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(conditions for) glacier

Events > Exhibitions

David Ryan
at Whitespace
22 Jul 2009 - 9 Aug 2009

Added by Dib By the end of the century it is predicted that the Franz Joseph, Fox and Hooker glaciers will all have disappeared. This exhibition “(conditions for) glacier” comprising paintings, large scale books, models, tableau, photography, video animation and electronic music, fabricates a reconstructed journey and is a model for mapping and moving through an environment of accumulated grids of meaning derived both literally and metaphorically from the glaciers of the southern alps. The observation and reconstruction of a journey using sound and image is one of the constants in Australian born artist David Ryan’s work which has dealt with travel, place, mapping and memory involving working from specific places and sites in the world including India, the Himalayas, South East Asia, North Africa, and Australia. In emulation of 19th century explorers, surveyors, amateur adventurers and artists, the mapmaking and painted topographical images begin as sheets of paper joined together with surgical tape and kept in a mapper’s pad whilst travelling. His method uses notations, visual fieldwork and drawings from specific landscape and geographic sites. Travelling light, a scribbled note, a random line or an assembly of fragments, sounds, episodes and insights taken during a walk help to formalise and shape an idea for a work. Ryan sees this form of inquiry as emblematic of an alternative way of perceiving the world, signs of passing existing only in the travellers’ memory. Like the Saturday morning cartoons of his childhood where the cartoon snake swallows some distinctive shaped object and distends itself into the same form, the transitory connections of sound, video and static image in this exhibition, like the glacier itself are continually re-building and re-inventing themselves, finding new meanings from already existing foundations. The exhibition points to our ultimate failure to truly embrace or comprehend nature and suggests that despite this one of the results of attempting to persist in identifying with the perceptions of an ever-fleeting natural world may be a form of wisdom.

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