tools. They frequently represent power and the domination of both people and places.
Maps are artefacts deeply embedded in the cultures that make them and the conditions of their time. And my Drowned World maps are no exception.
In my Drowned World series of drawings I transpose a predicted ocean level rise of 70 meters on to maps of the world. These artworks picture planetary geography re-shaped in a way that echoes Ballard’s science fictional vision of The Drowned World, but they are also grounded in the real.
This map took approx 25 hours of drawing, August – December 2016
The time-consuming nature of these works is a deliberate strategy which points to our complicity in creating our current climate crisis.
This catastrophe did not just happen: it took centuries of dedicated labour, ruthless exploitation of the natural environment, manic consumerism, and blatant disregard for the consequences of our actions to reach this moment in time.
The Buckminster Fuller projection was created in 1943.
Post-Premonistionism 2 is a sequel. It is my second sculptural response to JG Ballard’s novel The Drowned World. This work was installed during the group exhibition I coordinated, Mapping The Drowned World.
Thanks to its scale, Post-Premonitionism 2 draws on the conceptual qualities of architectural models, as well as ruins, in order to make a point. Architectural models are inherently aspirational. They embody potential, physically manifested, but not quite realised. They represent the future, while ruins ellicit a temporal slippage between the past and the present. But as a model city, my artwork adds a third temporal stream: the future already devastated.
Model cities are conventionally displayed so that the viewer takes a ‘god’s eye view’ like a triumphant ruler surveying his domain. In my work, the ruined city is positioned at eye height, precariously balanced on salty peaks of vaguely anthropomorphic volume, emphasising our complicity in creating this ruined future. Like Ballard’s novel, my ruined city is a warning.
Installation shots from Mapping The Drowned World. Six artists responded to JG Ballard’s novel, The Drowned World
Mapping The Drowned World
Coordinated by Tracey Clement
8-31 October 2015
READ the ‘Mapping The Drowned World’ catalogue on ISSUU.
See my Drowned World maps in the group show Future Stratigraphy, 6-29 October 2016, at SCA Galleries, Sydney.
The Eckert projection was created in 1906. My map took approx 21 hours of drawing, February – June 2016
This the third map I’ve made as part of my Mapping The Drowned World project, inspired by JG Ballard’s novel The Drowned World.
WATCH Tracey Clement create Drowned World: Bonne Projection. 30 hours of drawing compressed into 2 minutes.
This map is part of my broader PhD project, Mapping The Drowned World. It is the second map I’ve completed.