Please Make Up My Room, Spring 1883
Hung on the outer doorhandle, “Please Make Up My Room” is a request to re-order the space that we’ve been inhabiting, preferably while we’re out so that we can return to a wonderful newness.
Art is essentially ‘made up’ and for PAULNACHE at Spring 1883, each of the artists have been asked to ‘make their room’. There is a sense of playfulness in the works of Glen Hayward, Virginia Leonard, and Evan Woodruffe, and in making their rooms they convey a wonderful newness to the transitory spaces of the hotel.
The Room has been the focus of several exhibitions from PAULNACHE: in Room with a View (Melbourne Art Fair 2014), Peter Adsett installed his paper works on custom wallpaper as part of a dissection of the territory of the Room; the touring group show Lying in Space 2013 explored how the illusionistic space of painting could interact with architectural space; and this year’s Graffiti Lounge, which included all three artists, applied the outdoor aesthetics and processes of graffiti to the interior of the gallery. At Spring 1883, the space of the Victoria Suite has been made up in a highly baroque style.
Hayward’s almost secretive interruption of space uses the complete illusion of trompe d’oeil to hide his sculptures in full view, questioning not simply our cursory consideration of surroundings but the foundations of what is real at all (what exactly has been ‘made up’ in this hotel Room – have the light switches themselves been replaced, like the usual bathroom soaps?). Then upon discovering his work, one can’t help but be perturbed by the painstakingly slow time invested in crafting the object our gaze was initially so quick to dismiss.
In this hotel room, dainty china has been replaced by Leonard’s beautiful and grotesque ceramics, stacked in a strata of unstable fragments. These bodies formed from clay gleam and shine seductively, yet their toothy surfaces and precarious construction proclaim the baseness of their muddy origins. These are bodies like ours – imperfect, fragile, coarsely of this world, and also brilliantly coloured, interesting, and individual.
Woodruffe provides us with a space with no centre: diaphanous fabrics drenched in detail and draped over the furniture like psychedelic drop-cloths, extending his giant canvas across this hotel Room; even this painting is split, its middle now a gap. We are offered multiple entrances to the work and our gaze becomes nomadic, exploring the continuous space of his abstract diagrams. This a map-like schematic of a networked world in process and passage: ours.
Please Make Up My Room presents PAULNACHE, Glen Hayward, Virginia Leonard, and Evan Woodruffe as space explorers, teasing newness from the hotel suite by making it up.
Essay: Ria Camp
Photography: Ben Clement
For his part in the PAULNACHE presentation Please Make Up My Room at Spring 1883, Evan Woodruffe provides us with a space with no centre.
Diaphanous silks drenched in detail are draped over the furniture like psychedelic drop-cloths, providing a chaotic landscape from which his giant diptych 17th April 2016 rises from like a pair of graffiti-covered Monoliths from 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Woodruffe presents us with a baroque condition of the modern world, an unstable, networked world which he attempts to map, with the trail of the brush marking stages, places and possible events.
We are offered multiple entrances to his work and our gaze becomes nomadic, following both the process and passage: ours.
Virginia Leonard’s personal and visceral ceramics represent the artist’s bodily scarring and the chronic pain she suffers, following a serious motorbike accident in London in 1986.
"These objects are my body...
it is the pain I make and express in clay... the objectlessness of chronic pain is processed and overcome through abstraction. Abstraction represents the voiceless”.
In 2013 Leonard began working with ceramics to address her physical scarring and chronic pain. Self-taught and adopting an experimental approach, the artist’s first major ceramic project was for leading New Zealand public craft and design gallery, Objectspace in Auckland, culminating in the successful solo-exhibition Effects of Crack (31 October 2014 - 5 January 2015). Since turning to ceramics, Leonard has received national recognition for her distinctive and emotive practice.
Glen Hayward is known for his sculptures of everyday, mass-produced items. Carved from wood and painted exactly as they were as found objects, they masquerade as the real. Hayward completed his doctoral dissertation at Auckland University's Elam School of Fine Arts in 2005.
"I work at the intersection of carving and paint- ing, I find all the world of things endlessly fascinating and potentially meaningful.
This way of making solves two tensions, one my tendency to be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of things, the time it takes to carve things limits the number of things I can make. e second is more process based, it acknowledges that selection of the 'thing' reflects a way of under- standing the world, as the ready-made enacts. Although the world is fecund the mere presenta- tion of it shows - an angle not all angles."
SPRING 1883 is a young and exciting hotel-based art fair that draws on the traditions of the Gramercy Park Fair, New York to present the best of contemporary art practice from Australia, New Zealand and beyond.
SPRING 1883 was established in 2014 by Geoff Newton (Director, Neon Parc), Vikki McInnes and Kate Barber (Directors, Sarah Scout Presents) and Vasili Kaliman (art advisor), and first presented at The Hotel Windsor, Melbourne in August 2014 followed by The Establishment Hotel, Sydney (September 2015). The third iteration of SPRING 1883 will be at The Hotel Windsor (17-21 August 2016).
Through its intervention into a hotel’s context, SPRING 1883 sees the traditional art fair model replaced with a boutique site for dialogue and interaction between galleries, artists and collectors. Conceived by galleries for galleries, participation in SPRING1883 is through personal invitation, allowing the project to evolve out of shared conceptual engagements.