Image: Location view. Photograph by Paula Silva

23-Oct-2009 - 21-Nov-2009

(Untitled) Expand/Contract

Judith Abell, Tristan Stowards, Anthony Johnson, Astra Howard

curator: paula silva

location: cat & fiddle ARCADE, hobart cbd

This off-site exhibition/event will be presented/preformed across 4 weeks, by four artists, each artist in one week: Judith Abell, Tristan Stowards, Anthony Johnson and Astra Howard.

The space is a common shop space located in a high foot traffic area of Hobart CBD - Cat & Fiddle shopping centre.

The four artists have different practices, ranging from object-based art to performative and relational art. These varied practices will transform a common shop space into four different spaces/situations in one month.

During this period the space will be deprived of any characteristic that can legitimize the presentation/performance as art.

CURATOR'S STATEMENT:
Across November 2009, passers-by in the Cat & Fiddle Arcade had the opportunity to experience four week-long works by four contemporary artists in a small shop space.

In a closing event, on the 21st November 2009 the documentation and remnants of those works were displayed together. The (Untitled) Expand/Contract closing event was an exhibition that literally contracted the four weeks’ events into a 2-hour display.

Exhibitions collect and display objects, documents, artworks and fragments of stories. Brought together into an arrangement, these elements tell about ideas, practices, cultures, people and events of the past.

During the four weeks, the four artists occupied the shop space not only with physical objects and sometimes the artists’ physical presence, but also with what Jean-Jacques Leveque called in 1968, ‘living works’. He wrote, ‘In living works, artists invite you through their action, to know yourself better, communicate better, dream better, love better, to be without false pretences and without prevarication. It’s not about an exhibition, it’s about communication, the continuity of living.’

(Untiled) Expand/Contract was not an exhibition. It was a vehicle for the discursive, dispersed, non-unified nature of ‘the experience’.

Abell, Stowards, Johnson and Howard’s works happened, each artist occupying the space for a one-week period, generating four different experiences. The public’s encounter and sometimes participation in these experiences was integrally part of daily life; encountered before meeting a friend or after having lunch, on the way to work or between shopping.

The continuity of living and the events of everyday were supported by the project’s location and became the contextual framework for the series. During the process of seeking and finding an exhibition space that was integral to Hobart’s urban daily life, it was discovered that urban public spaces are always attached consumer-driven spaces. Although the Cat & Fiddle arcade is a space of consumption, more private than public, it is also a gathering place par excellence and an important site for everyday living in Hobart.

(Untiled) Expand/Contract was, firstly, a curatorial experiment that momentarily placed artists and artworks into daily life, allowing them to happen in their entirety, as well as project their diverse and non-unified natures. And secondly, in its latter state, the exhibition presented for the closing event was a compilation of the documents, fragments and remains from the individual artworks to offer a commemorative event and encapsulate the series.

This project was assisted through Arts Tasmania by the Minister for the Arts.

The curator and artists wish to acknowledge and thank the support of Contemporary Art Services Tasmania, the Tasmanian School of Art and Centro Properties Group.

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