Australian Studies: Fiona Macdonald and Spiros Panigirakis — 23 August to 20 September 2014
Dates 23 August to 20 September 2014
Opening 3pm Saturday 23 August
‘There is no Australian art, but there are Australian issues with which art concerns itself.’
Australian Studies is a collaborative project that continues the turn to publication in the work of Fiona Macdonald and Spiros Panigirakis. The publication is the first of a series that reconsiders the histories and signatures of art practice in Australia since 1977. The Cross Art Projects is used as a site for the layout of the publication.
Australian Studies works from the perspective of the gallery as a ‘presentation device’; the first issue of the publication Australian Studies (Volume 1, August 2014) is displayed alongside customised furniture, architectural elements and a suite of prints. These gallery and print components are intended to ‘structure’ a closer reading of the work of Juan Davila, the Chilean/Australian artist and writer. A point of emphasis is Davila’s painting, Stupid as a Painter, which was seized by police on grounds of obscenity at the 4th Biennale of Sydney, Vision in Disbelief, in 1982.
The circumstances that surround censorship and related questions of power and visibility inform the publication and the exhibition. The events of 1982 are referenced by the inclusion of four schematic structures — the screen, the painting stretcher, the plinth and the linen cushions. The screen which blocks one’s view in and out of the gallery replicates the screens used to cover Stupid as a Painter after its negotiated return to the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
The stretcher takes the dimensions of the disputed work. The cushions and the plinth are intended as shapes of resistance to the coopting of painting into interior décor and into late-Modern museological conventions. While these devices have been fabricated in an exacting manner, their ‘blankness’ points to the wider ongoing ‘absence’ that is signified by this act of suppression. Macdonald’s and Panigirakis’s investigations propose a correlation between the spatial arrangement of the gallery and the historical and political tracings present in the pages of Australian Studies and in their prints.
The installation Australian Studies draws on Panigirakis’s and Macdonald’s interest in how institutional structures and subjective identities frame one another and in the role of the ‘remake’ in contemporary art. The publication or artist book, Australian Studies, sits in a reading area within the gallery space and brings together contributions by artists, cultural commentators and art historians with a focus on discourses relating to transgressive identities and social liberation. It reflects a turn to publication in Macdonald’s and Panigirakis’s work and in the activities of many of their contemporaries.
A selection of reference books is available for viewing in the gallery including the catalogue of the 4th Biennale of Sydney.
Fiona Macdonald and Spiros Panigirakis, PLINTH, 2014. Mdf, acrylic, 200 x 30 x 30 cm and STRETCHER, 2014. Hoop pine & acrylic, 240 x 195 cm with crossbars.
Australian Studies view of Fiona Macdonald and Spiros Panigirakis, CUSHIONS, SCREEN and STAND and STOOL, all 2014.
Australian Studies view of Fiona Macdonald and Spiros Panigirakis, SCREEN 2014. Masonite and timber, acrylic, 5 panels 180 x 70 cm
Fiona Macdonald and Spiros Panigirakis, CUSHIONS, stuffed linen, 80 x 50 cm
Fiona Macdonald, Metaschema (Detail), 2014 , 84 x 60 cm. Unframed, ed of 5.
Fiona Macdonald, Subschema (Detail), 2014, 84 x 60 cm. Unframed, ed of 5.
Fiona Macdonald, Metachema (Black on White) (Detail), 2014, 86 x 60 cm. Unframed, ed of 5.
Spiros Panigirakis, STUPID I (2014) (Detail), 84 x 60 cm. Unframed, ed of 5.
Spiros Panigirakis, STUPID III (2014) (Detail), 84 x 60 cm. Unframed, ed of 5.
Spiros Panigirakis, STUPID II (2014) (Detail), 84 x 60 cm. Unframed, ed of 5.
About the artist/publishers
Fiona Macdonald and Spiros Panigirakis are Melbourne-based artists who have shown collaboratively at Project Space/Spare Room, Melbourne, CAST Hobart, 2008 and in Collected Collaborations at MUMA Project Space in 2011. They also worked collaboratively on the CLUBS project publication, Gratuitous Intent in 2008. They work in the Fine Art Department at the Faculty of Art Design and Architecture at Monash University.
Fiona Macdonald’s recent exhibitions include Power to the People: contemporary conceptualism and the object in art at ACCA (2011); Appointments, Sarah Scout (2013); and CATALOGUE FILM PROCESS, Margaret Lawrence Gallery (forthcoming 2014).
Spiros Panigirakis has shown in Melbourne Now at the NGV (2013), A Tentative Sign at Plinth Projects (2013), Some Reading at Westspace (2012), Ferntree Gully at Sarah Scout (2010), Studio Conditions at Margaret Lawrence Gallery, Victorian College of the Arts (2008), Without at Gertrude Contemporary Art Space (2006). He is represented by Sarah Scout, Melbourne.
Australian Studies Title Page, Fiona Macdonald and Spiros Panigirakis, 2014