!2 February - 5 April 2006
CRASH is a critical and subversive take on contemporary notions of 'earthly pleasure'.
The exhibition broadly references British writer J.G. Ballard's novel 'Crash' in which we encounter the modern city as a wound, its pleasures available through pain, through accidents that arouse victims to increasing heights of desire. Machines and movie stars are mangled in a series of scenarios that take place in airports, hospitals and car wrecks. In Ballard's fantasy the limbs of amputees are replaced by stainless steel prosthetics that shine like the chrome of the cars that injure them. Their surfaces all shiny and new like Patricia Piccinini's liquid steel car nuggets - glamorous, fetishised almost-cars that are morphed into art...
Expanding on Ballard's themes, the exhibition looks to excess, to breakdown and to collapse, even as it explores various aspects of desire. Bombarded with the body beautiful in popular culture, we increasingly plasticise and modify our bodies to invest in the status visualized for us in advertising and the media. Our concept of earthly pleasure takes on a cinematic aspect, fantasy that is often washed in a play of violence and danger. What happens when the fantasies created to accommodate our desires fall apart...?
CRASH includes work by Australian filmmaker and artist George Gittoes. His film Soundtrack to War (2004) showcases American soldiers making music against the backdrop of war in Iraq.
Also screening in the exhibition is Dennis Del Favero's DVD Rom Deep Sleep (2004) which points to the shattering consequences of psychological abuse. This work is based on the events surrounding the notorious Chelmsford psychiatric hospital in Sydney during the 1960s and 1970s. The viewer is navigated through the corridors of the institution where deep sleep (insulin coma) therapy killed and maimed patients.
Trauma dictates its own broken circuitry for those caught in its maelstrom and is the subject of John Paul's painting of soldiers Le Sommeil Tourmente (Tormented Sleep) (1992).