Intimacy, Identity

Intimacy, Identity is part of a program of contemporary Australian and international video art presented in five chapters.

Screening Program

Chiharu Shiota, Bathroom, 1999, single-channel video documentation of a performance, 3:4, black and white, sound, 5 min 9 sec

In Bathroom, Shiota sits in a bathtub and pours ink-like mud over her head and body. “I’ll never wash off the memories that are absorbed into my skin,” the artist said of the performance, her intention being to ‘merge with the earth’ in a kind of ritualistic homecoming. Shiota has adopted the philosophy of butoh (literally ‘earth dance’ or ‘mud dance’), an avant-garde Japanese form of theatre developed in the twentieth-century, in which primitive expression is a central tenet.

Gabriella Mangano and Silvana Mangano, When Mountains Move, 2018, three-channel High Definition digital video, 16:9, black and white, colour, stereo sound, 7 min 21 sec

Created during their 2018 residency at the Amori Contemporary Art Centre in Yamazaki, this video work draws inspiration from the 1911 poem by Yosano Akiko entitled The Day the Mountains Move. Published in the inaugural issue of Japan’s first all-women literary magazine Seito (Blue Stocking), Yosano’s rousing words became a rallying call for Japan’s nascent feminist movement, calling on all the sleeping women to awaken, like a mountain transformed into a volcano.

Oliver Beer, Composition for Mouths (Songs my mother taught me) I, 2018, single-channel video, sound, 4 min 10 sec

Composition for Mouths (Songs My Mother Taught Me) I is a filmed vocal performance. In pairs, four singers use a new, physical vocalisation technique. Locking their lips, each pair forms a single, collaborative vocal cavity, breathing and reverberating together. “I asked them to find each other’s resonant frequencies, like I’d done with architecture,” says Beer. As two voices converge, the singers produce the phenomenon of ‘beating’, a “violent, interesting and almost percussive” throbbing effect, caused by the friction of adjacent frequencies. Composition is both a two-headed instrument and a radically intimate duet.

Angelica Mesiti, Rapture (silent anthem), 2009, single-channel High Definition video, 16:9, colour, silent 10 minutes 10 seconds

In Rapture (silent anthem), the artist has pointed her camera into a crowd of youths enthralled by a performance that is out of view. The work is silent. This ambiguity eventually gives way to an appreciation of the slowed-down action that unfolds. The decision to focus on facial expressions creates a directness with the viewer and imparts a spiritual quality. This is further enhanced by the glowing colours of wet skin, and by the shifting gestures of the crowd as they collectively express the intense emotion of idolisation.

Shaun Gladwell, The Sunlight School, 2015, single-channel High Definition video, 16:9, colour, silent, 7 min 32 sec

This video originally featured in The Lacrima Chair, a commission by the Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation in 2015. As with other components of this project, The Sunlight School makes obvious and abstruse references to flight, distance, cultural translation and the notion of function in art. This particular video was inspired by the pioneering Australian aviator Nancy Bird-Walton, a pioneering aviatrix and founder and patron of the Australian Women Pilots’ Association.

Co-curated by Kelli Alred and Anna Schwartz Gallery.

Presented in partnership with Anna Schwartz Gallery.

This event has now finished

Date

Wed 4 Sep
4–5pm

Venue

Accessibility

The venue requires stair access

Entry

Free

Biographies

Oliver Beer

Oliver Beer works at the intersection of architecture, sound and image, exploring the connections between space, objects and acoustics. Informed by his training in fine art, musical composition and film theory, his projects – often taking the form of large-scale installations, live performances, sculpture and video – are research based and use original techniques to test and manipulate the experience of sound.

Shaun Gladwell

Shaun Gladwell’s practice engages personal experience and a wider speculation of art history to examine the dynamics of contemporary culture. Gladwell transposes forms of urban expression such as skateboarding, graffiti, BMX bicycle riding, break-dancing and extreme sports into the multiple mediums of his practice. These performances, videos, paintings, photographs, sculptures and virtual reality works make discursive investigations into forms of creativity and notions of freedom.

Gabriella Mangano and Silvana Mangano

Gabriella Mangano and Silvana Mangano have largely worked collaboratively throughout their artistic careers. This is a central focus for their work, with their similar selves featuring as a starting point for ideas and actions. Their performances and videos explore the relationship between the body and its ability to form a connection with objects, time and space. This is communicated in the artists’ work through subtle gestures, physical intimacy and interactions with immediate environments.

Angelica Mesiti

Angelica Mesiti has long been fascinated by performance: as a mode of storytelling and a means to express social ideas in physical form. In recent years she has been making videos that reveal how culture is manifested through non-linguistic forms of communication, and especially through vocabularies of sound and gesture. While borrowing archetypes and stylistic cues from cinema, and using the visual language of film to present detailed studies of human subjects in heightened states of reverie or reflection, Mesiti’s works eschew linearity. Instead, she uses a rich, aesthetic treatment to uncover the transformative potential of all human beings, valuing the qualities of ambiguity and indeterminacy in their own right.

Chiharu Shiota

Chiharu Shiota is best known for intricate and large-scale installations that explore complex relationships between body and mind. She maps elusive sensations of emotion and memory by weaving tangible objects – clothing, musical instruments, furniture, letters, and even an incinerated piano – into extensive, tangled webs created with hundreds of metres of delicate thread. By capturing objects in this way, the artist creates atmospheric, otherworldly environments that inspire reflection on things past and meditation on future dreams.

Image

Oliver Beer, Composition for Mouths (Songs My Mother Taught Me) II, 2018, single-channel video, sound, 4 minutes 5 seconds, edition of 3 + 2AP. © Oliver Beer. Courtesy the artist and Anna Schwartz Gallery.

This event has now finished

Date

Wed 4 Sep
4–5pm

Venue

Anna Schwartz Gallery
185 Flinders Lane
Melbourne VIC 3000

Accessibility

The venue requires stair access

Entry

Free