Das Platforms / Contemporary Art

Spectacle/Obstacle

by MelodyEllis

31 Jan 2012

Spectacle/Obstacle
Curated by Superkaleidescope
West Space
Level 1, 225 Bourke St Melbourne
28 October – 19 November 2011

Superkaleidescope (SK) is an artist run initiative with a difference. Founded by Sarah Mosca and Kim Fasher, it operates without a fixed gallery space. Instead, SK facilitates temporary exhibitions and special projects in various locations around Australia and overseas – including Berlin where the initiative began in 2010. Their latest exhibition at West Space was entitled Spectacle/Obstacle and featured: Greta Afaro, Justin Balmain, Rebecca Baumann, Michaela Gleave, Tim Bruniges, and Pia Van Gelder.

Beginning with Rebecca Baumann’s, ‘Untitled, Cascade, a shimmering wall of gold tinsel running along the foyer of West Space, the audience is led through a series of artworks exploring landscape, outer space, impermanence and interactivity.

Baumann’s metallic curtain emitted such a pleasing glow one might be tempted to stand for hours basking in its light. Similarly, in Justin Balmain’s installation ‘I have a sunrise over water that is not real, but also not fake’ a mirror ball is hung in front of a projection of a sunrise over water, casting moving rainbows over the screen and throughout the space. The effect is distinctly visceral, evoking something of the sublime in its allure.

Tim Bruniges’ sound installation ‘Tornado Sequence,’ is triggered in part by the movement of the audience throughout the space. Positioned behind the tinsel curtain Brunige’s minimal soundscape is perfectly placed and transforms Baumann’s work into something of a stage background such that might be found at a prom or a karaoke bar. Pia van Gelder’s ‘AV Bells –Rimington Scales’, also an interactive sound work, invites the audience to play three ‘bells’ each of which are hooked up to their own small television monitor. The movement of the bells creates various unique sounds and activates the monitors with colourscapes reminiscent of abstract paintings.

For Michaela Gleave’s installation ‘I would bring you the stars (101 nights)’ the artist sent a ‘star’ via text message to anonymous recipients at precisely sunset for 101 nights. Accompanying the documentation of this performance, are a series of photographs capturing the moment of detonation of 101 D.I.Y homemade sparkler bombs. These explosions, like imitation stars, are projected onto the gallery wall one at a time using an old slide projector. The rhythmic sound of the projector adds to the soft flutter of Baumann’s tinsel curtain, Brunige’s melodic soundscape and van Gelder’s bells.

In Greta Alfaro’s video ‘In Ictu Oculi’ (in the blink of an eye), a dinner table brimming with food and wine – complete with ceramic plates, crystal glasses, and silver cutlery sits in the middle of a dry desert landscape. What seems at first to be a video Still Life is quickly transformed when one by one a wake of vultures appear and violently demolish the feast. The collision of the ‘natural’ and the ‘unnatural’ seems to be a strong theme of this exhibition. From the destruction of the feast in Alfaro’s video to Balmain’s sunset and Gleave’s stars, the artists in Spectacle/Obstacle all present the viewer with spectacular, otherworldly, environments to watch and to interact with.

Superkaleidescope is successfully pushing the boundaries of what constitutes a ‘space’ and are a welcome addition to the Australian ARI scene. In 2012 they will take up residence at Sydney’s Artspace and are also set to curate a print exhibition for Das Superpaper. DOWNLOAD PDF