What are art schools for? by Justin Trendall — 22 September to 14 October 2006


Thanks to: Colin Rhodes Dean and Director Sydney College of the Arts for opening the exhibition.

Cross Conversation: 'What are art schools for?', Saturday 14 October 2006, 3pm.


What are art schools for? by Justin Trendall:

Artworks by Justin Trendall function as both theoretical writings and decorative objects. What are art schools for? is an exhibition about  the crossroads where the hopes of individuals and institutional desire  must  confront  their  dilemmas. Trendall  chose  a  recent   history of  Sydney  College of the Arts, where he works, as his raw material and world mirror. Justin Trendall lays out the conundrum lying close to the heart of contemporary cultural institutions: how can things existing in flux be given fixed forms and vice versa?

The show is part of Justin Trendall’s Monuments series of exhibitions, a project which translates cultural phenomena into three-dimensional map-like structures. He draws on architectural drawings from the European enlightenment and visionary politics over the past  250  years to create fantastical maps and intricate plans; neo-classical monuments and surreal formations have facades rendered in text and pattern-printed or painted onto cloth or paper or other material. In many images web-like formations of names float, descend or are stacked across the picture plane as if simultaneously ruin and potential edifice.

Justin Trendall posits that utopian thinking still lingers in the political and institutional discourses of our own time. This artwork directs our attention towards the many art schools currently facing rationalisation by way of mergers, identity change, cost cutting or internal charging. The text is produced by surveying some current participants and practitioners. Despite coercion and cautions we still dream of a better world realised through institutions.



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What are art schools for? by Justin Trendall (DVD still)