Hippies use the side door to enter the bazaar


Drill Hall, Sydney
24 - 31 August, 2019


Alethea Everard, Ander Rennick, George Egerton-Warburton, Hana Earles, Jessie Kiely, Joe Speier, Nik Lee, Samraing Chea, Sorawit Songsataya, organised by Spencer Lai

Hippies use the side door to enter the bazaar is a curatorial project and contribution for Cosmopolitan, an exhibition organised by Rafaela Pandolfini with Jana Hawkins-Andersen.

Exhibition text (SpencerLai)

I

Hippies use the side door to enter the bazaar is simultaneously an exhibition contribution and exhibition itself.

The works in this presentation have been selected as they either address directly, or hint at, counterculture and its associated visual language, symbols and language; more broadly: malaise, ambivalence and in its most distilled form: counterculture, community, idealism, utopias.

The selected works oscillate between micro and macro worldviews. The myopic naughtiness of Alethea Everard’s acid tab paintings untitled (blotters) (2019) circle the perimeter of the space

Mimicking the formal register of acid tabs, untitled (blotters) is installed equidistant along the existing midline of the space.  The tabs punctuate the space with a series of images: a crudely drawn house, a stylised graphic of an ant, the splayed palm leaves of the Cannes Film Festival logo. They are affixed directly to the wall with the organiser’s saliva.

 

Similarly, Joe Speier’s Every evil that we know is an evil we can rise above (2019) echoes this enacted sense of delinquency, presenting a conduit of crude homemade bongs. Resembling a conduit/circuit board, the non-functional bongs and their placeholder drawings/placemats read simultaneously as prop and symbol, stand-ins for canned rebellious idealism.

The thematics of drugs and its effect on the body continues with Hana Earles’ Regenbogenfarbe (2019). A colour field study, Regenbogenfarbe (roughly translated from German as ‘rainbow-coloured) brings to mind psychoactive visual hallucination, tripping. Beneath the hazy application of vertical coloured stripes in oils, a drawing (perhaps an earlier plan, or discarded idea?) of what appears to be a cartoon flower in grey lid pencil is faintly visible. Regenbogenfarbe is affixed to the space using the Drill Hall’s pre-existing furnishings: perched on an ottoman and leaning against a large dance mirror. Situated at the entrance of the space, the reflection of the viewer, complete with ocean liners and yachts resting at the bay together with the presence of Earles’ painting compete within the same frame.

Colourfield gradients also appear in part of Jessie Kiely’s garments in eleven seventeen two (2018). Women’s wear (pencil skirts, bat-winged jumper) see a treatment of colour gradation and sequins - a polkadot print is overlaid with sequins, the skirts fit over boxy forms of a skirt underneath - as if to pervert the classic sensibilities of the composed, corporate figure. Another ensemble of Kiely’s slumps, as if exhausted, on a generic white plastic outdoor chair: classic women’s slacks and blouse are peppered with small coloured beads, mimicking berry pinheads. Sewn almost pathologically throughout the garment, the beads infer the processes of garment production - perhaps more obliquely, an altered state of being.

Nik Lee’s drawings (untitled and dear young poet, both 2018) wrap around the corner of the wall. The date ‘1994’ appears in the line work of one of the drawings; darker tendrils sprout out from the centre line, like psychogeographic demarcations. I am told from the artist that these works began with a set of sourced editorial graphics and a hard edge formalist painting from Taipei and Launceston. Anachronism is some sort of key here, enacting as a guide to the viewer through the trajectory of styles and language of drawing, exploring the visual language of  graphic design, architectural drafts, archival documents, Modernism and the self.

Adjacent to Lee is George Egerton-Warbuton’s Grammar school, schoolies, Kerobakan Prison (2019). A boogie board donning a man’s floral patterned tie  work hangs above all others in the space, like a surveillance feature. Egerton-Warbuton’s boogie board-form implies reads a darker, seedier tone - inciting corporate and vacation culture, concurrently. Transported from Melbourne to Sydney via plane elicits a subtext of Schappelle Corby for this organiser, too.

 

   To switch from macro to a micro view: universes are depicted in the narrative-driven and descriptive drawings by Samraing Chea. Samraing provides the viewer a series of seemingly isolated vignettes rendered wonerfully in Technicolour. In Chea’s universe, banal and fantastical events and activities are given the same steady attention to detail and care.

On the topic of care and colour: Sorawit Songsataya’s merino hand-felted dress adorned with heat-pressed violas in The Yellow Dress (2019) is suspended beside Coyotes Running Opposite Ways (2016). The dress, too narrow and small, even for a child, exists as placeholder, as symbol. In Coyotes Running Opposite Ways, scenes rendered in CGI offer thoughtful, poetic scenes: a character uses thread to frame stars in a digitally rendered evening sky, microscopic images of cellular forms wane in and out of focus while a wooden wind chime sparsely clunks. Songsataya presents naturally occurring forms and upends them, offering an uneasy yet meditative worldview.

Ander Rennick’s Anastasia (2019) presents an exquisite corpse of images gathered from the internet of people with tattoos of Aphex Twin’s logo. The London-based producer (born Richard Davis James) is oft-cited and recognised as a leading mastermind behind electronic music. In Anastasia, the logo, a cultural marker and brand in and of itself, is multiplied across several points of the imagined torso. The smothering of the work in baby oil pushes the work into a sexual territory - we are reminded of friction and freedom. The sentiment of a collective countercultural memory is implied in the work - perhaps culture exists as a nebulous form? We are left to wonder just how many more bodies there are in this world: an entire global constellation of disembodied Aphex Twin tattoos twinkling steadily in the dark, black sky.


II

Even though I have never been here before, the bay and this area reminds me of boring obscenities, fantasies you hear on television, in movies: I never experienced like handjobs under piers I never gave, bundles of cotton underwear and greasy groceries I never stole.

That evening, I dream about being an adolescent teenage girl. More accurately: I dream about the embodiment of a young person during their formative years.

In the dream I make friends, listen to music. I rebel against my parents, who are conveniently represented in my dream as two shadowy, undefined figures. I lie in bed and kick and cry and scream into my pillow. No one understands me, and if only there were other people like me out there, we could be friends.

We could share similar interests in another city. We share each other’s clothes and exchange information with one another. And if there is no one else left in this world: so be it.

I smile to my friend in the dream and I am sure we will continue this friendship over many years.

 

This scenario could take place in the 1950s through to contemporary times. The clothes, music and environment changes only slightly, incrementally different each year -- such is the passage of time.

The large doors swing outwards, as hippies are asked to use the side door to enter the bazaar.

Hippies use the side door to enter the bazaar
Installation view

Hippies use the side door to enter the bazaar
Installation view

Hana Earles
Regenbogenfarben,
Oil on canvas, 2019

Joe Speier
Every evil that we know is an evil we can rise above, 2019
Plastic bottles, water, plastic, tape, aluminium foil, pen, ink on paper

Jessie Kiely
eleven seventeen two, 2018

Collection looks 1, 10 & 11

Jessie Kiely
eleven seventeen two, 2018

Collection look 10

Jessie Kiely
eleven seventeen two, 2018

Collection look 11

Jessie Kiely
eleven seventeen two, 2018

Collection look 1

Nik Lee
Untitled, 2018
Media drawings
56 mm x 70 mm

Nik Lee
dear young poet, 2018
Media drawings
56 mm x 70 mm

Nik Lee
Untitled, 2018
Media drawings
56 mm x 70 mm

Nik Lee
dear young poet, 2018
Media drawings
56 mm x 70 mm

George Egerton-Warbuton

Grammar school, schoolies, Kerobakan Prison, 2019
Boogie board, men’s tie

Hippies use the side door to enter the bazaar
Installation view

Hippies use the side door to enter the bazaar, installation view

Samraing Chea

As that Moving Truck Arrives, A Heroic Kid and His Family are about to Move their Stuff from Their House, 2017

Greylead pencil, pencil
25 x 32.5 cm

Samraing Chea

At the Observatory Aisling sit on these Steps and Sleep, But Filmore Search and Take Her to Her Pet Shop, 2018

Greylead pencil, pencil
25 x 32.5 cm

Samraing Chea
1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Convertible Maroon Color Owned by Valentina Faure, 2017

Greylead pencil, pencil
29.5 x 41 cm

Samraing Chea

(Not titled), 2017

Greylead pencil
25 x 30 cm

Alethea Everard
Untitled (blotters), 2019
Inkjet on paper

Alethea Everard
Untitled (blotters), 2019
Inkjet on paper

Alethea Everard
Untitled (blotters), 2019
Inkjet on paper

Alethea Everard
Untitled (blotters), 2019
Inkjet on paper

Alethea Everard
Untitled (blotters), 2019
Inkjet on paper

Ander Rennick
Anastasia, 2019
Baby oil on laser print

Sorawit Songsataya
The Yellow Dress, 2019
Merino wool, polyester, heat-pressed violas

Sorawit Songsataya
Coyotes Running Opposite Ways, 2016

Digital video, colour, sound

4:58 min

Documentation courtesy of Rafaela Pandolfini