MUMA, Victoria

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Nicholas Mangan
Limits to Growth

Edited by Aileen Burns, Charlotte Day, Krist Gruijthuijsen, Johan Lundh
Texts by Max Andrews and Mariana Cánepa Luna (Latitudes), Helen Hughes, Ana Teixeira Pinto

This publication accompanies Australian multidisciplinary artist Nicholas Mangan’s survey exhibition “Limits to Growth.” The exhibition and book bring together four of Mangan’s most significant works of the past seven years, alongside a new commission. The works in the show tackle narratives from his own geographical region—Asia Pacific, in which his home country of Australia plays a colonial role—and weaves them into a bigger picture to take into account the global economy, resource extraction, and the ultimate power of the sun. Featuring an in-depth series of conversations between the artist and the Barcelona-based curatorial collective Latitudes, and essays by Ana Teixeira Pinto and Helen Hughes, this publication is richly illustrated with documentation of Mangan’s artworks and historical source material.

Copublished with the Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane; KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin; and Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne
Design by Žiga Testen

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Technologism


Catalogue published to accompany the exhibition Technologism, at Monash University Museum of Art (MUMA) in Melbourne, 3 Oct – 12 Dec 2015, curated by Charlotte Day.

Artists: Cory Arcangel (US), Dara Birnbaum (US), Chris Burden (US), Ian Burns (AU), Antoinette J. Citizen (AU), Simon Denny (NZ), Jan Dibbets (NL), Aleksandra Domanović (SI/DE), Harun Farocki (DE), Benjamin Forster (AU), Isa Genzken (DE), Greatest Hits (AU), Martijn Hendriks (NL), Lynn Hershman Leeson (US), Matt Hinkley (AU), Jenny Holzer (US), Edward Kienholz & Nancy Reddin Kienholz (US), Oliver Laric (AT), Mark Leckey (UK), Scott Mitchell (AU), Rabih Mroué (LB), Henrik Olesen (DK), Nam June Paik (KR/US), Nam June Paik & John Godfrey (US), Joshua Petherick (AU), Matte Rochford (AU), Jill Scott (AU), Richard Serra (US), John F. Simon Jr. (US), Brian Springer (US), Hito Steyerl (DE), Ricky Swallow (AU), Jeff Thompson (US), Pia van Gelder (AU), Ulla Wiggen (US) and Dennis Wilcox (AU)

MUMA concludes its three-part series on watershed moments in art history — Reinventing the Wheel: the readymade century and Art as a Verb — with Technologism, a major group exhibition bringing together forty-three historical and contemporary artworks, including several new commissions from Australian practitioners. Technologism wrestles with the profound cultural, social and political impact technology has made on art since the 1960s.

Conservative cul-de-sac’s of the community are often sceptical of technology and its ever increasing presence in our lives. However many artists — with a natural propensity for constant upheaval — have whole-heartedly embraced radical changes in technology over the last sixty years. Featuring artworks that engage both physically and conceptually with electronic systems — television, computers, the internet, smartphones — Technologism focuses on the ways artists critique and disrupt official uses of the media, or construct their own machines and data systems.

Riffing off both the aesthetic and conceptual characteristics of technology, artists in Technologism document technology’s advancement in a plethora of ways: Ulla Wiggen’s intricate paintings of circuit boards from the mid 1960s, see the development of an aesthetic inspired by the complex intersection of electrical wires, connectors and components, working to manipulate and rewire the physicality of technology; some thirty years later, John F. Simon’s Art Appliances series of the 1990s uses the circuitry of small LCD screens to disrupt pictures and patterns, recreating them over; in Matte Rochford’s video Progressively Degrading Test Pattern 2013, humble VHS tapes are copied and recopied, in a process of metaphysical reduction; while in Joshua Petherick’s new work, one technology is employed to record another soon to be superseded, revealing new visual dimensions and the ‘ghosts in the machine’.

A story of advancement inevitably turns into obsolescence, and Technologism seeks to document the early use of broadcast technology as a way of bridging the gap (and finding a space) between the image on the screen, the physical presence of the viewer, and the broader community. Jan Dibbet’s TV as a Fireplace 1968, documents television as a collective experience — even if viewers were separated physically, they were united through time and space like pre-historic cave-dwellers by a communal broadcast. However with the advent of the internet, personal computer devices and streaming services, technology has again changed the relationship we have with the world around us to a more singular yet proliferating existence.

A history of DIY jamming and hacking presents the way artists have continued to subvert conventional uses of technology and challenge the status-quo, from the internet as militarily-designed, to corporately-exploited, civilian-employed, artistically-manipulated, and back again. For instance, Lynn Hershman Leeson’s work investigates how media is used as a tool for censorship and political repression, while Simon Denny’s work co-opts the aesthetic and rhetoric of language of multinational corporations in order to question their power. In presenting these works and others, Technologism seeks to consider what is the value of such subversion, or is it merely a perpetuation of the problem?

Artist Hito Steyerl asks, ‘is the internet dead?’ Although, hyperbolic in its prognosis, Technologism recognises that sceptical questions such as this are an important part of how artistic practice negotiates technological advancement. Technologism proceeds from the idea that technology in all its forms, physical and immaterial, needs to be interrogated in order to be perpetually remade.

Technologism considers changes in infrastructure, such as telecommunication networks and the internet, and the cultural implications of technological innovation and considers from the position of the developers of these technologies as well as from the end user. Technologism asks ‘how does technology effect artistic practice?’ As well as, ‘how can artistic practice effect technology?’

Fully illustrated catalogue features texts by Charlotte Day, Philip Brophy, Bridget Crone and Sean Dockray. Designed by Yanni Florence.

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Linda Marrinon
Figure Sculpture 2005-2015


Linda Marrinon “Figure Sculpture” is a new hardcover monograph published on the occasion of the major survey exhibition of the same name held at MUMA (Monash University Museum of Art), 11 July – 19 September 2015, curated by Charlotte Day.

A key figure in Australian art since the mid-1980s, Linda Marrinon has developed an idiosyncratic language of painting and drawing steeped in postmodernist irony and feminist wit. Over the last decade, Marrinon has concentrated her attention on a significant body of entrancing and enigmatic figurative sculptures, forty-eight of which are brought together from public and private collections around Australia at the Monash University Museum of Art for Linda Marrinon: Figure Sculpture 2005-2015.

Like many of her peers who established their reputations in the 1980s, Marrinon draws her references from both ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture, presenting a series of archetypes, intermingling soldiers, maids, matrons, ingénues, twins, travellers, intellectuals, performers, peasants and the privileged with a handful of identities ranging from Voltaire to Field Marshal Montgomery to Dame Joan Sutherland to MC Hammer. Marrinon casually pulls these subjects from a floating archive of objects, people, places and histories.

The texture of Marrinon’s artworks, laden with traces of the artist’s hand and sculpture tools, is reminiscent of the sculptures of Edgar Degas or Auguste Rodin, while their subjects evoke the mannerisms of the Regency, Victorian or Edwardian periods. Marrinon redeploys nineteenth-century studio practices, and the historical association of plaster casts with the serious study of classical antiquities, in her own whimsical subversion of the genre. Like characters from archaic forms of popular theatre, her figures are equipped with stage properties or articles of clothing by which they can be identified, sometimes simply by high-waisted pants or long sleeves, or more obscurely with a postiche or a shillelagh. The figures are dressed up but perhaps not for the music hall stage; Marrinon reinterprets the ideas, contemporaneous with Impressionism, of the new visibility of urban life and the flâneur into a contemporary sea of selfies and self-performance with which her audience is familiar.

ALongside colour reproductions of her sculptural works in the exhibition, the catalogue features texts by Charlotte Day, Robyn McKenzie and Julie Ewington.

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Juan Davila
The Moral Meaning of Wilderness


Heavily-illustrated with Chilean/Australian artist Juan Davila’s paintings in full-colour, this catalogue was produced on the occasion of Davila’s solo exhibition “The Moral Meaning of Wilderness” at Monash University Museum of Art | MUMA Caulfield campus, 4 August – 1 October 2011. Includes essays by Dr. Kate Briggs, and a conversation with Juan Davila.

The Moral Meaning of Wilderness features recent work by Juan Davila, one of Australia’s most distinguished artists. The exhibition sees Davila turn to the genres of landscape and history painting, at a time when the environment is as much a political as a cultural consideration. With technical virtuosity, Davila’s striking representations of nature achieve monumental significance, depicting beauty and emotion while addressing modern society’s ambivalence to nature and increasing consumerism.

The Moral Meaning of Wilderness represents a radical shift in Davila’s practice, whilst continuing to explore art’s relationship to nature, politics, identity and subjectivity in our post-industrial age. Davila pursues his exploration of the role of art as a means of social, cultural and political analysis. While many contemporary artists turned away from representation of the landscape, due to its perceived allegiance to outmoded forms of national identity and representation, Davila has recently sought to revisit and reconsider our surroundings au natural.

His paintings are, at first view, striking representations of nature. The paintings, created since 2003, are undertaken en plain air, a pre-modern technique based on speed of execution in situ, and the use of large scale canvases characteristic of history painting. He has also employed other techniques such as studio painting and representations of the landscape with reference to the sublime, the historical, memory and modernity.

Presented in association with Drill Hall Gallery, The Australian National University, and Griffith University Art Gallery.

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