In Meiro Koizumi's three-channel video installation, The Angels of Testimony (2019), the central frame features an interview with Hajime Kondo about his time as a solider of the Imperial Japanese Army during the Second Sino-Japanese War. The conversation centres on war crimes perpetrated in China, including the beheading of Chinese prisoners for...
Diana Campbell Betancourt is a curator working predominantly across South and Southeast Asia. Since 2013 she has been the founding artistic director of the Samdani Art Foundation and chief curator of the Dhaka Art Summit in Dhaka, Bangladesh, a transnational art event that has grown in size and scale ever since its first edition in 2012. Backed by...
China, home to 802 million internet users, is subject to sophisticated online censorship. This shrouded state of affairs, unsurprisingly perhaps, serves to reinforce stereotypes around conformity elsewhere. Any realm, digital or otherwise, subject to such strict scrutiny must necessarily be bland and uncritical, right? I was mulling over such...
Elizabeth Pulie, #81 (The Matrix Revisited) (2018). Acrylic on hessian. 179 x 179cm. Image courtesy Sarah Cottier Gallery.
After making abstract acrylic paintings for around 25 years, in the early 2010s Sydney artist Elizabeth Pulie started to see her works as textile objects.
Sydney-based Elizabeth Pulie's practice intersects art and craft to examine the ontology, commodification and aesthetic value of decorative arts and female labour. Working with textiles, wood, metal and acrylic paint, Pulie is known for her large-scale, graphically patterned, two-dimensional works.
Pulie has been exhibiting since 1989, and for 15 years was working steadily on a formalistic painting practice called the 'Decorative Painting Project'. During this time, Pulie investigated the relationship between art, decoration and capital.
With an interest in relational and alternative art practices, Pulie has also organised a number of collaborative projects. From 2002 to 2003, she co-directed a project space called Front Room from her house. The space became a hub for her peers to present and test ideas. From 2002 to 2005, Pulie turned to publishing and distributing her own magazine—called Lives of the Artists—as a platform to highlight alternative artists and practices that exist outside the 'official' art world. She also established the artist group Sydney Ladies' Artist's Club (2005–2006) as an inclusive space for women artists to get together and share their work through events, publications, exhibitions and performances.
Pulie has experimented with processes and materials such as weaving, hessian, linen, political banners, collage, wall painting and embroidery. Her use of utilitarian fabrics like hessian sit in an ambiguous state between function and art, challenging the aesthetic value of commodity objects. This use of materiality is part of a broader feminist critique around the aesthetic value of female labour, which was contextualised when works from this period were included in the exhibition Unfinished Business: Perspectives on Art and Feminism at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne (2017).
Pulie's ongoing theoretical research extends from feminism to a much broader critique of the nature of contemporary art. This critique culminated in a doctoral thesis titled The End of Art and Contemporary Practice, completed in 2016 at Sydney College of the Arts (University of Sydney). This philosophical project is extended in Pulie's work as she experiments with medium, style, form and subject matter to direct attention towards concepts of adornment as a provocation against the impulse to inject art with ideological function. By merging arts and crafts aesthetics with a post-conceptual approach, Pulie pushes her work towards its endpoint: a purely decorative form.
Pulie is part of the 2018 One Year Studio Artist program at Artspace, Sydney. She has exhibited widely across Australia including Redlands Konica Minolta Art Prize 2018 at the National Art School Gallery, Sydney; T__he National: New Australian Art at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney (2017); and Fabrik: minimalist and conceptual approaches to textiles at the Ian Potter Museum of Art, Melbourne (2016).
Justene Williams was on the road to Sydney when we first spoke ahead of her solo exhibition, Project Dead Empathy, at Sarah Cottier Gallery. The back of the car was full with the stuff that comprises her anarchic installations, and I imagined over-long mannequin arms stretching around headrests as we spoke.
Over the past six years, young Melbourne artist Esther Stewart has established herself as one of Australia's most collectible and celebrated contemporary artists. Her distinctive paintings utilise bold geometry and impossibly precise lines, and often reference contemporary architecture and design.We recently caught up with Esther, ahead of her...
Navigating a major art fair can seem a bit daunting if you're not a pro, and this year's Melbourne Art Fair is jam-packed. There are 40 galleries showing work across venues in Southbank from August 2 to 5, with leading contemporary artists from Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia.So we got the art fair's director Maree Di Pasquale to pick...
Auckland Art Fair puts the spotlight on this city as a place to see the best in contemporary art from the Pacific Rim. Dionne Christian asks some of the artists what 'place' means to them — in particular the space they work in.
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