a room with a view
Date: 10-Feb-2007 – 04-Mar-2007
Location: Contemporary Art Tasmania
Collaboration in contemporary art may result in a couple or group of artists working closely to combine their ideas, skills and practices to produce a unified work that is almost singular in its voice and represents a cohesive approach to art making that privileges expressions and meanings created by the group. Or, as in this exhibition, a room with a view, artists might collaborate by opening up a topic for consideration by the participants, who each work quite independently and then bring their works together for the exhibition – much like a curated exhibition, but without the curator.
In a room with a view, Marie Jeanne Hoffner devised the premise and approached two artists whose work interested her and whose work she felt would extend the meaning of the premise through collaboration and dialogue. The premise of this exhibition – the city as a space of material dislocation; the city as a place where reality and imagination shift in a positive/negative reversal, dependent on your point of view – became the starting point for correspondence between the three artists working over the past few months working in different parts of the world. The CAST Gallery provides the specific, physical limitations in which each artist has to work – the role of the gallery in a room with a view is to be a site with which each artist intervenes.
Rather than presenting a cohesive series of individual artworks, a room with a view invites the viewer into a space removed from reality – a theatrical, performative space – where the artworks operate as performers in their own right and viewers are unable to remain outside the theatrical arena.
Each of the three works causes us to move or act or respond in some way and comes to life as we do: cross the compressed space threshold of Hoffner’s torn landscape sillouhette and you leave one space of the ‘white cube gallery’ to enter (a la Alice in Wonderland) a dark world unseen from the other side. Morrow’s drawings of drawers draw attention to the multiplication of space (open the drawers and you double the space) and as you move around the room, her perspectival plan cord-drawings shift and move like eyes in haunted portraits. Newitt’s video continues his work with the stories of the people who live and work in Hobart – or a Hobart whose prime belongs to an earlier time. The footage of this elderly man, on stage at the Theatre Royal, speaks of the displacement of reality and the potentials for imagination and fantasy when it is allowed to intervene in life.