Out the back of Isadora Vaughan’s studio, there’s a small yard that looks onto a huge, semi-vacant lot. “They’ve been building warehouses out there,” she says. Last year, she watched as they dug enormous basalt boulders out of the ground. “There were these huge rock breakers out the back, turning these giant, giant rocks into smaller boulders.” The rocks got smaller and smaller. “They were making gravel,” she explains. “It was just one of the most amazing and insane processes.”
Vaughan likes working outside. From her spot in the yard of her Melbourne studio she can also see ponds that have been built to filter runoff before it reaches a nearby creek. “All these beautiful, very precise endemic species have been chosen and planted around it. There are reeds – a whole system,” she says. “There are these machines that are doing, on some level, these fantastical things. You can see how much destruction and chaos it’s causing, but then there’s also this industry and this real presence, despite it all, of the native flora and fauna.”
VAULT talks to choreographer Jo Lloyd about the psychology of her craft and the importance of collaboration.
“More and more, it’s the intimate relationships that happen in performance – and they’re not so obvious,” says choreographer Jo Lloyd about what interests her. “It’s the psychology behind the choreography – the psychology of the behaviour in it – and the negotiation between performers.”
Based in Melbourne, Lloyd has presented work in the Biennale of Sydney, Liveworks and Dark Mofo, as well as in New York, Japan and Hong Kong. Her works often treat dance as a form of social encounter. They are highly choreographed but involve a lot of variability and choice for performers. It’s an approach that draws out those processes of observation, modulation and response that we, as social creatures, engage in constantly, almost without thinking.
Science, geometry, séances: the extraordinary spirit world of once-forgotten artist Hilma af Klint.
Commissioned by a spirit guide, Swedish artist Hilma af Klint spent a decade of her life painting 193 works for a spiralling temple. The temple was never built, and when she died in 1944 she entrusted the works to a nephew, instructing that they not be opened for 20 years. It was a protective act. The world, she thought, was not ready for them.
These temple works were “far ahead of their time,” says Sue Cramer, the curator of The Secret Paintings, which comes to the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW) in June. “For a long time, her work was dismissed because it was spiritual, and therefore not art.”
It has been a remarkable reappraisal. In 2012, when MoMA staged its canonical exhibition Inventing Abstraction: 1910-1925, her work was not even included.
But will they? VAULT looks at the extraordinary amount of investment in bricks and mortar for the arts.
“You need that scale to convey its world class nature,” said National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) director Tony Ellwood, when the plans for the new 30,000-square-metre NGV Contemporary were announced late last year. Ellwood’s comments echoed Michael Brand in the early days of the Art Gallery of New South Wales’ (AGNSW) Sydney Modern project, when he said: “Sydney is a global city and we have to behave like a global institution.”
The $344 million Sydney Modern project is now a quarter of the way there, and is expected to open in 2022. It has been a massive public-private partnership, with AGNSW raising over $100 million. In Melbourne, the funding for the first stage of NGV Contemporary is coming out of the Victorian Government’s $1.46 billion redevelopment of the Southbank arts precinct, but now the NGV must embark on a major philanthropy campaign, too. These projects are among the largest in a raft of arts building projects across the country – from the relocation of Sydney’s Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS) and Perth’s recent $400 million Museum Boola Bardip, to the construction of new regional galleries and smaller refurbishments. Not all of these projects share Ellwood’s and Brand’s world-class ambitions, but they have a common, codified language.
Is the emerging artist label only useful for finding grants and opportunities, or can creative practitioners benefit from thinking about different phases of their practice?
There’s no consensus on what an emerging creative practice is. The Vogel Literary Award, established in 1980, is famously for authors under 35. The Museum of Contemporary Art’s annual Primavera art exhibition, founded in 1992, also stipulates 35. That link between emerging practice and youth is strong, although it is slowly changing.
‘It’s a tricky one,’ said Ruby-Rose Pivet-Marsh, the artistic director of the Emerging Writers’ Festival. People often assume the festival is just for young writers, she said, but that’s not the case. ‘We do try to program older emerging writers as well. We’re quite conscious of that.’ Full story on ArtsHub.
As galleries moved online in the pandemic some found tools that would bring them to new audiences while others missed the human connection. Jane O’Sullivan looked at how COVID-19 changed galleries forever.
‘Yes and no,’ said Artereal Gallery’s associate director Rhianna Walcott about whether she misses pre-COVID exhibition openings. She’s not the only one.
‘Exhibition openings are a lot of work,’ says Raft Artspace’s director Dallas Gold. ‘It was good to have a break.’ Full story over on ArtsHub.
Having children can radically alter an artist’s practice. I spoke to Casey Jenkins, Lucreccia Quintanilla and Marikit Santiago about family and practice – and why they decided to make work with their kids – for this longform feature in Art Guide Issue 129, Jan/Feb 2021.