Job Lot #59: Bunny
Job Lot #59
The quest to construct the lovers' dovecote has become an urgent affair with the plethora of professional advice available for the creation of the perfect home. Television programmes are replete with attractive couples competing to win their love-nest through proving their prowess as home renovators.1 In a 'naughties' development on the 70's key party phenomena2 couples swap homes not partners3 and renovate a designated room. Renovation has become the contemporary anacea for relationship anxiety. The precarious nature of contemporary romantic unions has generated a powerful urge to build and maintain the physical manifestation of the happy relationship - a beautiful home. The mass media promotes the home as a utopia of renovated domestic bliss. Painted. Tiled. Floorboards; sanded and polished. Open fire; roaring. The home has become resplendent through painstakingly 'creative' renovations, and now promises an idyllic haven composed of super-hyped notions of fulfilment, comfort and convenience.
Through processes where the discarded is remade, the superfluous excluded, and the permanent made ephemeral Job Lot #59 invites the viewer to temporarily inhabit the malleable, changeable and ephemeral space contained within and around these works. To experience a lounge room as a moving raft, an assemblage of discarded objects as an urban relic, closed blinds as a painter's palette and a shower as a tomb. Job Lot #59 is an exhibition about remaking the cerebral world through the material.
Louise Hubbard in Raft provokes memory and association with a seemingly unstable installation of found objects, simultaneously constructing and disrupting the sacred hearth - the heart of the home. The refuse of modern life, generally discarded in the recycle bin or landfill, is made into a fragile lounge-room/raft; balancing precariously it symbolizes the ostensibly implausible materials and ideas that form that fragile entity - existence. Familiar objects are transformed and re-rendered in a way that nestles them firmly into the realm of that which is remembered and recognizable, but is now a disturbing reduction of fear, waste and survival.
The contemporary home is filled with goods that quickly become obsolete, their built-in obsolescence part of not only the price but also the status of the item. Fashion dictates a fast turnover of furniture and home goods with indispensable electrical goods built only to last the length of the warranty period. Tyra Hutchens constructs quasi-figurative forms from fragments of disused office and domestic objects. These are spare parts, the intriguing panels and bits that could not thrown away upon the demise of (yet another) computer, washing machine, vacuum cleaner, kettle, toaster, printer, and fax. These objects have anthropomorphised into hybrid creatures that live somewhere between the improvised doll of childhood games and that perplexing image reflected in the bathroom mirror.
Objects designated as refuse have become revelatory through the process of being re-configured into art objects. The brightly coloured louvre style blinds in Adam Bunny's photograph Shutterbug block out the extraneous, the exterior world, in order to reveal the imagined. The blinds mimic the shutters of an SLR camera, which open and close systematically to allow a controlled exposure of the outside world. Closed, the red, blue and yellow blinds reveal a palette for the imagination in the promise of the entire colour spectrum. The outside world is an unnecessary and overly literal space compared to the limitless potential of the imagined.
In The Shower Bruce Mowson and Pia Ednie-Brown explode that most private and personal of domestic spaces: the bathroom. The viewer walks into the 'cubicle' of a giant shower-like space where he/she is then subjected to a provocative sensual and aural experience. Personal space is progressively invaded by an artificial, moving skin that 'breathes'; the translucent latex threatens to engulf the solitary occupant. This is not the safe comforting space of our daily ablutions but rather a space that challenges the primacy of the bodily functions of breathing, touching, seeing and hearing. The body in The Shower is stilled, slowed and subjected to a barrage of experiential treatments where one is systematically denied control of personal space through seemingly irrational agendas.
In Job Lot #59 fragile floating spaces amplify the frailty of our lives, anthropomorphic figures simultaneously chastise and comfort, an upright tomb promises only the most final of ablutions and a photograph of the blinds produces the imagined. Job Lot #59 disrupts mass produced imagery of domestic space. It critiques the ideas and materials that make up contemporary existence through producing an altered reflection of the familiar. It is this precarious, fleeting reflection that allows us to see.
1. The Hot House, produced by and screened on Channel 10, Australia, January - April 2004
2. 'Key parties' were popular in the 70's at which couples would partner swap through a system where they 'drew' keys from a container going home with the owner of the keys. See The Ice Storm, Ang Lee 1997
3. Changing Rooms, produced by and screened on Channel 9 Australia