Curated by Mitchell Donaldson
Featuring work by:
Text by Mitchell Donaldson
Image courtesy Fairy Turner
Contemporary Sculpture in Context aims to extend and transform our comprehension of sculptural objects, particularly as a result of their translation to images. I am interested in the potential for the context of an online exhibition to further our understanding of artworks not normally presented as images. I have chosen the work of three sculptural practitioners for the way their work reads in photographs and the relationship of this unique visual register to their material approach.
The constructions of Fairy Turner are consciously designed to blur the boundary between two and three dimensions. Turner’s process appears to move from the flat plane of a drawing or painting to a three dimensional sculpture: a Cubist thought manifested as object. Photographic documentation iterates this process a step further, back to the plane.
For Jordan Azcune’s installations, photographic documentation has a somewhat different effect. The still capture of movement in White caps (surrender) suggests an uncanny aspect to the organic motion of a flag. Conflating this with the use of repetition in his work generally, Azcune's specific recognizable objects become abstracted. The meanings constructed by these installations in a physical context are noticeably altered by their deconstruction in the photographic process, removing the literal depth of perception.
Finally, Zoe Knight’s documentation provides a similarly distinct photographic vantage point. Shot from a lower angle and out of a broader gallery context, her work is monumental. In contrast to their slight and understated presence the images are a façade of the works: the result of offering one specific visual perspective.
Adopting a single perspective raises a particular issue that is reflected in this exhibition. The exercise of looking at sculpture in two dimensions problematizes the viewer’s experience of the whole object. In recognizing the limitations of viewing images online, the limitations of a physical context are highlighted, as a logical consequence. Though it may appear as if sculptures are best read in the round, I conject that complete understanding of an object can never fully be realised. The online context presents simply another way of knowing these works.