Article in conjunction with FELTspace Writers Program
SUBSTRUCTURES / TO ADELAIDE – MAY 2018
ARTISTS: ELEANOR AMOR / LUKE ALEKSANDROW
AUTHOR – LETTI K-EWING
Support structures underpin the spaces we comfortably inhabit and enjoy but rarely do we give thought to the laborious processes behind them. Support structures too reinforce the human relationships we ourselves build and are forced to repair, but rarely do we savour the fruits of our labour.
Eleanor Amor’s Substructures seeks to forefront the support systems behind every day life we take for granted. Amor’s diffuse concrete and steel works are appropriated from their construction site context, and laid bare as disparate pieces that are devoid of a whole. Among foundations and scaffolding they appear unremarkable, but they perform remarkably when in an applied state, through reciprocal efforts to support one another and uphold a longstanding structure. Amor’s literal division of labour conveys the effort, both the extreme and seemingly minute, which is often overlooked and forgotten between human relationships, as well as the relationships people have with their own homes.
We walk and ride around our small city without directing our admiration beyond the facades of newly reclaimed spaces and commissioned art spaces. Beneath Adelaide’s reworking into a recognised visual arts hub, the inner working of a city’s renewed vitality goes wilfully unnoticed.
What is underneath? What are the forgotten processes behind a transformative society? Furthermore, what societal values are pushed aside and forgotten in the process? Amor unearths these questions and petitions viewers to ponder answers that transcend the physical – digging deeper into the human psyche and society as a whole.
Luke Aleksandrow’s To Adelaide journeys a cross-country drive from Canberra to Adelaide concerning the silence of our environment intercut with sudden, shattering breakages of impressively glazed ceramics.
Silence and stillness are not typically synonymous with an objectified state of wonder. It takes a disruption to overturn the balance and shift focus to the particular strain of silence that follows a purposeful disturbance. In a ‘blink-or-you’ll-miss-it’ fashion, Aleksandrow swiftly drops a ceramic ware onto the hard bitumen where he stands. The sudden sound pulls immediate attention and, true to intention, the ensuing silence becomes the primary focus of the video. The shattered remnants of the ceramic pieces are fashioned into a neat, glazed pile within the Back Gallery space, and the ordered destruction is almost hilariously painful in Australia’s newfound appreciation for pottery.
With Australia’s country landscape framing this activity, Aleksandrow creates a permeating silence that demands attention over the accustomed and sought-out white noise of our environments.
Image credit: Luke Aleksandrow, ‘To Adelaide’, 2018, digital video still of video, length 24:58secs