APT8: Some highlights

APT8  (8th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art) opened at QAGOMA last weekend and the galleries were buzzing with enthusiastic audiences. This year’s focus is on the role of performance in recent art. It’s an extravaganza of video, kinetic art, figurative painting and sculpture which explore the use of the body to express cultural, social and political ideas. You can find all the details here and thousands of great images on Instagram #APT8.

The Jump and The Other Suit by Hetain Patel

Hetain Patel is best known for his humorous video performances which reference music, cinema and cartoon characters to investigate shifting forms of identity. His videos, which explore his own family relationships, are inspired by the ironies of his experience of migration and living within the UK’s Indian diaspora. In The Jump he wears a homemade Spider-Man suit, the only superhero costume he found which could completely cover his skin and not reveal his Indian identity. He has never lived in India, but has always been conscious of his appearance and the influences of his cultural background while being raised in the UK and watching American films and television. The Jump was made in Patel’s grandmother’s living room, the same room in which he spent the first five years of his life and where each member of his extended family stayed when they first immigrated to Britain.

See Patel’s website for info on The Other Suit

Serpents’ Tails by Uudam Tran Nguyen

Spending time between Vietnam and the USA, Uudam Tran Nguyen‘s art practice consists of installation, video, painting and sound art. His work often investigates the way contemporary life is changing and how spaces have been transformed by economic development.

Serpents’ Tails contemplates city congestion and air pollution from motorcycles in Ho Chi Minh City. When he returned to Vietnam after living in the US for many years he was amazed that most of the riders on the streets were unrecognisable. Wearing armor of colourful masks, helmets, riding jackets, sunglasses and gloves, the riders were like modern knights, completely anonymous. The video reflects the realities that the city’s people are facing, always fighting to protect themselves from the elements. Serpents’ Tails goes beneath the ever-moving transportation surface, visualising it as a tangle of pipes and elongated balloons filled with exhaust gas.

All The Rivers Run Into The Sea. Over. / Copy. Yet, The Sea Is Not Full. Over. by Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian

Ramin and Rokni Haerizadeh are brothers who collaborate with Hesam Rahmanian to construct provocative installations that challenge conventional modes of display and standards of value. Persian street-theatre or Ta’ziyeh is a particularly important influence on their practice, with its use of props, theatricality, cross-dressing and irony. In their installation All The Rivers Run Into The Sea. Over. / Copy. Yet, The Sea Is Not Full. Over. 2015 they recreate a version of their Dubai home-studio, with their own and other artists’ works, found objects and bric-a-brac displayed in an over-the-top, domesticised installation that occupies and consumes the space of the gallery, blurring the boundaries between art and life. Every inch of the room is covered, including walls and floors, with no concern for hierarchy and preciousness. Their medley of influences ranges from satirical folk theatre, illuminated manuscripts, miniature painting and Persian poetry, to modernist art and pop culture.

Supercritical in Europe


New Supercritical offices under construction

Two big announcements in Supercritical news this week…

Firstly, we should let you know that Supercritical has moved its headquarters to Paris. With alternative art spaces springing up all over the city and challenging the art establishment here, Paris feels like an exciting place to be right now (kind of like Melbourne, circa 2000).

We don’t know where art will take us from here, and this may be our last post for some time. We have a new future to build.

Also, with freedom from her public service day job looming, Supercritical’s mystery editor is finally giving up her pathetic charade of anonymity. Other team members may be unmasked in the future.


The Waters Twine, by Susan Philipsz

GASP 20-1-1

After days of Mona Foma madness, today was the perfect day to experience The Waters Twine by Susan Philipsz at the Glenorchy Boardwalk with fantastic weather and brilliant food from the Olli-Bella taco van.

At the opening last week the delicate strains of the new sound piece by Scottish artist Susan Philipsz could barely be heard above the excited locals and art world luminaries gathered at the Glenorchy Art and Sculpture Park boardwalk.

The Waters Twine (2013) is inspired by a 1929 recording of the author James Joyce reading from his novel Finnegans Wake which was set to music by composer Hazel Felman. Philipsz worked with a vibraphone player to record the separate tones of the piece, creating a fragmented version of the composition. These individual notes play from the underside of the Glenorchy boardwalk and are projected out into the bay.

The chapter Joyce read was Anna Livia Plurabelle, a text which includes hundreds of river names to give it a flow and rhythm reminiscent of moving water. In the final lines of the book Joyce describes the fresh water of the river rushing to the point where it meets the salt water of the sea.

Philipsz wanted to capture this ebb and flow in The Waters Twine.  “I like that the board walk is tidal and that the small rivulets that run out under the boardwalk are merged and submerged with the harbour at different times of the day.” Susan Philipsz, 2013.

The Waters Twine (2013) will be shown throughout MONA FOMA (January 16-20) from 10am to 7pm daily.

The Disturbing Mind of Henri Papin

Fly collectionThe Collector Project 9: Cutting and Grafting

Mish Meijers and Tricky Walsh, Detached Gallery, 16 – 20th January

“I followed them for much of the day, stopping here and there to throw myself off their scent. They were so completely absorbed in their path that they were quite unaware of mine. It was almost too easy, so I made myself become inattentive, lost sight of them a few times and was rewarded by that familiar rush of adrenaline. In the end I managed to secure a button from his jacket (it was a challenge) and a tiny lock of her hair (oddly, less difficult).

I made her into a fly, and placed her into the cabinet with a footnote that connected her to the button in another cabinet. Sometimes I don’t bother but they moved so fluidly like one distracted being that I felt their collection should be honoured, however tenuously…”

The Collector Project is an ongoing collaboration by Tasmanian artists Meijers + Walsh. It is centred on a fictional character called Henri Papin – an isolated and eccentric figure constructed from fragments of literature and film which examine the darker elements of human nature and its related psychologies. Henri collections are of human behaviour and are constructed from moments of voyeurism, fragments of memory and found samples, distilling ‘stains of experience’ into objects or scenarios.


Tom O’Hern – Primitivism and Masculinity

Tom O’Hern, Vicious Shit-Eating Godless Vermin, Inflight Gallery until July 7

At the gates to Eden there is a huge Cherub with a flaming sword, and he says we’re not allowed back in. At the end of the house is a big glass sliding door. Flies bash repeatedly into this invisible barrier. They make easy game for small, clammy hands. Gently I pluck their wings off. In this state they are easy to manage and I can have a few on the go at once, each quietly waiting out their fate and crawling around on the carpet. One by one, I pluck their legs from their body. They buzz loudly in protest. Then, slowly, I twist their heads till they come loose with a tiny little pop. Later underneath the kitchen table I will hear my parents discussing reincarnation. With horror I realise I have pulled my Grandmother’s head off.

After all the diplomatic hemming and hawing from critics in response to this year’s Sydney Biennale (described as ‘expansive’, ‘inclusive’, ‘earnest’), it was great to see Tom O’Hern’s disturbing, gutsy, kick-ass drawing show at Inflight recently. O’Hern is a Hobart based artist whose practice explores primitivism, masculinity and suburbia (scrawling penises on toilet walls). See more of his work at http://oldtombone.blogspot.com.au/

Postcard from Paris

From our roving reporter Fernando do Campo

Hello Supercritical!!!

Hope your going super-well!!

All going well here in the city of lights, could do with a dry day (both weather and intake) but having a fantastic time!! Found this at a great bookstore and thought you needed a little click of it.

Hope all is well, I’ll try to contribute soon with some wise words about the Okwui Enwezor triennial… difficult when it was so disappointing.

Love to all Taswegians x fer

Thanks Fer, looking forward to more news soon, Sx

Missing Presumed Dead at CAST

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Opening tonight at CAST, Missing Presumed Dead (the loss of the referent in contemporary photography) showcases seven contemporary photographers whose work is situated between realism and abstraction. Curated by Paul Snell the show includes Australian artists Anthony Curtis, Penelope Davis, Scott Faulkner and David Martin, and Gaston Bertin (Spain), Rita Maas (USA), and Jens Waldenmaier (Germany).

Curator Paul Snell says… “Missing Presumed Dead focuses on the complex but intriguing relationship between realism and abstraction in contemporary photography. Some of the most interesting work being produced at the moment is by artists who shift the perceptual paradigms and question the mechanisms of observation. Rather than transporting reality they are creating it. The artists represented continue to build on a language that exists somewhere between photography and painting. The aesthetic is as important, if not more important than the process.

Missing presumed Dead will represent work that first and foremost can be appreciated for its abstract, formal qualities, such as form, colour and composition. The work may be derived from constructed images or from the manipulation of process whether concrete of digital. Some may arrive at forms of abstraction through the specific use of framing when recording a subject, while others might go much further so that a direct identification with the subject becomes ever more difficult or impossible. The viewer will be left to experience the work as object and the formal qualities it brings.

Central to all the selected work is the idea that these images exist in varying degrees as self-referential objects. What the work loses in representation it gains in pictorial power, free and autonomous from representational limitations.”

Paul Snell is an artist, curator and art educator who lives and works in Launceston.

CAST Gallery, 27 Tasma St, North Hobart:  11 Feb – 18 March 2012

Sawtooth Opening Tonight

Opening tonight at Sawtooth ARI
Exhibition dates: 3 – 25 February, 2011

After Midnight
Joel Crosswell (TAS)   Image: Joel Crosswell, After Midnight (detail), 2011

Seemingly Ceaseless
Kate Barker (ACT), Karena Keys (NSW), Tye McBride (NSW) and Helen Shelley (NSW)
Image: Helen Shelley, Life Insurance no.4, 2011. Oil and acrylic on Perspex, 68 x 68cm

BBQ This Sunday, BYO
Joan Ross (NSW)
Image: Joan Ross, BBQ This Sunday (meet the new neighbours) 2011.
Pigment print on premium photo paper. Image courtesy of the artist and Bett Gallery, Hobart (detail)

Sue Quinn (Tas)
Image: Sue Quinn,Biopsies: viscera, vesicles, & vacuoles, 2011 (detail).

Sawtooth ARI  Level 2, 160 Cimitiere St, Launceston 7250 sawtoothari@gmail.com
Gallery Hours: 12-5 Wednesday – Friday, 12-4 Saturday

Sarah Jones: You’ll Always Be My #1

After a whole month of lolling in hammocks by the pool, drinks in hand, the Supercritical team has propelled itself back into action to bring you the first round of ARI shows for the year.

The Inflight opening of Sarah Jones’ show, You’ll Always Be My #1, is the last time many of us will see her before she heads to Europe for a couple of years. This year’s recipient of the Claudio Alcorso Foundation award, Sarah is off to spend several months in Italy among other adventures.

You’ll Always Be My #1 explores the pathos of self-improvement, misplaced ambition and the fetishized trophy. The artist positions herself as both protagonist (winner) and object (trophy) examining identity, ambition and desire within the search for victory, and how success itself is invented and defined.

Happy Birthday CAST!

Last night’s 18th birthday party for Tasmania’s iconic contemporary art institution CAST was celebrated by a huge crowd of artists, curators and assorted bohemians. Along with the cocktails, cupcakes and Jannis Kounellis tribute sausage sizzle, the entertainment included pinata smashing, video mashing by Scot Cotterell, the recently exhumed singing corpse of Marilyn Monroe, and a tribute to Yves Klein which involved Nancy Mauro-Flude painting Michael Edwards and Maria Kunda. We didn’t understand it either but are grateful there was no nudity (Andrew Harper was looking hopeful again).

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Wim Delvoye Opening

The Wim Delvoye show which opened last night at Mona includes all the works that the artist has become notorious for – the tattooed pig skins, the anal kisses, Cloaca and Tattoo Tim himself – as well as dazzling new twisting sculptures in silver and gold. Here are the party photos…

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Smashing Party

Wim Del who? The biggest party this weekend is not tonight’s exclusive and glittering Mona opening of the Wim Delvoye show*, but CAST’s 18th birthday party, and you’re invited!

~ Exchange a toast with Inter Collective at Bar Alla Tua ~ Show your love for CAST by smashing Alicia King’s CAST-inspired Piñata ~ Meg Walch invites you to try your luck at winning one of the Sixty Chocolate Whores of Babylon ~ Anthony Johnson provides the meat for the evening in The Jannis Kounellis Tribute Sausage Sizzle ~ Win a meat or vegetable tray masterpiece by Sally Rees and Caz Rodwell ~ Look out for Lucy Bleach’s Raspberry surprise ~ Scot Cotterell will be mixing up your favourite YouTube videos ~ Mish Meijers will remind us to Party Party Party ~ Balloons abound thanks to superstar designer Cath Robinson  And of course fabulous birthday cards will form an extra special CAST Members’ Exhibition!


*In the interests of balanced reporting, Supercritical will also be covering tonight’s Mona opening. Follow us on Twitter… @supercriticalart

Don’t Miss…

Sawtooth ARI Launceston (until December 24)

WONDERSHAPER Julia Castiglioni Bradshaw (TAS), Dionisia Salas Hammer (NSW), Julie Monro-Allison (TAS), Poppy Malik (ACT), Dan Edwards (ACT), Emma Beer (ACT), Timothy Gray Price (VIC) and Joan Llorca Peiro (ESP)

Fluid Dynamics Marie Sierra (TAS)

Picturedrome II Nicola Smith (TAS)

Both Sides of Everything About Something Pip O’Brien (VIC). Curated by Sarah Jones (TAS)

Image: Julie Monro-Allison, Universe, 2011, ink, marker and collage on paper

INFLIGHT Hobart (Until December 24)

Ashes to Ashes – Joel Crosswell

Image: Joel Crosswell, Autumn, dropping leaves, past and present, some kind of evil, skin deep, pine trees, sun and a blue sky, love lost, tears drop, blood, blond hair, ashes, 13 years old, father shot but lived, existence, 1996.


Our Day Will Come: Again!

“There’s a real rich kind of conversation here that is bubbling around the world at the moment. There’s a fundamental stake in this, which is the idea that in some sense our understanding of publicness is being evacuated, is being impoverished by the dominance of a particular market logic, variously we hear it called neo-liberalism or whatever. The gist of it is [that] because market relations are the only ones that are beginning to make sense to us, we’re losing sight of this kind of more nuanced sense of the multiplicity of the public. The public is a part of the political imagination of the West for two and a half millennia. Within those two and a half millennia a huge layer…of work has been iterated around this notion of publicness, and we need to retain it in all its multiplicity and all its richness and not flatten it out into [an understanding that] public means being visible to lots of people at the same time, or publicness means access, or publicness means you don’t have to pay for it – that all of these are dimensions of a much richer, more complex, more nuanced, and more troubling idea. The significance of that idea is that it goes to the heart of our political imagination, our ability to imagine what it means to be in a world together in difference; sometimes in our differences and sometimes in a simple indifference to the fact that we’re here with each other, and all the other registers within that…”   Mick Wilson, Iteration:Again Symposium closing address

We all miss the Zine launches that were a regular part of Our Day Will Come, Paul O’Neill’s Iteration:Again project. During those heady weeks four editions of the Zine were produced in response to the questions: (1) What is a School?  (2) What is Remoteness? (3) What is Autonomy? and (4) What is Usefulness?

Following Iteration:Again, Fiona Lee (who curated O’Neill’s project) and Maria Kunda from the Tasmanian School of Art ran a special Complimentary Studies subject, Our Day Will Come: Discursive Art Practice and the Artist–Curator, based on an examination of the various experiences of O’Neill’s project. As part of this they’ve produced another Zine! This time the question is What is a Public? and it takes as its starting point Mick Wilson’s closing address to the Iteration:Again symposium. Contributors to the Zine include Mick Wilson, Laura Hindmarsh, Bridget Hickey, Benjamin Ryan, Ashley Jenkins, Penny Burnett, Nicola Smith, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Elizabeth Woods, Mountain School of Arts, Joe Public, David Cross, Claire Krouzecky, Young-hae Chang Heavy Industries, Maria Kunda, Tisham Dhar, Fiona Lee, Neil Haddon, Julia Knight, Josh Santospirito, Jenni Jackson, Gemma Smith, Paul O’Neill, Sara Wright, Grant Dale and Sean Kelly.

Supercritical will be publishing excerpts from the Zine over the next few days and hope to have the full version of Mick’s stirring closing address available for download in the next couple of days.

Cover Image: Nicola Smith

Missing Presumed Dead

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Missing Presumed Dead (the loss of the referent in contemporary photography) showcases seven contemporary photographers whose work is situated between realism and abstraction. Currently on at Devonport Regional Gallery before heading to CAST in February, the show has been curated by Paul Snell and includes Australian artists Anthony Curtis, Penelope Davis, Scott Faulkner and David Martin, and Gaston Bertin (Spain), Rita Maas (USA), and Jens Waldenmaier (Germany).

Join Paul Snell in conversation with participating artists on Saturday 3 December 11am, Devonport Regional Gallery.

Curator’s statement

The exhibition Missing Presumed Dead (the loss of the referent in contemporary photography) focuses on the complex but intriguing relationship between realism and abstraction in contemporary photography.

Some of the most interesting work being produced at the moment is by artists who shift the perceptual paradigms and question the mechanisms of observation. Rather than transporting reality they are creating it. The artists represented continue to build on a language that exists somewhere between photography and painting. The aesthetic is as important, if not more important than the process. Read the rest of this entry