Chapter One: Thinking through it

PEACOCK GALLERY, AUBURN. 15 September – 21 October 2018.

Opening: Saturday 15 September 2018, 1:30 – 3:30pm.

As part of the 2018 Curators’ Intensive presented by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art two emerging curators have been selected to curate an exhibition at Peacock Gallery.

Chapter One: Thinking through it is a project curated by Sabrina Baker that exists as a reading room, research space and open studio. Artists have contributed things that influence their working methods and you’re invited to dive into their practice through the stacks of books taken from bedside tables and studio desks, the photographs, knick knacks and stuff that feeds into the development of their work.

Hannah Donnelly, Thea Jones, Shivanjani Lal, Nikki Lam, Anja Loughhead, Stephen Pham, and Jason Phu work with different materials and methods to craft works that explore place in relation to the self.

Each of the artists explore themes of personal identity and myth making with a grounding in being both inside and outside of their local environments – where they are now and where they have been before.

Club 4A

MELBOURNE 17 FEBRUARY & SYDNEY 23 FEBRUARY, 2018

Rainbow Chan, Amrita Hepi and DEADKEBAB (Japan) headline Club 4A in Sydney and Melbourne this Lunar New Year.

 

In February, 4A takes performance art back to the club. 4A has been working with some of the most exciting and adventurous performance artists over recent years and in 2018 we leave the confines of the white cube and venture into the darkness of the club! For one night only, Club 4A in Sydney and Melbourne will present some of Australia’s leading performance artists as well as acclaimed international acts.

In Melbourne on Saturday 17 February as part of White Night, Club 4A takes over the Toff in Town with Rainbow Chan, Amrita Hepi and DEADKEBAB (Japan), with additional artists: Makeda, Strict Face, Jalé , and Coris.

In Sydney on Friday 23 February, head down to Dynasty Karaoke to see with Rainbow Chan, Amrita Hepi and DEADKEBAB (Japan), supported by Slim Set, Tzekin (V Kim), and Jikuroux  and Coris (DJ).

Tickets for Club 4A Sydney have officially SOLD OUT.

SET TIMES

Doors: 7.00pm
Coris x Amrita Hepi: 7.00pm
Slim Set: 8.00pm
DEADKEBAB & PSYCHIC$: 9.00pm
Rainbow Chan: 10.00pm
Tzekin: 11.00pm
Jikuroux: 12.00am
DJ Plead: 1.00am
DJs b2b2b2…..: 2.00am – close

 

LISTEN // CLUB 4A Melbourne Mix // 17 Feb 2018

 

LISTEN // CLUB 4A Sydney  Mix // 23 Feb 2018

SUPERPOSITION: Equilibrium and Engagement – 21st Biennale of Sydney

SYDNEY. 16 MARCH – 11 JUNE 2018.

 

21st Biennale of Sydney

SUPERPOSITION: Equilibrium & Engagement

16 March – 11 June, 2018

4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art and other venues

Artistic Director: Mami Kataoka

 

SUPERPOSITION: Equilibrium & Engagement will examine the theory of ‘superposition’ by investigating how it might operate in the world today. 70 leading international artists – chosen to offer a panoramic view of how opposing interpretations, can come together – will participate across seven venues. The exhibition at Artspace, Sydney will feature exceptional new projects by a diverse field of celebrated international artists.

 

Exhibiting artists at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art:

Akira Takayama: Born 1969 in Saitama, Japan. Lives and works in Tokyo, Japan; Yokohama, Japan; and Frankfurt, Germany
Jun Yang: Born 1975 in Qingtian, China. Lives and works in Vienna, Austria; Taipei, Taiwan; and Yokohama, Japan

 

Biennale of Sydney

2018 marks the 45th anniversary of the Biennale of Sydney and its twenty-first edition. The Biennale provides a platform for art and ideas and is recognised for commissioning and presenting innovative, thought-provoking art from Australia and around the globe. A leading international art event, The Biennale of Sydney has showcased the work of nearly 1,800 artists from more than 100 countries. It has attracted over 4 million visitors since its inception in 1973 and holds an important place on both the national and international stage.

The Biennale of Sydney is located on the traditional lands of the Gadigal people of the Eora nation. We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the Land and pay respect to Elders, both past and present.

 

Mami Katoka, Artistic Director

Internationally renowned curator Mami Kataoka is a key figure in analysing socio-historical and generational trends, particularly in the context of Japanese and Asian art, and frequently writes and lectures on contemporary art in Asia.

She has held the position of Chief Curator of the Mori Art Museum (MAM) in Tokyo since 2009, and Senior Curator since 2003. At MAM, Kataoka has curated numerous notable exhibitions including ‘Roppongi Crossing’ (survey show of contemporary Japanese art) (2004, 2013), ‘Sensing Nature: Perception of Nature in Japan’ (2010); as well as major survey shows of prominent artists in Asia such as Tsuyoshi Ozawa, Ai Weiwei, Lee Bul, Makoto Aida, Lee Mingwei and N.S. Harsha.

Exhibition Documentation
All images: Document Photography

A gallery space with blue wallpaper printed with vignettes of the Sydney city skyline, and a television screen mounted on the wall. The glass window is has a print of colourful irregular decal shapes stuck at the front. There is a round yellow table surrounded by five round yellow stools, and four rectangular stools arranged in front of the television screen

Jun Yang, Xīní / Xuělí Blue Room, 2018 (detail), installation and printed wallpaper, installation view (2018) at 4A Center for Contemporary Asian Art for the 21st Biennale of Sydney. Courtesy the artist; Galerie Martin Janda, Vienna; Vitamin Creative Space, Guangzhou; and ShugoArts, Tokyo.

A round yellow dining table surrounded by round yellow stools in a gallery space decorated with blue wallpaper.

Jun Yang, Xīní / Xuělí Blue Room, 2018 (detail), installation and printed wallpaper, installation view (2018) at 4A Center for Contemporary Asian Art for the 21st Biennale of Sydney. Courtesy the artist; Galerie Martin Janda, Vienna; Vitamin Creative Space, Guangzhou; and ShugoArts, Tokyo.

Four yellow rectangular stools arranged in a gallery space with blue wallpapered walls.

Jun Yang, Xīní / Xuělí Blue Room, 2018 (detail), installation and printed wallpaper, installation view (2018) at 4A Center for Contemporary Asian Art for the 21st Biennale of Sydney. Courtesy the artist; Galerie Martin Janda, Vienna; Vitamin Creative Space, Guangzhou; and ShugoArts, Tokyo.

Close up of the blue wallpaper, painted with alternating views of the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge and Centrepoint Tower

Jun Yang, Xīní / Xuělí Blue Room, 2018 (detail), installation and printed wallpaper, installation view (2018) at 4A Center for Contemporary Asian Art for the 21st Biennale of Sydney. Courtesy the artist; Galerie Martin Janda, Vienna; Vitamin Creative Space, Guangzhou; and ShugoArts, Tokyo.

Close-ups of painted vignettes of Centrepoint Tower, Darling Harbour, Sydney's skyline and alternating views of the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Jun Yang, Xīní / Xuělí Blue Room, 2018 (detail), installation and printed wallpaper, installation view (2018) at 4A Center for Contemporary Asian Art for the 21st Biennale of Sydney. Courtesy the artist; Galerie Martin Janda, Vienna; Vitamin Creative Space, Guangzhou; and ShugoArts, Tokyo.

A gallery space with two rows of white A4 paper fixed on two black gallery walls. They are spotlit by some gallery lights

Akira Takayama, Our Songs – Sydney Kabuki Project, 2018, video documentation of performances that took place on 28 January 2018, 250 mins, installation view (2018) at 4A Center for Contemporary Asian Art for the 21st Biennale of Sydney. Filmmaker: Hikaru Fujii. Commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney with generous support from the Neilson Foundation and generous assistance from the Japan Foundation; the Australia-Japan Foundation of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; and Mami Kataoka. Courtesy the artist.

Two rows of white sheets of A4 paper printed with text, mounted on a black gallery wall

Akira Takayama, Our Songs – Sydney Kabuki Project, 2018, video documentation of performances that took place on 28 January 2018, 250 mins, installation view (2018) at 4A Center for Contemporary Asian Art for the 21st Biennale of Sydney. Filmmaker: Hikaru Fujii. Commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney with generous support from the Neilson Foundation and generous assistance from the Japan Foundation; the Australia-Japan Foundation of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; and Mami Kataoka. Courtesy the artist.

Two rows of white sheets of A4 paper printed with text, mounted on a black gallery wall

Akira Takayama, Our Songs – Sydney Kabuki Project, 2018, video documentation of performances that took place on 28 January 2018, 250 mins, installation view (2018) at 4A Center for Contemporary Asian Art for the 21st Biennale of Sydney. Filmmaker: Hikaru Fujii. Commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney with generous support from the Neilson Foundation and generous assistance from the Japan Foundation; the Australia-Japan Foundation of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; and Mami Kataoka. Courtesy the artist.

A row of five red fabric chairs arranged in a dark room, in front of a screen with a video projection. On the left is a black gallery wall, on the right is a long red velvety curtain.

Akira Takayama, Our Songs – Sydney Kabuki Project, 2018, video documentation of performances that took place on 28 January 2018, 250 mins, installation view (2018) at 4A Center for Contemporary Asian Art for the 21st Biennale of Sydney. Filmmaker: Hikaru Fujii. Commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney with generous support from the Neilson Foundation and generous assistance from the Japan Foundation; the Australia-Japan Foundation of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; and Mami Kataoka. Courtesy the artist.

A gallery space with black walls and a red velvety curtain. On furthermost wall is a video projection of a red floor. On the right of the gallery space is a series of white A4 sheets mounted on the wall under a gallery spotlight.

Akira Takayama, Our Songs – Sydney Kabuki Project, 2018, video documentation of performances that took place on 28 January 2018, 250 mins, installation view (2018) at 4A Center for Contemporary Asian Art for the 21st Biennale of Sydney. Filmmaker: Hikaru Fujii. Commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney with generous support from the Neilson Foundation and generous assistance from the Japan Foundation; the Australia-Japan Foundation of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; and Mami Kataoka. Courtesy the artist.

A video still of a male-presenting figure of East Asian appearance standing at a stand-up microphone on a dark, empty stage. He wears glasses, a button up short-sleeved shirt and salmon pink shorts, with slipper-like shoes. His arms are resting by his sides.

Akira Takayama, Our Songs – Sydney Kabuki Project, 2018, video documentation of performances that took place on 28 January 2018, 250 mins, installation view (2018) at 4A Center for Contemporary Asian Art for the 21st Biennale of Sydney. Filmmaker: Hikaru Fujii. Commissioned by the Biennale of Sydney with generous support from the Neilson Foundation and generous assistance from the Japan Foundation; the Australia-Japan Foundation of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; and Mami Kataoka. Courtesy the artist.

Temporary Certainty

SYDNEY. 31 AUGUST – 14 OCTOBER 2018.


Rushdi Anwar 

Alana Hunt 
Sarker Protick 

Temporary Certainty is shaped by an investigation of sudden shifts of historical change wrought by complex interventions in the greater Asia region. Showcasing new works from Australian artists Rushdi Anwar and Alana Hunt alongside a new body of work from Sarker Protick, this exhibition brings together three distinct voices that share long-standing commitments to humanitarian and activist concerns. With a focus on Bengal, Kurdistan and the Kimberley region of Western Australia, Temporary Certainty explores how artists approach geography as a marker of the consequences of broader geopolitical expediencies.

The three distinct geographical contexts represented in this exhibition, each with their seemingly disparate environmental challenges and contingencies, are here connected by the way the artists have explored questions of nationalisms, the legacies of sovereignty, and contested narratives of memorialisation. Equally defined by more urgent concerns and experiences of displacement and transience, the works presented in Temporary Certainty are distinguished by their emergence within conditions of uneasy reconciliation. Additionally, a common thread between each artist’s vision across the works presented in this exhibition is the central importance of the photographic image as a medium that excels at mediating between space and time, reality and illusion. The artists utilise this visual language, alongside other mediums and methodologies, in a shared pursuit of seeking to unveil the symbolic resonances that inhabit built environments within fractured contexts.

Alana Hunt’s activities as an artist are defined by her commitment to broadening and challenging the possibilities of communicating ideas in the public realm. For Temporary Certainty, Hunt has created a new work, Faith in a pile of stones (2018), that takes as its focus Lake Argyle. Located near the artist’s home in the town of Kununurra, Lake Argyle was constructed in 1971 (and filled by 1974), following the damming of the Ord River. An immense human-engineered reservoir of freshwater whose capacity is more than eighteen times the volume of Sydney Harbour, its construction for the purpose of irrigation for agricultural production drowned places of significance and altered the ecologies of country belonging primarily to Miriwoong, but also Gija and Malgnin people. Hunt reconfigures the monumental aspect of the dam wall in a work that explores the convergence of the bureaucratic management of natural resources driven by colonial dreams of development that have been shaped by faith in the idea of permanence.

Rushdi Anwar presents two works that are deeply related to the artist’s experiences as a member of the Kurdish diaspora. The video and sound installation Facing Living: The Past in the Present (2015) shows a pair of hands that proceed to tear up and piece back together an official portrait of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein until the image is overwhelmed by black adhesive tape, an act that balances between destruction and creation, erasure and elegy for those who suffered under Hussein’s rule. We have found in the ashes what we have lost in the fire (2018) is the artist’s response to his recent experience of entering a church in the town of Bashiqa located in north east Mosul, part of disputed territories between the Kurdistan Regional Government and Iraqi government. This work explores unsettling similarities between the destruction, transience and renewal faced by displaced and uprooted communities globally and the built environments they are forced to leave.

Sarker Protick’s Exodus (2015–ongoing) considers the expediencies of decolonisation while at the same time being a haunting meditation on the universal contingencies of time. Over a selection of photographs and moving image, the artist explores the decaying buildings and surrounding lands of the feudal estates in East Bengal that were previously owned by Hindu jamindars, or landlords. Following the Liberation War of 1971 that abruptly established the newly independent nation of Bangladesh, huge migrations took place across Bengal. This saw wealthy Hindu landowners abandon their estates for India in fear of the kind of violent reprisals that had erupted following the Partition of India in 1947, while at the same time many Muslims fled West Bengal heading east. A series of controversial laws dating from 1948, culminating in the Vested Property Act of 1974, allowed the confiscation of property by Bangladeshi authorities from groups declared ‘enemies of the state’. Since then, these estates have commonly been left in disrepair, taken over by nature and appropriated by local villagers—another chapter in a landscape indelibly marked by the influence of Mughal rule and British imperialism (1).

Grappling with tensions between certainty and doubt, permanence and all that is ephemeral, Temporary Certainty contemplates the value of what can be apprehended—much less held onto—with any guarantee in an age lurching towards ever greater polarisation.

Temporary Certainty is produced by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Rushdi Anwar’s commissioned work has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body. The presentation of Sarker Protick’s Exodus has been supported by The Esplanade, Singapore, with additional support from the Australian Centre for Photography.

(1) Sarker Protick’s Exodus was internationally premiered in the exhibition The Life of Things at The Esplanade, Singapore, from 19 January to 8 April 2018. This text incorporates aspects of curator Sam I-shan’s accompanying text for this exhibition. 


Artists:

Rushdi Anwar (b. Halabja, Kurdistan) is a Melbourne-based artist, currently working between Australia and Thailand. His installation, sculpture, painting, photo-painting and video work often reflect on socio-political issues relating to Kurdistan, Iraq and the Middle East. He explores these issues through an investigation of form, utilising a material vocabulary and different processes of making. Anwar was educated in Kurdistan and Australia, studying at the Institute of Kirkuk- Kurdistan and Enmore Design Centre/Sydney Institute. He holds a Master of Fine Art (2010) and a PhD in Fine Art (2016) from RMIT University, Melbourne. He has held solo and group exhibitions widely in Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, Finland, France, Japan, Kurdistan, Norway, Switzerland, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and USA. Recent and upcoming exhibitions include 12th Gwangju Biennale, Korea (2018), and the 13th Havana Biennial, Cuba (2019). Anwar’s works are held in the collections of the Australian War Memorial, the Kurdistan Regional Government, and in private collections. He has curated exhibitions in Kurdistan (2010), Thailand (2012, 2015), and Australia (2013). Following several artist-in-residence programs in Thailand, he co-founded and co-coordinated the Australian Thai Artist Interchange, Melbourne (2012–2016), an organisation founded to enhance cross-cultural exchange, awareness and appreciation of art and culture between Thais and Australians. Rushdi is a founding member, with Brook Andrew and Shiraz Bayjoo, of the artist collective The Working Collection.

Alana Hunt (b. 1984, Sydney) makes contemporary art, writes and produces culture through a variety of media across public, gallery and online spaces. She lives on Miriwoong country in the north-west of Australia and has a long-standing engagement with South Asia. The politics of nation making and the colonial past and present of Australia and South Asia are central to her practice. Since 2009, she has orchestrated participatory art and publishing projects that have activated different media forms in the public sphere to shed light on Kashmir. Paper txt msgs from Kashmir (2009–2011) prompted media in India and Pakistan to speak about a state-wide mobile phone ban they had previously been silent on. This work won the Fauvette Laureiro Artist Scholarship. In 2016, the seven-year participatory memorial Cups of nun chai circulated as a newspaper serial in Kashmir, reaching thousands of people on a weekly basis during a period of civilian uprising and state oppression. This work won the 2017 Incinerator Art Award. Her essay, A mere drop in the sea of what is, published by 4A Papers (Issue 1, November 2016), explored the art circulating on the ‘streets of social media’ in Kashmir and made it into the Hansard Report of the Australian Parliament. In 2018, Alana undertook a residency in Sulawesi with Rumata Art Space & the Makassar International Writers’ Festival and will present Cups of nun chai at Tufts University Art Gallery, Massachusetts, and a series of artists presentations at Tufts, Brown, and Parsons universities. Her work is held in both public and private collections including Artbank and the Macquarie Group Collection.

Sarker Protick (b. 1986, Bangladesh) is a Dhaka-based artist whose work explores the possibilities of time, light and sound. His portraits, landscapes and photographic series engage philosophically with the specificities of personal and national histories. Sarker’s approach across various mediums incorporates detailed observations and subtle gestures as a means of creating personal spaces, often minimal and atmospheric. He was named in British Journal of Photography’s annual ‘Ones to Watch’ and Photo District News’ (PDN) 30 emerging photographers of the year. Sarker is the recipient of Joop Swart Masterclass, World Press Photo award, and Australian Photobook of the Year grand prize. His body of work Exodus was awarded the Magnum Foundation Grant 2018. Sarker’s work has been shown in museums, galleries and photo festivals internationally, including Art Dubai; Paris Photo; Singapore Art Week; Dhaka Art Summit; Chobi Mela International Photography Festival, Dhaka; Latvian Contemporary Museum of Photography, Riga; and Noorderlicht International Photofestival, Netherlands. Sarker is a faculty member at Pathshala South Asian Media Institute, Dhaka, and currently represented by East Wing Gallery, Dubai.

 

Exhibition Documentation

 

A large canvas-printed photograph stands at the street-facing glass window of an art gallery, with a street sign at the entrance reading 'Faith in a pile of stones'

Alana Hunt, Faith in a pile of stones, 2018, installation view at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, installation incorporating photography, video and sound dimensions variable; archival video appropriated from ‘Ord River Dam’ produced by Film Associates Pty Ltd for Public Works Department WA (currently Water Corporation WA); Photography: B. Lobascher and J.Green; Narration: D. Ellery; commissioned by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art; courtesy the artist. Image: Kai Wasikowski

 

A canvas-printed photograph of a tour bus passing by a river dam surrounded by red rock

Alana Hunt, Faith in a pile of stones, 2018, installation view at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, installation incorporating photography, video and sound dimensions variable; archival video appropriated from ‘Ord River Dam’ produced by Film Associates Pty Ltd for Public Works Department WA (currently Water Corporation WA); Photography: B. Lobascher and J.Green; Narration: D. Ellery; commissioned by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art; courtesy the artist. Image: Kai Wasikowski

 

A small photograph print of a group of figures sitting in the Australian outback

Alana Hunt, Faith in a pile of stones, 2018, installation view at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, installation incorporating photography, video and sound dimensions variable; archival video appropriated from ‘Ord River Dam’ produced by Film Associates Pty Ltd for Public Works Department WA (currently Water Corporation WA); Photography: B. Lobascher and J.Green; Narration: D. Ellery; commissioned by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art; courtesy the artist. Image: Kai Wasikowski

 

Two photographic prints of a figure in a white shirt and white bucket hat looking out at a river surrounded by arid red land

Alana Hunt, Faith in a pile of stones, 2018, installation view at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, installation incorporating photography, video and sound dimensions variable; archival video appropriated from ‘Ord River Dam’ produced by Film Associates Pty Ltd for Public Works Department WA (currently Water Corporation WA); Photography: B. Lobascher and J.Green; Narration: D. Ellery; commissioned by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art; courtesy the artist. Image: Kai Wasikowski

 

A dark room with black walls with a set of black and white photographic prints framed in white on the left, and video projections on two screens set up in front of a black bench.

 

Installation view of Temporary Certainty a t 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, clockwise left to right: Sarker Protick, Elegy to Empire (f rom the series Exodus), 2015–ongoing, installation view at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, black & white photographs (selection of 19); 22.5 x 28.0 cm (each photograph); courtesy the artist. Sarker Protick, Arrival (from the series Exodus) , 2015–ongoing, single-channel HD video and sound installation; 8:00 mins; courtesy the artist. Rushdi Anwar, Facing Living: The Past in the Present, 2015, single-channel HD video and sound installation; 12:30 mins; courtesy the artist. Image: Kai Wasikowski

 

A black gallery wall with a spotlight photo of a grassy overgrown path leading up to a ruined building.

Sarker Protick, Elegy to Empire (from the series Exodus), 2015–ongoing, installation view at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, black & white photograph; 127.0 x 101.5 cm; courtesy the artist. Image: Kai Wasikowski


A series of 18 black and white photographs of ruined or overgrown buildings hung on a black gallery wall

Sarker Protick, Elegy to Empire (from the series Exodus), 2015–ongoing, installation view (detail) at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, black & white photographs (selection of 19); 22.5 x 28.0 cm (each photograph); courtesy the artist. Image: Kai Wasikowski

 

A video projection showing a pair of hands crumpling and tearing up a printed photograph. On the left is a series of wooden boxes fixed to a black gallery wall.

Installation view of Temporary Certainty a t 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, left to right: Rushdi Anwar, We have found in the ashes what we have lost in the fire, 2018, installation view at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art; print on plexiglass, photograph printed on paper, mixed medium, resin embedded within wooden box; 12 boxes: each box 32.5 x 22.5 x 9.0 cm (one edition); installation dimensions variable; commissioned by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body; courtesy the artist. Rushdi Anwar, Facing Living: The Past in the Present, 2015, single-channel HD video and sound installation; installation view, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art; 12:30 mins; courtesy the artist. Image: Kai Wasikowski

 

A video projection showing a pair of hands in motion, crumpling and tearing up a large black and white photograph

Rushdi Anwar, Facing Living: The Past in the Present, 2015, single-channel HD video and sound installation; installation view, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art; 12:30 mins; courtesy the artist. Image: Kai Wasikowski

 

A photograph with burnt edges set in an open wooden box hung on a black gallery wall. The photograph shows rows of pews.

Rushdi Anwar, We have found in the ashes what we have lost in the fire, 2018, installation view (detail) at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art; print on plexiglass, photograph printed on paper, mixed medium, resin embedded within wooden box; 12 boxes: each box 32.5 x 22.5 x 9.0 cm (one edition); installation dimensions variable; commissioned by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body; courtesy the artist. Image: Kai Wasikowski

 

Close-up of a photograph set in an open wooden box. The photograph has burnt edges and appears to be a collage of images, showing rubble and a hooded figure throwing their hands up in the air.

Rushdi Anwar, We have found in the ashes what we have lost in the fire, 2018, installation view (detail) at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art; print on plexiglass, photograph printed on paper, mixed medium, resin embedded within wooden box; 12 boxes: each box 32.5 x 22.5 x 9.0 cm (one edition); installation dimensions variable; commissioned by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body; courtesy the artist. Image: Kai Wasikowski

 

Justine Youssef: All Blessings, All Curses

SYDNEY. 2 NOVEMBER – 16 DECEMBER 2018.

All Blessings, All Curses presents recent and newly commissioned works by Sydney-based artist, Justine Youssef. Born in the heart of Western Sydney, Youssef’s practice negates the stifling white heat of global xenophobia with deeply personal and universal ruminations that layer the smell, sights and textures of her ancestral homeland, Lebanon.

The strength of Justine Youssef’s practice lies in the poetics of her storytelling and observations: a teacher blackens Arabic script, fearing that it contains a religious hate message; a smoke detector deafeningly sounds as a mother burns bakhoor to rid the house of the evil eye; the looks of confusion two girls receive as they scrub clean a Persian rug in their driveway. These scenes represent the lived experience of the artist who transforms everyday occurrences into visual metaphors.

Justine Youssef’s intuitive methodology draws upon this archive of personal memories as a departure point for All blessing, all curses. Employing sculpture, video, installation and text, Youssef examines the difficult experiences of misunderstanding with the grand subjects of faith, love, family and home. In doing so, she creates immersive experiences that are both epic and intimate – whispering invocations of promise, comfort and resistance.

Justine Youssef (b. 1992) is currently living on the unceded territory of the Darug peoples. She received her Bachelor of Fine Art from the National Art School, Sydney, Australia and is currently working from the Parramatta Artist Studios. She has been awarded the New South Wales Artists’ Grant (NAVA and Create NSW), as well as a studio residency at Blacktown Arts. She has held collaborative solo exhibitions at Seventh Gallery, Melbourne, and Firstdraft, Woolloomooloo with Duha Ali in 2018, and has participated in group exhibitions at Airspace Projects, Marrickville; Bankstown Art Center, Bankstown; Sullivan+Strumpf, Zetland; and Collab Gallery, Chippendale. Her work can be found in the collections of the National Association for the Visual Arts; the National Art School Drawing Archive; and the Sydney Gallery School.

Exhibition Documentation

All images: Kai Wasikowski

A glass facade in a red brick building, with the decal words 'Justine Youssef, All Blessings, All Curses, 2 Nov - 16 Dec' stuck on the glass

Exterior view of 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, In gallery interior: Justine Youssef, All Blessings, All Curses (Blood on the earth), 2018, installation view, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, dimensions variable, sandstone and taxidermied scorpion. Courtesy of the artist. This commission has been made possible by the generous support of the 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art Set group.  Image: Kai Wasikowski.

A tiny video screen in a white gallery wall, showing a spoon with burning incense

Justine Youssef, Ashes to ashes or palm ash to your wrist, 2017, single channel video, 25 second, installation view, 4A Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artist. Image: Kai Wasikowski.

A mound of sandstone bricks on a hardwood floor

Justine Youssef, All Blessings, All Curses (Blood on the earth), 2018, sandstone and taxidermied scorpion, dimensions variable, installation view, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, dimensions variable, Courtesy of the artist. This commission has been made possible by the generous support of the 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art Set group.  Image: Kai Wasikowski.

A mound of sandstone bricks on a hardwood floor

Justine Youssef, All Blessings, All Curses (Blood on the earth), 2018, sandstone and taxidermied scorpion, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artist. This commission has been made possible by the generous support of the 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art Set group.  Image: Kai Wasikowski.

An LED video screen stood up against a mound of sandstone bricks in a light-flooded gallery space

Left: Justine Youssef, Ashes to ashes or palm ash to your wrist, 2017, single channel video, 25 second, installation view, 4A Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artist. Image: Kai Wasikowski. Right: Justine Youssef, All Blessings, All Curses (Blood on the earth), 2018, sandstone and taxidermied scorpion, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artist. This commission has been made possible by the generous support of the 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art Set group.  Image: Kai Wasikowski.

An LED video screen showing hands waving a spoon over a pot, with the subtitles 'We need to sit down, and talk,'. The screen leans against a structure of sandstone bricks

Front: Justine Youssef, All Blessings, All Curses (Blood on the earth), 2018, sandstone and taxidermied scorpion, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artist. This commission has been made possible by the generous support of the 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art Set group.  Image: Kai Wasikowski. Back: Justine Youssef, Ashes to ashes or palm ash to your wrist, 2017, single channel video, 25 second, installation view, 4A Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artist. Image: Kai Wasikowski.

An LED video screen showing a tanned brown hand with a gold ring and an index finger stuck into a metal bowl with coriander. The subtitle reads, 'otherwise we'd be held up in Trablous.'

Front: Justine Youssef, All Blessings, All Curses (Blood on the earth), 2018, sandstone and taxidermied scorpion, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artist. This commission has been made possible by the generous support of the 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art Set group.  Image: Kai Wasikowski. Back: Justine Youssef, Ashes to ashes or palm ash to your wrist, 2017, single channel video, 25 second, installation view, 4A Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artist. Image: Kai Wasikowski.

Three photographic prints showing a few femme-presenting figures dressed in muted colours with their hair tied back with bandanas, kneeling on and scrubbing a teal green Persian rug

Justine Youssef and Duha Ali, Body/Cartography, 2018, 3 channel video, 4 minutes, two rugs, 280 x 190cm and 230 x 315cm, and photographic documentation, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artists. Image: Kai Wasikowski.

Two teal green Persian rugs laid on a hardwood floor with two LED video screens stood on top, showing the same displayed rugs in other settings

Justine Youssef and Duha Ali, Body/Cartography, 2018, 3 channel video, 4 minutes, two rugs, 280 x 190cm and 230 x 315cm, and photographic documentation, dimensions variable, installation view, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artists. Image: Kai Wasikowski.

Two LED video screens on a teal green Persian rug. The screens show a series of Persian rugs laid out in other concreted spaces

Justine Youssef and Duha Ali, Body/Cartography, 2018, 3 channel video, 4 minutes, two rugs, 280 x 190cm and 230 x 315cm, and photographic documentation, dimensions variable, installation view, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artists. Image: Kai Wasikowski.
Two green-toned Persian rugs in a light-flooded gallery space, with two LED screens stood on top showing a woman legs-down cleaning a floor
Front: Justine Youssef and Duha Ali, Body/Cartography, 2018, 3 channel video, 4 minutes, two rugs, 280 x 190cm and 230 x 315cm, and photographic documentation, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artists. Image: Kai Wasikowski. Back right: Justine Youssef and Duha Ali, Kohl, 2018, Three channel video installation, 4 minutes, and 3 brass bowls, kohl, sandstone and clay, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artists. This work was produced with the support of the NAVA NSW Artist’s Grant 2017. Image: Kai Wasikowski.

A teal green Persian rug with an LED screen on top showing a series of folded Persian rugs in a tiled floor in a concrete building

Justine Youssef and Duha Ali, Body/Cartography, 2018, 3 channel video, 4 minutes, two rugs, 280 x 190cm and 230 x 315cm, and photographic documentation, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artists. Image: Kai Wasikowski.

A naturally lit window sill with three groups of plates stacked in the sun

Justine Youssef and Duha Ali, Kohl, 2018, Three channel video installation, 4 minutes, and 3 brass bowls, kohl, sandstone and clay, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artists. This work was produced with the support of the NAVA NSW Artist’s Grant 2017. Image: Kai Wasikowski.

Close-up of black glazed clay bowls and brass bowls

Justine Youssef and Duha Ali, Kohl, 2018, Three channel video installation, 4 minutes, and 3 brass bowls, kohl, sandstone and clay, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artists. This work was produced with the support of the NAVA NSW Artist’s Grant 2017. Image: Kai Wasikowski.

A wall constructed from sandstone brick with a LED video screen showing a close-up of one half of a face with black kohl painted over a closed eyelid

Front: Justine Youssef and Duha Ali, Kohl, 2018, Three channel video installation, 4 minutes, and 3 brass bowls, kohl, sandstone and clay, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artists. This work was produced with the support of the NAVA NSW Artist’s Grant 2017. Image: Kai Wasikowski. Back: Justine Youssef, An Other’s Wurud, 2017-ongoing, Installation incorporating photographic documentation, video and mixed media including David Austine and Burnet roses, water, two ring gas burner, gas cylinder, aluminum pot, sleve, pavers and glass bottles, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artist. Image Kai Wasikowski.

A wall constructed from sandstone brick with a LED video screen showing two tanned hands tipping a clay bowl over onto the ground

Justine Youssef and Duha Ali, Kohl, 2018, Three channel video installation, 4 minutes, and 3 brass bowls, kohl, sandstone and clay, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artists. This work was produced with the support of the NAVA NSW Artist’s Grant 2017. Image: Kai Wasikowski.

An LED video screen showing three brass bowls and a yellow tin can on a natural red rock shelf

Justine Youssef and Duha Ali, Kohl, 2018, Three channel video installation, 4 minutes, and 3 brass bowls, kohl, sandstone and clay, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artists. This work was produced with the support of the NAVA NSW Artist’s Grant 2017. Image: Kai Wasikowski. 

Two LED video screens showing a femme-presenting woman with long brown hair in a desert landscape leaning over a set of brass bowls and a yellow tin can

Front left: Justine Youssef and Duha Ali, Kohl, 2018, Three channel video installation, 4 minutes, and 3 brass bowls, kohl, sandstone and clay, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artists. This work was produced with the support of the NAVA NSW Artist’s Grant 2017. Image: Kai Wasikowski. Back right: Justine Youssef, An Other’s Wurud, 2017-ongoing, Installation incorporating photographic documentation, video and mixed media including David Austine and Burnet roses, water, two ring gas burner, gas cylinder, aluminum pot, sleve, pavers and glass bottles, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artist. Image Kai Wasikowski.

Two LED video screens against a small sandstone brick wall, showing a video of granite rocks in brown water

Front left: Justine Youssef and Duha Ali, Kohl, 2018, Three channel video installation, 4 minutes, and 3 brass bowls, kohl, sandstone and clay, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artists. This work was produced with the support of the NAVA NSW Artist’s Grant 2017. Image: Kai Wasikowski. Back right: Justine Youssef, An Other’s Wurud, 2017-ongoing, Installation incorporating photographic documentation, video and mixed media including David Austine and Burnet roses, water, two ring gas burner, gas cylinder, aluminum pot, sleve, pavers and glass bottles, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artist. Image Kai Wasikowski.

A small brick sandstone wall, several LED TV screens and two teal green Persian rugs arranged in a white gallery space

Front: Justine Youssef and Duha Ali, Kohl, 2018, Three channel video installation, 4 minutes, and 3 brass bowls, kohl, sandstone and clay, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artists. This work was produced with the support of the NAVA NSW Artist’s Grant 2017. Image: Kai Wasikowski. Back: Justine Youssef and Duha Ali, Body/Cartography, 2018, 3 channel video, 4 minutes, two rugs, 280 x 190cm and 230 x 315cm, and photographic documentation, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artists. Image: Kai Wasikowski.

A TV screen showing hands moving over a platter with brass bowls

Front right: Justine Youssef and Duha Ali, Kohl, 2018, Three channel video installation, 4 minutes, and 3 brass bowls, kohl, sandstone and clay, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artists. This work was produced with the support of the NAVA NSW Artist’s Grant 2017. Image: Kai Wasikowski. Back left: Justine Youssef and Duha Ali, Body/Cartography, 2018, 3 channel video, 4 minutes, two rugs, 280 x 190cm and 230 x 315cm, and photographic documentation, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artists. Image: Kai Wasikowski.

Close-up of two adjoining knee-height walls built from sandstone brick, with two screens resting against their interior. Behind these walls are two deep green Persian rugs with LCD screens set up on top.

Front: Justine Youssef and Duha Ali, Kohl, 2018, Three channel video installation, 4 minutes, and 3 brass bowls, kohl, sandstone and clay, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artists. This work was produced with the support of the NAVA NSW Artist’s Grant 2017. Image: Kai Wasikowski. Back: Justine Youssef and Duha Ali, Body/Cartography, 2018, 3 channel video, 4 minutes, two rugs, 280 x 190cm and 230 x 315cm, and photographic documentation, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artists. Image: Kai Wasikowski.

Eight glass bottles filled with different coloured liquids, arranged on a hardwood gallery floor

Centre Front: Justine Youssef, An Other’s Wurud, 2017-ongoing, Installation incorporating photographic documentation, video and mixed media including David Austine and Burnet roses, water, two ring gas burner, gas cylinder, aluminum pot, sleve, pavers and glass bottles, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artist. Image: Kai Wasikowski. Middle Back: Justine Youssef and Duha Ali, Kohl, 2018, Three channel video installation, 4 minutes, and 3 brass bowls, kohl, sandstone and clay, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artists. This work was produced with the support of the NAVA NSW Artist’s Grant 2017. Image: Kai Wasikowski. Back: Justine Youssef and Duha Ali, Body/Cartography, 2018, 3 channel video, 4 minutes, two rugs, 280 x 190cm and 230 x 315cm, and photographic documentation, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artists. Image: Kai Wasikowski.

A two ring gas burner, gas cylinder, aluminium pot on a pavers floor, next to two glass bottles filled with brownish liquids. On the white wall behind are two photographs.

Justine Youssef, An Other’s Wurud, 2017-ongoing, Installation incorporating photographic documentation, video and mixed media including David Austine and Burnet roses, water, two ring gas burner, gas cylinder, aluminum pot, sleve, pavers and glass bottles, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artist. Image: Kai Wasikowski.

A photograph of a female-presenting figure in a long white dress, seated with her hands working over an aluminium pot against an industrial factory backdrop. She appears to work near a production line and various stacks of cardboard boxes, while plant cuttings surround her on a wet floor.

Justine Youssef, An Other’s Wurud, 2017-ongoing, Installation incorporating photographic documentation, video and mixed media including David Austine and Burnet roses, water, two ring gas burner, gas cylinder, aluminum pot, sleve, pavers and glass bottles, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artist. Image: Kai Wasikowski.

Light coming through a gallery window onto eight glass bottles filled with different liquids, arranged next to an aluminium pot, a two ring gas burner and a gas cylinder on a pavers floor.

Justine Youssef, An Other’s Wurud, 2017-ongoing, Installation incorporating photographic documentation, video and mixed media including David Austine and Burnet roses, water, two ring gas burner, gas cylinder, aluminum pot, sleve, pavers and glass bottles, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artist. Image: Kai Wasikowski.

Light coming through a gallery window onto eight glass bottles filled with different liquids, arranged next to an aluminium pot, a two ring gas burner and a gas cylinder on a pavers floor. A photograph is mounted on the white wall behind this installation

Justine Youssef, An Other’s Wurud, 2017-ongoing, Installation incorporating photographic documentation, video and mixed media including David Austine and Burnet roses, water, two ring gas burner, gas cylinder, aluminum pot, sleve, pavers and glass bottles, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artist. Image: Kai Wasikowski.

Light coming through a gallery window onto eight glass bottles filled with different liquids, arranged next to an aluminium pot, a two ring gas burner and a gas cylinder on a pavers floor

Justine Youssef, An Other’s Wurud, 2017-ongoing, Installation incorporating photographic documentation, video and mixed media including David Austine and Burnet roses, water, two ring gas burner, gas cylinder, aluminum pot, sleve, pavers and glass bottles, dimensions variable, installation view: detail, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artist. Image: Kai Wasikowski.

A photograph of a snake on white fabric, with its head near a gold necklace with a small evil eye amulet. Underneath this photo is a print of a female-presenting figure in a long red and black striped dress with extremely long black sleeves that seem a few metres long. She stands in the desert with her left arm extended above her head and her right arm extended outwards, so the sleeves blow outwards with the wind.

Front: Justine Youssef and Leila El Rayes, Burying that which binds into the chest of my beloved, 2018, photographic documentation (of single channel video, 6 minutes), 2 photographs, installation view, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artists. Image: Kai Wasikowski. Back left: Youssef and Duha Ali, Kohl, 2018, Three channel video installation, 4 minutes, and 3 brass bowls, kohl, sandstone and clay, dimensions variable, installation view, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artists. This work was produced with the support of the NAVA NSW Artist’s Grant 2017. Image: Kai Wasikowski.

A photograph of a snake on white fabric, with its head near a gold necklace with a small evil eye amulet. Underneath this photo is a print of a female-presenting figure in a long red and black striped dress with extremely long black sleeves that seem a few metres long. She stands in the desert with her left arm extended above her head and her right arm extended outwards, so the sleeves blow outwards with the wind. Both photographs are mounted on a wall in front of a bigger gallery space with three green Persian rugs arranged on the floor with two LCD screens mounted on top.

Front: Justine Youssef and Leila El Rayes, Burying that which binds into the chest of my beloved, 2018, photographic documentation (of single channel video, 6 minutes), 2 photographs, installation view, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artists. Image: Kai Wasikowski. Back left: Justine Youssef and Duha Ali, Body/Cartography, 2018, 3 channel video, 4 minutes, two rugs, 280 x 190cm and 230 x 315cm, and photographic documentation, dimensions variable, installation view, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Courtesy of the artists. Image: Kai Wasikowski.