synthetic/aesthetic

28 April – 2 June 2007

Artists: Shane Dunn, Biljana Jancic, Belinda Lai, Owen Leong, Tim Richardson, Todd Robinson, Alice Wesley-Smith and Monika Tichacek.

synthetic/aesthetic is a exhibition which explores the intersection of the body, fashion, photography and art. Timed to coincide with Rosemount Australia Fashion Week 30 April  – 4 May 2007 (formerly Mercedes Australian Fashion Week) the exhibition will provide a counterpoint to the mainstream event, challenging existing notions of beauty and physical identity in Australian society. The works in this exhibition explore serious personal and conceptual concerns and are beautiful and alluring, but in unexpected and sometimes confronting ways.


Shane Dunn’s work Fripe, a Dior-style ball gown, is constructed entirely of shopping bags from high-end labels such as Hermes, Chanel and Prada. Dunn’s theatrical and humorous work comments on how labels construct the temporal and fragile identity we present to other people.

Sydney based artist Biljana Jancic has created a giant wearable capsule made from freezer bags. In this work she literally tosses between the function of the material and its materiality in relation to her body. The light penetrating the capsule captures the aesthetics of the artist’s work, whilst giving us tantalising glimpses of the artist’s own body.

Artist Belinda Lai’s work reveals stages and events of a woman’s life through her elongated four-part garment. The work builds on the conceptual pattern of layering fabric embodying the notions of Beauty, Innocence, Experience and Grace. The notion of female experience is made a process much like the act of making a garment.

Sydney based artist Owen Leong’s work challenges our understanding of self-representation in photography that is strange and eye-catching. He continues to explore the layers of his identity as an Australian with Chinese heritage.

Photographer Tim Richardson’s work comments on the commercial tradition of fashion photography – the female figure. His work draws reference from Duchamp’s Nude Descending A Staircase.

Former fashion designer turned artist Todd Robinson presents to us works that are concerned with the  fundamentals of a material – its tactility and sensuousness. His work acknowledges the inherent beauty and simplicity of material with stark honesty.

Photographer Alice Wesley-Smith’s work converses with Belinda Lai’s through it’s concern with layers as well. However, Wesley-Smith’s work rather than building upon layers, deconstructs them. Her photographic series is a poetic take on female identity concealed and revealed.

Artist Monika Tichacek’s self-portrait first draws attention with the strength and beauty of her physical presence and perseverance, her work explores and exposes constructs of femininity and its inextricable link to body.

Header Image: Biljana Jancic, Untitled (wearable sculpture), 2007, performance

Exhibition documentation

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Tim Richardson, The Descent, diptych, C-print photograph

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Todd Robinson, sightlessness (Mez), 2005-6, DVD, duration 6:10 minutes.

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L-R: Belinda Lai & Alice Wesley-Smith,  Untitled, 2007, duraclear with satin laminate; Beauty, 2007, silk chiffon, steel pins; Innocence, 2007, cotton voile, lace; Experience, 2007, cotton voile; Grace, 2007, cotton voile;  Photo Series, 2007, large format inkjet prints

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Biljana Jancic, Untitled 1-3, 2007, colour photographs

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Shane Dunn, FRIPE, 2007, bags: Bally, Burberry, Escada, Fendi, Faultier, Gerog Jensen, Gucci, Hermes, Oscar de la Renta, Prada, Salvatore Ferragamo, Tiffany & Co., Yves Saint Laurent, Versace

L-R: Biljana Jancic, Untitled (wearable sculpture), 2007, freezer bags; Owen Leong, Internal Contradiction 2, 2004, lambda print, Internal Contradiction 4, 2004, lambda print.