22nd July - 16th August 2019
Opening 6pm Wednesday 22nd July
Image: exhibition graphic: Daryl Prondoso, 2019
Against a degree of blindness
Anna John, Del Lumanta, Justine Varga, curated by Isobel Parker Philip
Against a degree of blindness is an open question (a provocation disguised as an exhibition). Can you articulate an impulse
Can you condense and capture the process of actualisation? How does an image or an object accommodate and account for its own genesis? Its own ‘coming into being’?
Attempting to answer these questions, Against a degree of blindness adopts a conceptual framework borrowed from literary theory. From writing about writing. Texts whose authors strive to account for the ungovernable and indefinable force that propels their writing serve as the exhibition’s preface. How does a sentence find itself? At what point does the mute and the formless tip into legibility?
Marguerite Duras, Clarice Lispector and Hélène Cixous – writers who dissect the way their prose unfolds – find warped echoes in the work of Anna John, Del Lumanta and Justine Varga. All coax unstable and mutative forms from the ether. They confront unsettled subjects – things in flux, caught in the midst of transformation.
These three writers talk about writing as a physical act – as a mode of expression that is teased and expelled from the body (her body). It hurts. In their hands, the intangible (the word) has weight and substance.
John, Lumanta and Varga have – in an indirect and oblique sense – inherited their gestures. They produce work that trembles, quivers and quakes. It doesn’t stand still. It teeters on an edge. Their work, whether sculpture, photograph or print, is embryonic. Not undeveloped or fledgling but defined by its own materialisation. It is both constituted and sustained by its own ‘coming into being’.
Against a degree of blindness is an experiment in literary translation. Yet this is not about the literal transference of meaning between text and image or object. It is an exchange and a point of tension. How does the elusive force that converts an inert word into prose move through objects and images? What form does it take? How does it retain transitive potential in spite of its stasis? And when – if ever – does it become legible?
Isobel Parker Philip is a curator, writer and photographer from Sydney. She is presently the Assistant Curator, Photographs at The Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney and has independently curated exhibitions at UTS Gallery, Firstdraft, Sydney Guild, The Paper Mill, Breezeblock and the Villa Alba Museum, Melbourne. Her writing has appeared in un Magazine, Runway, Das Superpaper, Try Hard Magazine and RealTime, among others, and she has written catalogue essays for numerous artists including Robyn Stacey, Justine Varga, Nick Dorey and Heidi Yardley.
Del Lumanta is an artist from Sydney. In forming scenarios between print, objects and space her work investigates the discourse surrounding printed forms from its historic context into the everyday, revealing a network of constellations that aim to recalibrate our relationship printed media. She has exhibited in Sydney and Melbourne, curated the mini-festival Symptoms of Failure at Firstdraft, Sydney and produces for FBI’s art and ideas program Canvas. She is currently coordinating Double Vision, a showcase Australian experimental and DIY music at the MCA, Sydney.
Anna John is a Sydney born artist and musician, currently undertaking her MFA at Sydney College of the Arts and has spent a semester at the Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam, NL. Working across sculpture, print, installation and screen, Anna thinks materially to investigate the edges of art history and creative tradition. Her approach maintains a playful aesthetic, drawing from the language of popular culture, art history and the museum. Anna has exhibited locally and internationally, including a recent show in Kassel at the artist run KFAK,K and in the 2018 Piet Zwart interim show. In Australia, she has exhibited at UTS Gallery, OK Gallery (WA), Knulp, 55 Sydenham Rd, TCB, Kings ARI, Firstdraft, The Cosmic Battle for your Heart, Carriageworks, Joint Hassels and Locksmith project space.
Justine Varga is a photographer whose practice centres on an interest in the photographic image, what it may signify, as well as its form and function. In 2018 she was the recipient of the Australia Council for the Arts London Studio Residency, and the MCA Primavera Veolia Acquisitive Prize, in 2017 she was joint winner of the Josephine Ulrick & Win Shubert Photography Award, and was a Finalist in the 2018, 2017 and 2015 NSW Visual Arts Fellowship for Emerging Artists. In 2016, her work featured in the exhibition Primavera, MCA, Sydney.
Photos by Docqment
MOP Projects is supported by the NSW Government through Arts NSW