From the Collection: Gertrude Contemporary Regional Residencies
Wednesday 3 June, 2pm
4 April – 11 June 2015
Warrnambool Art Gallery
26 Liebig Street, Warrnambool
This collaborative exhibition will place the WAG collection in the hands of four leading contemporary artists: Patrick Pound, Richard Lewer, The Telepathy Project and Noriko Nakamura. Each artist has been invited to create a new commission in response to the gallery’s collection. Curated by Emily Cormack, this exhibition is the first of three exhibitions Gertrude Contemporary will be presenting across Victoria under the aegis of From The Collection: Gertrude Regional Residencies in 2015.
Delving into the wealth of strangeness and wonder that can be found in Victoria’s regional art gallery storerooms, From The Collection is a platform for contemporary artists to imagine new possibilities for museum objects. This process allows artists to remove the objects from their current contexts and histories, and to then uncover new narratives or extend latent narratives within each art collection.
The first in this exhibition series, held at WAG throughout April and May of 2015, is driven by the extraordinarily wide-ranging wunderkammer-like assortment of objects that makes up the WAG collection. From x-rays of royal hands, to jars of python eggs and assorted Zulu artefacts, the WAG collection offers an enlightening insight into the aspirations and curiosities of early Warrnambool settlers. The potential stories are myriad, the voices and gestures profound, and each of the commissioned artists has unearthed, extrapolated or even imagined some of these stories in their making of new work.
For example, Patrick Pound’s major new work, entitled There not there, brings together a variety of objects from the collection that express the simultaneous co-existence of presence and absence. From a piece of Irish turf long ago transported and long since held in the Warrnambool Museum, to a painting of the unfinished span of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, this work brings to light a vast array of things that are found to stand in for the otherwise absent. The Telepathy Project (Sean Peoples and Veronica Kent), on the other hand, has drawn on the romance and tragedy of the local love story of Eva and Tom for their commission. This rumoured and unlikely love match between a ship’s apprentice and a first-class lady — sole survivors of the shipwrecked Loch Ard in 1878 — is a significant tragedy that still resonates along the South West coast of Victoria. The Telepathy Project has searched the WAG collection creating unlikely love stories and hopeful flirtations between portraits of those whose paths would otherwise have never crossed.
The four distinct projects in From the Collection: Chapter One each redisplay familiar objects from a regional collection and imbue them with fresh possibilities. This exhibition offers a rare opportunity for audiences to reconsider their own regional collections, opening up new pathways for engagement and exploration, and highlighting the collection as a site of wide open imagining.