KAROLINA NOVAK: The Bison In The Room
14th October to 11th November, 2009
The title of this exhibition is adapted from the well-known anecdote involving Ludwig Wittgenstein and Bertrand Russell in which the former refused to concede to the latter that there was no rhinoceros in the room they were in, insisting that ‘nothing empirical is knowable’ and that there is nothing in the world except ‘asserted propositions’.
Living with two cultures can be like living with Wittgenstein’s rhinoceros – with a living, breathing, slightly absurd thing that is concurrently present and absent, that bears a strangely symbiotic relationship with memory. What impact does it have on you when you can only access this rhinoceros through description? When you have no choice but to trust a philosopher with a quick temper and a thick accent who only refuses to admit that it is not there? And what if that rhinoceros is a bison? As a child, you embrace this animal for all its mystery, splendour, adventure and majesty. Though as you grow older and learn and understand more and more, you may realise the philosopher, and his mathematician friend, had more tricks up his sleeve, more secrets to hide, than you ever knew. And this animal may begin to fade like the colour in sun-worn fabric, diminish in presence like an evaporating puddle. It may begin to resemble a ghost of something that may have never even been, little more than some kind of benevolent phantom that the light passes right through, leaving only the feint whisper of a shadow.
This collection of works addresses personal experience of the convergence of two worlds and the dilemma of imagination afforded by such a convergence, particularly as located within the domain of childhood. It explores childhood as a terrain of malleable realities where toys can come to life and things don’t always make sense. Of particular interest are the roles of the souvenir and transitional object in the transmutation of experience over time from something very real and tangible to a memory, and from a memory to a fondly, meticulously preserved fabrication.
View more of Karolina's work here.
YVETTE COPPERSMITH: THE OPERA ROOM
14th October to 11th November, 2009
The Opera Room is a collection of paintings which combine elements of the landscape and the portrait with the backdrop of grand themes. The studies of friends and self portraits are inspired by the characters of Leo Delibes opera ‘Lakme’, which premiered in 1883 at the Paris Opera-Comique. (‘The Flower Duet’ is famous from its use in television advertising such as for British Airways.) The opera is based in 19th century British India. Unfolding is an unlikely and tragic love story between a colonial military man and a Hindu woman as each are intrigued by the exoticism of the other.
The original literary influence for the opera is ‘Le Mariage of Loti’
by Pierre Loti, born Julien Viaud. The authors’ naval career having informed his writing which is loosely autobiographical. His novels, written at a time when Orientalism was prevalent in art, inspired
Gaugin’s to visit Tahiti. Loti's house in the French town of Rochefort is now preserved as a museum. Rooms housing his collections of souvenirs from his life and travels are named The Turkish Room, The Arab Room, The Renaissance Room, The Mosque, The Chinese Room, and The Room of Egyptian Mummies.
Melbourne based Artist Yvette Coppersmith studied Fine Art at the Victorian College of the Arts. Since graduating in 2001 Coppersmith has been painting people and has been a finalist in competitions such as The Archibald 2008, 2009, the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize 2002, 2006, 2007, the Portia Geach Memorial Award 2003, 2007, 2008 and the Metro Art Award - which she won in 2003 and was a finalist 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007. Previous solo exhibitions have been at Linden St Kilda Centre for Contemporary Art, Blindside Artist Run Space, Chalk Horse, & Metro Gallery.
View more of Yvette's work here.