Exhibition review: Jacobus Capone, Beating Heart, Fremantle Arts Centre

A solo exploration into human and environmental fragility.

As an artist who’s traversed the world’s iciest climes (such as Greenland, Finland, Iceland and more), Jacobus Capone knows a lot about cold, frozen expanses. Beating Heart draws greatly on these travels, and on the artist’s deep connections with nature. In doing so, this solo show, which spans video, textile installation and works on paper, proves both gently affecting and frigidly quiet.

As you enter a darkened gallery space to see the main part of this show, a downcast central light signals where to look. As you sit in the darkness, you’re enveloped by a series of video works which bring rays of white light and frosty environments into view. One particular panorama has a tiny black speck within its mountainous shards. It’s a little human traveller whose body flickers to life – like an itinerant ant in a desert of snow.

These wondrous little moments feel giant in scope, but alas, there aren’t enough of them to warrant watching for too long. As the screens’ slow vistas continue to fade and evolve, one starts to feel restless, as well as a little bored.

As you emerge from the main gallery and into the light, there are numerous hanging textile works floating overhead. Entitled Thanatousia (and made in collaboration with the artist’s mother Maria Gomes), these luminous works speak loudly of our inevitable fate. ‘YOU WILL DIE, WE WILL DIE,’ they proclaim on their wings. They’re an unnerving reminder of the finality of our end.

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And for the show’s final chapter there’s a gallery of paper collage works (Perdition and Prayer), which as you enter feels hard to relate to the previous works. That aside, this room’s large blue-coloured works, stamped with copper leaf symbols and hung on blue-coloured walls, are striking in shape and form. Like an ethereal hieroglyphic cavern, the space hints at the vastness of time and the permanence of life’s elemental forces.

Overall, there’s an abiding quietness to the experience of these works as they open windows to life’s fragility and the precariousness of the world. Though some of them seem distant and almost silent in strength, others are deeply resonant in their power to connect.

Jacobus Capone: Beating Heart
Fremantle Arts Centre, WA
Until 7 September 2021
Free admission

ArtsHub's Arts Feature Writer Jo Pickup is based in Perth. An arts writer and manager, she has worked as a journalist and broadcaster for media such as the ABC, RTRFM and The West Australian newspaper, contributing media content and commentary on art, culture and design. She has also worked for arts organisations such as Fremantle Arts Centre, STRUT dance, and the Aboriginal Arts Centre Hub of WA, as well as being a sessional arts lecturer at The Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA).