Curated by Julia Powles, this group exhibition is a divergent response to the concept of commencement.
‘What is a start? If starting does not occur at an exact moment – and who among us can precisely determine that instance – it may be that starting that is in fact a durational activity; that starting might more accurately be perceived as a space that one enters in to.’ – from the exhibition text by curator Julia Powles

Start at BLINDSIDE offers a space to enter into a complex and conceptual interpretation of the ambiguities of what it means to start.

BLINDSIDE has become the site of impetus, of beginning, and of questioning the modes of beginning. Curated by Julia Powles, the group exhibition, currently showing, is a divergent response to the concept of commencement. The theme, simultaneously expansive yet specific, creates a compelling underpinning for highly conceptual responses from artists Boe-Lin Bastian, Jessie Bullivant, Craig Burgess, CJ Conway, Darren Munce and Makiko Yamamoto.

One of the more noteworthy facets of the premises at BLINDSIDE, other than going up seven levels, through a door, around a corner, then through another door, is the window looking directly down on Flinders Street station and Federation Square. The view provides an almost perfect distillation of the trope of ‘busy thriving city’. In front of this window we are presented with the methodically timed, mechanically spinning contraption both/and by Conway. Salt grains are spread over a large surface on the floor. A paintbrush mesmerizingly inscribes a circular pattern in the salt, only to be partially erased again in repetition. The pace of the work, as it rotates slowly, defines the slow pace of our interaction with it. It imbues the space with the pace of thoughtful contemplation, creating a contrast with the rush of the city just outside the window.

Munce presents a series of paintings titled Protester depicting an unknown figure, at times faceless, punctuated by a tiny figurine which could almost be looked over. The scale of the figurine encourages an intimate interaction with it, and upon closer inspection we realise this is the same subject as depicted in the painting.

A still from a movie called Start With Asking by Burgess (with Daniel Belfield), and selected abstract pencil drawings on paper provide, at least in the title, the most ostensible connection with the theme.

Through to the second room, dangling headphones invite an experience with the unknown to take place. Yamamoto’s series Three things present the audience with sound-based works that are simultaneously intriguing and unnerving. An odd assortment of sounds that reflect notions of repetition, interaction and process, take the listener on a sonic journey that encompasses a feeling of both unease and familiarity.

Ground Work (Palace of Art Centre for Elite Athletes) is a video by Bastian which appropriates an almost operatic aesthetic framework to beautifully present the artistry of bodies in motion whilst wrestling.

Easy to miss, but equally impossible to avoid, is Bullivant’s work. May God Bless Her and All Who Sail In Her and to stop are the champagne tinted colour on the walls, and the installed door stop that holds open the door in the entrance way respectively. Referencing the ceremonial tradition of smashing a bottle of champagne on a ship as she takes her maiden voyage, the work highlights its context without being site-specific; it acts as a platform for all the other works, without affecting their independent meaning.

Start builds a highly conceptual narrative. While it takes time to engage with all the works on a meaningful level, beginning to do so is just part of a very worthwhile journey.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Curated by Julia Powles
Featuring works by Boe-Lin Bastian, Jessie Bullivant, Craig Burgess, CJ Conway, Darren Munce and Makiko Yamamoto
Gallery One & Two, BLINDSIDE, Melbourne
September 5 – 22

Sheena Colquhoun

Friday 14 September, 2012

About the author

Sheena Colquhoun is a Melbourne based interdisciplinary artist and writer, currently undertaking a Bachelor of Visual Arts with a sculpture major.