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.
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.
Plastic City was constructed in the gallery over 7 days.
Watch the whole project from beginning to end in these time-lapse videos.
Big isn’t always better
Plastic City represents the annual consumption of one individual. The miniature buildings are made from every plastic container I bought during 2010; they were stored instead of recycled.
The vaguely sci-fi style of the mini city’s ‘architecture’ is an invitation to think about the future. Plastic City embodies a number of timely questions about the types of cities we want to live in, sustainable practice in urban environments and personal responsibility.
Visitors should leave asking themselves, “How big would my Plastic City be?” In this case, bigger isn’t better.
Plastic City highlights the fact that recycling is not enough. We need to choose items that aren’t heavily packaged. We need to use less and re-use, not just recycle.
Plastic City was constructed on site over a week at Articulate Project Space, June 19-24, 2012.
The public were invited to visit during the making process and helped to ‘recycle’ the work at the closing event.
In 1+1+=1, I have taken these drawings and reinterpreted them in embroideries (one of the several traditional “women’s work” skills handed down to me by my Mother) and digital prints.
I have also animated three of the drawings using very simple techniques including the construction of handmade flip-books and praxinoscopes.
1+1=1 was a solo exhibition at James Dorahy Project Space, Sydney.
Photos: Embroideries photographed by Richard Glover. Flip-books, praxinoscopes and installation shots by Tracey Clement.
The praxinoscope is a 19th century animation device, similar to the better known zoetrope.
I made 3 praxinoscopes to animate drawings my father did for me when I was a child.
They were part of my solo show 1+1=1.
Post Premonitionism: What do you do when you have already seen the future? In 1962, JG Ballard’s book, The Drowned World, was a prescient warning; wilfully ignored.
Forty five years later, the causes may be different, but we seem to be spiralling into an ecological melt-down straight out of Ballard’s vision. What do you do when you have already seen the future? Apparently nothing.
In Post Premonitionism, fragile steel structures seem to mimic the skeletal remains of an abandoned city. Twisted, rusty and ephemeral, they eventually will disintegrate completely, vulnerable and helpless against nature’s inexorable power.
I have transposed Ballard’s premonition of The Drowned World on to the reality of Australia; salt takes the place of water in a continent characterised by drought.
Post Premonitionism was a site-specific installation at Groundfloor Gallery, Balmain in 2007. It was my second solo exhibition with the gallery.
Photos: Details 1, 2, 4 & 5, Richard Glover. Details 3, 6 & 7 & installation shots, Tracey Clement.
Borders are highly charged zones electrified by tension and the possibility of transgression and transformation.
Boundaries are liminal edges; cross the line and something will happen.
Whether you move from one country to another, step from a private place into the public arena, penetrate someone’s personal space, or flaunt a social taboo; breeching a border is a point of transition. Because of this borders are seductive, they exert an almost magnetic pull.
Border Zones explores intimate boundaries and the heady combination of intimacy and anxiety that surrounds them.
Border Zones consists of two sculptures: Border Zones (seven life-sized tulle figures) and Perimeter (a double blanket made from thread, buttons and pins).
The lifesize ‘skins’ comment on the notion that the body is like a garment that can be nipped and tucked in the quest for (unobtainable) perfection.
Perimeter highlights the fragility and danger of intimate relationships.
The work was first shown in 2005, in the Post Graduate Degree Show, SCA. In 2006, an expanded version of Border Zones became my first solo exhibition at Groundfloor Gallery, Sydney. In 2009, the work formed part of my solo show, Tracey Clement: Recent(Hard)Work at Elements Art Gallery, Perth, WA.
Photos: Tracey Clement
Shrapnel is evidence of damage incurred in battle. Worn on the outside of the body, instead of lodged within, these jagged pieces of stainless steel are testament to injuries survived and obstacles overcome: physical, emotional or spiritual. To use a cliché, ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’ Trite perhaps, but true.
Shrapnel is a series of adornments for the body which ironically reference military forms: chain-mail armour, bandoliers, sashes, medals, ribbons and badges of honour.
Originally conceived for an anti-war medal project, these jewels can also commemorate scars received from more metaphysical events.
The Shrapnel brooches were shown in Anti-War Medals in 2003 at Velvet da Vinci, San Francisco, Ca, USA and in 2004 at Electrum, London, UK.
Shrapnel was part of SafARI in 2006, a satellite event of the Biennale of Sydney.
Photos: Tracey Clement.
Ravelled and unravelled. Memories, like old jumpers, unravel with time. They become frayed and worn. They become holey and permeable, prone to getting tangled up with each other. Memories unravel and ravel.
Circular history: rings of a tree, layers of accumulated history, memories evoked by familiar garments, unravelled and ravelled, round and round, circular, cyclical, continuous.
ravelled/unravelled (circular history) was made from 54 second-hand jumpers, unpicked and rewound.
It won the People’s Choice Award at the 2003 Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize and was also exhibited at Gallery 4A in 2004 and in 2005 at Sherman Galleries in Sydney, Australia before being acquired by a private collector.
Something is going to happen. An implement implies action. It is used. An implement does something. However, it cannot do anything on its own. It is only by interaction with a person that it can fulfill its function. When you look at an implement you know that it is meant to be held and used. There is an implied physical contact and a latent history of activity.
An implement does something, but does that something have to be physical? These works investigate the idea that tools can serve a purpose other than the purely mechanical.
Perhaps an implement can perform a cathartic function: it not only slices and dices, it mends a broken heart. Maybe the long sought after ‘attitude adjuster’ is something you can hold in your hand. Or imagine if the tool you are holding could change shape or mutate to reflect the mood you are in. It could act as a signal to others, a means of non verbal communication in intimate relationships.
Implements was first shown in 1998 as one of the inaugural exhibitions at Object Galleries, Sydney, Australia.
The spanners were shown as a window installation, As Seen on TV, in the 1998 Walking the Streets at the Mitre 10, Newtown, NSW.
In 2000, the series was exhibited as Utility at the Dowse Art Museum, Lower Hutt, NZ.
Photos: Pink photos by Tandy Rowley, photographer unknown for installation in NZ, other photos by Tracey Clement.