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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Four New Exhibitions at West Space

Four new exhibitions at the CBD’s West Space will leave you hyperaware of yourself amidst unfamiliar surroundings.
By Lauren Vadnjal
April 22, 2013
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By Lauren Vadnjal
April 22, 2013
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When you first step into the gallery at West Space, a ringing sound will signify your entrance. Don't let it inflate your ego — tracking movements within the space and it's surrounding environments, the bell is also set off by the sun setting, a window opening or someone going to the toilet. The kinetic installation is Nick Selenitsch and Arlo Mountford’s Timing (or: What is the secret to good comedy?), one of four new exhibitions at West Space. The sculptural machines in the middle of the room — 10 in total, one for each finger — are hooked up to a series of sensors that aurally trace the everyday movements of the gallery and the city outside. The familiar and the mundane create a rhythmic composition.

You are consciously aware of this tracking of movement as you move into the next exhibition, Vivian Cooper Smith’s Year of the Savage. Although unsure of what gory details this year entailed, it becomes clear that Smith himself is the savage — his distorted photographic self-portraits cry out with a sense of confusion and lack of identity. The portraits are fragmented, a Nietzschean jigsaw of himself. This is embodied in the floor-based ‘Timeless’ and the way he superimposes fragments of his own face onto famous Film Noir portraits in an attempt to connect with something or someone.

Screen Insight is the latest project from artist Tim Woodward. As with his previous work, which is concerned with cultural objects and their uses in society, Woodward explores the mechanics of television and cinema. Set up like a television studio ready for an interview, the 90s-era TV flickers through excerpts of film and in-depth commentary from Australian actor Damien Cassidy.

Hiding behind a busted-in paper doorway (that you may have to duck to get through), is the fourth exhibition on the gallery, Oscar Perry’s Home Honey, I’m High. While at first it may seem as though you’ve stumbled into an unkempt art studio, once your eyes adjust you begin to see that Perry’s abstract paintings and sculptures represent drunken method and intoxicated mimicry. His collection of work explores the traditional Chinese martial arts technique Zui Quan, a style of fighting that finds unlikely strength and power in intoxicated movement. Not your average display of sloshed unco-ordination,  the techniques are highly aerobic, considered and precise. Where earthy abstract pieces with protruding logs and a spanner suspended from the roof may seem simply thrown together, they are in fact the result of Perry’s careful consideration and allow for an intricate depiction of the drunkard scene, reinterpreted.

From savages to drunks each of these four exhibitions at West Space are diverse, yet all deal with the same sense of hyper self-awareness of an individual within a city of others.

Image Vivian Cooper Smith

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