I wanna be your anti-mirror

23 May to 18 August 2024

Artists: Hugo Blomley, Christina May Carey, Georgina de Manning, Erin Hallyburton, Ashika Harper, Rachelle Koumouris, Zeïna Thiboult
Guest curator: Alicia Frankovich

This exhibition introduces 7 early career artists whose experimental, materially complex artworks reveal new languages, sensations and attitudes. These artists resist dominant representational forms. Their embodied gestures in sculpture, moving image and sound are urgent propositions for living differently in the world. Anti-mirroring characterises the way the artists champion and proliferate ethical and material forces to make way for new spaces, realities and subjects. Coming from places of desire and independence, the works neither conform to, nor report back on any particular parameter. They are neither supplements nor deficiencies. Bodies are manifested in I wanna be your anti-mirror, transcending fixed subjects through a myriad of forms. As tech culture, wax and foodstuffs, as secondary or double subjects, as artifice, they propel forward, even if interrupted.

Erin Hallyburton explores fat studies through what she terms a ‘fat critical lens’. Working in bronze, cheese and liquorice, she has created a suite of works that puts forward a new framework for remodelling grandeur and modernist tropes within the field of sculpture. These fascinating works trick the eye as they anti-mirror perceived realities, proposing new walls, bricks and bodily forms as materially and ideologically different alternatives. Hallyburton’s practice interrogates ideas of class and gender by reframing  power, from patriarchal histories to what might be considered minor in society at large.

In her dynamic works, Rachelle Koumouris foregrounds race as an intrinsic part of everything she does. Four sculptures – a fluid, morphing chair and racing wheels with sprouting wires, petroleum wax, acrylic and nail polish buds – seem to simultaneously ascend and descend from their awkward resting points on the gallery floor. Is this what progress looks like? Are these new propositions or alternatives to unsustainable upward growth?

Hugo Blomley's sculptures produce illusive but defiant works that bleed from semblance to imaginary forms, evoking a sense of a future time with a simultaneous sense of the bygone. Blomley’s bodily forms evoke sensations of yearning and being. Through their material yet suppositional selves, materials like fibreglass, bronze, polyester resin, acrylic, polyester, epoxy, beeswax, damar resin, alkanes, power steering fluid and cadmium pigment make both longevity and mortality palpable. Red paint has been sketchily applied and appears to be deteriorating. In the outdoor courtyard, exposed bronze and fibreglass slowly weathers.

Ashika Harper presents an audio collage in 4-channel surround sound with a plural interchange built around dialogues from The matrix film. Here, Harper asserts multiple subject positions by morphing an AI voice into their own trans voice. The work produces a sense of self that is unfixed and becoming Other. Set in a resonating, outdoor space, Harper’s work transports us on a journey of trans narration in a complex, subject-defying soundscape.

Christina May Carey’s video and sound work Embodied tendencies builds tempo and pace through rhythms of flickering light, fluttering wings and pulsating beats in a multi-species audio-visual journey. Carey’s work proposes that her beings have agency and exist in multivarious ways. She produces a slippage between what appears to be a given, what might not have been, and what could still be.  Viewable through a narrow slit in a sci-fi-like enclosure, Moon II presents the moon literally emblazoned in time as it gradually turns.

Through hair, Zeïna Thiboult’s art builds on her relationship with family, her Fulani culture and present-day experience. A blonde halo and its black-haired counterpart are installed amidst hanging and spiralling curls, inversions laid bare. Thiboult’s work has been carried through rituals and practices of adornment and fashion in West Africa and Europe into the art gallery. The work affirms her ethnicity and gender.

Georgina de Manning explores a doubling of life online and IRL in her take-over of the cinema and infiltration of the galleries with meme placards, video projections, monitors and LED lights. De Manning looks at AI construction, internet culture at large and the NFT art trade, creating works through digital 3D modelling and montaged memes. She questions the languages and controls associated with tech platforms, where companies profit from what she calls ‘predatory actions’, gleaning and selling people’s data following our initial engagement with them.

As an exhibition, I wanna be your anti-mirror allows each artwork to be itself in the world, unfixed yet forceful. The processes of becoming, illuminating, sprouting, solidifying, repositioning, transitioning, interrupting, remodelling, living and decaying, underscore the works’ very existence. Our interpretation of them, in parallel, evolves in time.

Learn more about the artists and the exhibition in the exhibition guide [PDF 1.7 MB].

Image: Rachelle Koumouris, silly monkey, hubcaps with aluminium, wax, adhesive, nail polish, 2023. © Rachelle Koumouris. Courtesy of the artist