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Immortality

Immortality

Andrew Liversidge
I. We see not death, but rather a
vast symbolism that stands in
its place. Our notion of death
could only be metaphor.
(detail), 2017
Hydrocal White
Image courtesy of the artist and The Commercial Gallery

Humans love telling stories, and need to tell stories.
Stories can persist long after the humans and environments that shaped that story are long gone and forgotten.

After we, ourselves, are gone from this earth - how will we (our lives, our culture) be remembered?
Can we keep the parts of ourselves and our culture that we deem precious alive?
Can we rely on humans in the future continuing our story? Whose version will be told?
What resources will future humans draw upon to understand and interpret our present moment?

Immortality investigated the role artists play in forming these artefacts for the future. Through objects, photography, wall sculpture, etchings, multimedia installations and film, Immortality presented the work by seven living artists as well as works by no longer known artists from the southern Asia-Pacific region. Immortality posed a reflection on ideas of truth, relativism, the archive, and a speculative role for contemporary objects presented to the future.

et al. is an artists’ collective that investigates ideas which relate to group culture and behaviour. In their installations, scientific experiments, political ideologies, the classroom and the most extreme of religious rituals are dismantled and exposed as mind-control mechanisms. Their work, tran-scryption (2011), was presented in Immortality in its third iteration.

Born in Auckland, Dr Fiona Pardington is of Maori and Scottish descent. Her artistic practice illuminated traditional and forgotten objects such as the Māori ancestral treasures in Taonga Māori (Rotorua Museum) and other historic objects such as hei tiki (greenstone pendants) and the now extinct huia bird. Immortality includes two of Pardington's life cast photographs from the series Ᾱhua: a beautiful hesitation (2010).

Newell Harry’s work stemed from the experiences and observances of travelling between Australia, Vanuatu and South Africa, and is caught up in the vernacular words, phrases and textures of these distinct places. With a mischievous and subversive sense of humour, Harry worked across a wide variety of media, including installation, drawing, printing, sculpture, photography and neon,and picked over the artefacts of colonial exoticism and the slippages of language that occur between different cultural contexts. Immortality presented Newell's series (Untitled) Nimoa and Me: Kiriwina Notations, 2014-2015, made whilst in the Trobriand Islands of Papua New Guinea.

Susan Hiller excavated the overlooked, ignored, or rejected aspects of our shared cultural production, with influences from Minimalism, Fluxus, Surrealism, and anthropology. Her varied projects collectively have been described as investigations into the 'unconscious' of culture. Hiller's The Last Silent Movie (2007 / 2008) presents recordings of extinct and endangered languages spoken by now deceased men and women.

Andrew Liversidge makes conceptual objects and videos. He was interested in the romantic quality of the conceptual gesture. Recurrent themes included abstraction and the collapse of finite models, the infinite and its relation to metaphysics and epistemology, limit, order, repetition and paradox. Immortality includes Liversidge's 2017 series of 15 plaques entitled Death.

Tobi Wanik is from Korkor Village, Wahgi Valley, Papua New Guinea and was known to be active in the 1990s. Tobi's metal Wahgi shield Fantom (c.1998) was used after its production in inter-tribal fighting, with the enamel painted image of the Phantom added a contemporary symbol of invincibility, with the glossy enamel paint adding further indications of strength and vigour.

Unknown artists (Asmat)
The Asmat live along the vast system of rivers that flow into the Arafura Sea in southwestern New Guinea. In Asmat culture, there is a close relationship between humans and trees, with wood considered as the source of life. Wood carving is held in high esteem among the Asmat, a tradition that has continued to the present day. The wooden Asmat war shields presented in Immortality carried figurative carvings and painted detail that called upon ancestral imagery, endowing the shields with both the power and protection of the ancestors.

John Gillies is well-known for his multi layered and complex video works and installations. Gillies was interested in stories that can affect the future, as the future is in the act of being made from fragments of the past. Immortality included his cinematic work Witkacy & Malinowski: a cinematic séance in 23 scenes in which he brought to screen an imagination of an actual exchange between the Polish artist Witkacy and the anthropologist Malinowski on a train from Brisbane to Toowomba.

et al. in Immortality

Murray Art Museum Albury, 2018.
Image by Murray Art Museum Albury

Fiona Pardington

Portrait of a life cast of Takatahara (right profile, painted), Aotearoa, New Zealand, 2010
Pigment ink print
Art Gallery NSW – Purchased with funds provided by the Art Gallery Society of New South Wales Contempo Group 2013

Immortality

Murray Art Museum Albury, 2018
Image by Murray Art Museum Albury

John Gilles

Witkacy & Malinowski: a cinematic séance in 23 scenes, 2015 - 2018
Film still
Image courtesy of the artist

Newell Harry

(Untitled) Nimoa and Me: Kiriwina Notations, 2014–2015
Photographs on Fuji Lustre paper, one of eight hand-typed transcripts
Image courtesy of the artist

Andrew Liversidge

DEATH, 2017
Murray Art Museum Albury, 2018
Image Murray Art Museum Albury

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