Hours of operation

Loosely Speaking
Curated by Pip Wallis 

23 March -
27 April 2013

200 Gertrude Street

200 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy

Opening: Friday 22 March 2013, 68pm

Isn’t this entire, unending world constructed by the understanding out of incomprehensibility or chaos? [Schlegel]

Loosely Speaking makes a case for not-understanding. Language and coded behaviour can be restrictive in their clarity and this exhibition, curated by Pip Wallis, defied concrete logic in favour of indeterminacy. In this exhibition the artists Ruth Buchanan, Sarah Crowest and Adelle Mills extended the gap between comprehension and confusion, unfolding the potential for subversion and new ways of knowing that exist in the abstract.

Featuring work by three women, Loosely Speaking considered the politics of language. In each of these artists’ work abstraction and indecipherability were used as a polemic strategy of resistance – one that defies the authoritarian logic of definition and upends the inherent phallocentrism of language.

The artists used sound, video and sculpture to perform quietly radical gestures that point to the uncertain space between subjects. Loosely Speaking occupies this space and replaces the logic of semiotics with the poetics of art making where metaphor is material, syntax is spatial strategy and composition becomes choreography.

The work of Berlin based New Zealand artist Ruth Buchanan fractures the logics of language and speech. In an intimate audio work Buchanan compares conversation to shifting weather patterns, and an instructional library notice becomes an absurd poem that laughs wryly at the instability of language. Her work in the exhibition featured a fabric installation that translates poetic devices of metaphor and syntax into spatial material and gently mocks our failed attempts to corral the world into categories and certainties.

Melbourne based artist Sarah Crowest’s practice is driven by intuition. In her work she follows impulses beyond the realm of understanding in the faith that they will generate new ways of knowing. Crowest’s works are a form of social mapping, composed of scraps of fabric that the artist cuts from other people’s clothes at social events.

In a new video work Melbourne artist Adelle Mills lays bare the predetermined modes of action and communication that are dictated by the spaces we move through. In this work four bodies repeat each others’ gestures through a live video loop that reveals the ‘gap’ of interpretation, or misinterpretation, that lurks in all our interactions.

 Ruth Buchanan is represented by Hopkinson Cundy, Auckland. 


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Gertrude Contemporary

21-31 High Street
Preston South VIC
Melbourne, Australia

Opening hours:
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44 Glasshouse Road
Collingwood VIC
Melbourne, Australia

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