Art has the ability to transform what we perceive as ‘the everyday’. Overtly pragmatic in character and fundamentally performative in the context of display the everyday in art awakens new perspectives and perceptions.1 The re-contextualisation, re-construction and re-purposing of everyday materials and objects through a contemporary framework stimulates new ways of seeing, interacting and engaging. This transformative process connects the universal and the individual through the de-familiarisation of the familiar.2 It is here that the artist feels the potential for experimentation. Fuelled by the latent qualities and abilities of the everyday, the artist as experimentalist transforms commonplace objects and materials, making visible the often- overlooked materiality of our daily lives.3
Unintended is a framework by which to explore these provocations of experience and the dynamic potential of objects. Developed through a curatorial engagement with the RMIT Master of Fine Art Program (MFA) the exhibition showcases the works of three MFA artists: Rikki-Paul Bunder, Dom Krapski, and Garry Moore. The result is an experiential inquiry into the altered function of objects and materials – re-issued, re-invented and re-contextualised in the transformative realm of Contemporary art.
The exhibition brings together a variety of sculptural works that collectively generate a sensorial landscape of material performativity. Each of the works have been insightfully constructed through experimental engagements with the everyday – re-issuing environmental, utilitarian and manufactured objects into new forms that when placed in the context of art, transform into experiential assemblages.4 Though the works each have an individual method of construction and materiality, as a collection they spark an inquiry into the performative capacity of the everyday. It is through this inquiry that Unintended seeks to emphasise the indefinable and elusive impact and effect that is stimulated through one’s autonomous experience of art – situationally and relationally.5 In this new context objects are given a new life and purpose, creating the opportunity for audiences to engage with the everyday through an exploratory emphasis on the process of ‘meaning-making’ that follows encounters with the unexpected.6
Rikki-Paul Bunder uncovers the often-overlooked potential of the everyday through the re- purposing of utilitarian objects – a result of his continued fascination and experimental play with light. Polypropylene Eclipse (2rd Contact) (2017) and Polypropylene Eclipse (3rd Contact) (2017) consist of a large sheet of plastic that has been draped over two sticks of dowel that extend from each side of the gallery wall. In front of the plastic sheeting Bunder has tactfully positioned an LED torch, projecting the light above and below the sag of the material so that it interacts with the plastic to produce an effect, creating new references that spark new relationships with the objects we encounter.7 The transformation of light that occurs when it is placed in this material situation produces a scintillating, intricate and kinetic light display that fills the wall adjacent to the plastic. By creating an opportunity for audiences to engage with utilitarian objects in typically unobserved ways, Bunder provokes an encounter that challenges our former expectations of these objects and in turn alters our relationship with them. The animated projection produced by the interaction of light on the plastic invites contemplation on the phenomenon of light and material, and both confounds and enhances the viewer’s experience of the everyday through the revelation of wonder in the banal.
This experimental play with the everyday extends into a material inquiry through the works of Garry Moore, which structurally investigate our physiological and physical experiences of the spaces we inhabit. His sculptural assemblage Hen Kai Pan 1 (2017) is a large metamorphic sculpture, which has been constructed out of a variety of material fragments that are generally found in our natural and urban environment. A large solid rock hovers in space, suspended by a length of wire that is attached to a two-metre-high white object. The rigid wire from which it hangs is met with a strategically placed music bow that has been fastened to the structural assemblage at its centre. This seemingly-random arrangement of objects, and the tension and potentiality they provoke, is amplified through the works sound, transforming Moore’s construction into a device that generates a palpable relationship between self, objects and the environments we traverse. The sounds of the static sculpture in motion resonate to signify its melodic potential, offering the viewer an alternative and corporeal sensory experience. Through the re-construction of collected objects, Moore encourages audiences to engage with the dynamic potential of the everyday whilst conjuring a material inquiry into the ‘known’ function of things. In this new light, the everyday object and its ubiquitous presence in daily life is highlighted as a virtually limitless source of experience. Induced by its surprisingly rich reality-producing dimension, Hen Kai Pan 1 inspires new ways to commune, cooperate and see the world – offering an alternative sonic experience with materials we generally disregard.8
To continue this exploration into the invigoration of quotidian material, Dom Krapski re- invents the routine reality of an everyday office shredder – transforming the object into an experiential encounter and a performative facilitator of art. Purrfect Fur Forever (2017) has been constructed out of two long rolls of photographic paper that feed into reprogrammed office shredders, positioned at either end. The rolls of photographic paper feature close-up photography of a cat’s fur and extend outwards across the length of the construction. A Perspex frame encases the rectangular assembly of everyday objects that have been re- invented through an internal series of wires, cords and electrical materials that interconnect. These new connections caused by the arrangement of objects and materials are activated each day at midnight, prompting the office shredders to shave strips off the photograph. This activity goes unwitnessed but is implied by the shredded remnants of paper that gradually pile up on the gallery floor throughout the course of the exhibition, and continual vibrational purring that emanates from the structure, readying itself for activity. As an outcome of the everyday re-constructed, Purrfect Fur Forever invokes an existential tactility that produces a provocative mediation on coherence and incoherence, shifting the conversation away from functionality and towards potentiality and mortality.9 Through the re-imagining of an office shredder Krapski invites the viewer into a visceral space that prompts ideas of impermanence whilst also emphasising the living present – transforming quotidian objects into an experiential encounter.
Unintended highlights the process of meaning-making derived from the performative nature of the everyday in the context of Contemporary art. The collection of sculptural works, connected in their materiality and construction, triggers unforeseen encounters with familiar objects and encourages meaning to manifest in the experience of the unexpected. Together the works incite an eclectic form of magic realism that animates the exhibition space and highlights the performative capacity of the everyday re-issued. It is through the re-purposing, re-contextualising and re-inventing of quotidian materiality that Bunder, Moore and Krapski invoke the dynamics of possibility and inspire new ways of thinking, seeing and interacting with objects.
By bringing together this group of creative experimentalists, Unintended exposes the everyday as an active element that can animate our experience and encounter in unexpected ways. The collection of sculptural surprises creates a multi-sensory cabinet of curiosities that transforms, alters and re-imagines our existing predispositions. Through this categorical emphasise on the performative capacity and potential of everyday objects, Unintended emerges as an accessible inquiry into the impact of materiality on our experience – shifting perspectives, and subsequently the exhibitions focus, from the artist’s inward intention, to an outward experience that manifests autonomously and organically through a re-imagination of the quotidian.
1 Saito, Y. (2015). Aesthetics of the Everyday. The Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy (Winter 2015 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.). Retrieved from https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/aesthetics-of- everyday/
2 Leedy, T. (2016). Dewey’s Aesthetics. The Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy (Winter 2016 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.). Retrieved from https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/dewey-aesthetics/#ExpObj
3 Johnstone, S. (Ed.). (2008). The Everyday: Documents of Contemporary Art. Whitechapel, London: MIT Press.
4 Dewey, J. (1934). Art as Experience. New York: The Penguin Group.
5 Von Hantelmann. (2014). The Experiential Turn. In E. Carpenter (Ed.). On Performativity. Retrieved from http://www.walkerart.org/collections/publications/performativity/experiential-turn/
6 Dewey, J. (1934). Art as Experience. New York: The Penguin Group.
7 Bunder, R. P. (2017, May). Interview and Personal Correspondence with Jessica Clark.
8 Moore, G. (2017, May). Interview and Personal Correspondence with Jessica Clark.
9 Krupinski, D. (2017, May). Interview and Personal Correspondence with Jessica Clark.