Submitted Review

‘Effect in Three Movements’

  • Samstag Museum of Art • Adelaide

  • —11 June 2020

  • Donald Holt • Published 08 March 2020

This presentation as part of the Adelaide International 2020 is bracketed by two exhibitions also utilising architecture as its source material. The work by John Wardle Architects in collaboration with Natasha Johns-Messenger previously presented at the Venice Biennale & David Claerbout’s Olympia both successfully add that essential aspect to representations of architecture, time.

The works in “Effect in 3 Movements” add another essential element to the comprehension of architectural space, eponymously hinted at, the figure in motion. These 3 artists all have backgrounds with dance or choreography, & this is a useful harness for this exhibition.

‘Ritualistic Tone & Vague Sexualisations’

Georgia Saxelby’s Video work has a pop fashion ritualistic vibe. The protagonists frot & caress the architectural details as they examine their own space with stylised yet real architectural space, resulting in a ritualistic tone & vague sexualisations of Washington DC’s classical forms. This makes the viewing more curious (& perhaps clairvoyant) with news of President Trump’s recent decree for all new government structures in Washington be rendered in a Neo-classical style.

Helen Grogan’s installation permeates the museum; it appears made from the museum. The structure, equipment, service closets, fire extinguishers & residual architectural details are all in the service of the work. Vistas & neighbouring architecture are insinuated into the installation. Leitmotifs of dangling straps & safety yellow planks move the viewer around the gallery. Small hints at the reassembled objects haunt the space on A4 prints like chimeras, déjà vu or choreographic notes. A scenography of some imminent or abandoned performance.

Zoë Croggan has worked with collage extensively. Previously combining images of performers bodies against brutalist architecture. These digital collages using found source material have been, to my eye, intentionally flattened & evacuated of the source object. They are a full reveal. Not only are the original pages used (uncut) in these unique works of now sculptural collage but the entire magazine volumes are displayed. An exciting progression in her work.

Donald Holt

Written by Donald Holt •
‘Effect in 3 Movements’ is on
at the Samstag Museum of Art,
University of South Australia,
until the end of June 2020.
Photography by Donald Holt.