Asialink Arts is pleased to announce a commission from acclaimed Australian artist Heather B Swann. With the working title FEELER, the two-stage commission will be developed through 2017-18.
Heather B Swann is a significant contemporary Australian artist. Her work is critically well-regarded and widely enjoyed for its sensuous elegance of form, its acute sensitivity to the potential of materials, its highly refined, even obsessive methods of construction and its dark, surreal expressiveness.
Heather B Swann: This Whole Wide World Longing for Beauty 2017
From the Lullaby Suite drawings
FEELER is the first project to be announced under Asialink Arts’ July 2017 initiative, Global Project Space (GPS). GPS is designed to reposition the organisation as a key innovator of curated projects, providing new opportunities for contemporary cultural engagement and development with the work to be presented in Japan, Melbourne and Sydney.
The commission is being developed with assistance from the Australia Council for the Arts, through a curatorium partnership between Asialink Arts, The Ian Potter Museum of Art, the University of Melbourne, Sydney’s Carriageworks and Tokyo Wondersite.
The new work is expected to build on the artist’s recent successes at the Art Gallery of South Australia (Banksia Men, 2016 at the Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art) and the National Gallery of Australia (Nervous, 2017). These exhibitions combined discrete sculptural objects, installation and performance, and involved close collaboration with a composer, instrumentalists and singers.
Heather B Swann: Banksia Men, silk, glass, installations dimensions variable
Swann will undertake a period of research in September-October 2017 at Tokyo Wondersite. During this first phase of the project she will begin to work with local residents and artists on what the artist describes as ‘performance tools’, sculptures through which she will explore new visual, aural and somatic domains.
The processes of encounter and activation will be documented as FEELER develops. Over the 12 months following the initial residency, the artist will create an installation and performance structure for final presentation in Japan and Australia in 2018-19.
My work is a way of holding on to the world. My sculptures and drawings are figurative and modernist in expression, with curved forms, an insistent use of black and a marked surrealist accent. In recent years I have been working on performance projects involving composers, instrumentalists and singers, and I am refining the idea of sculptural objects as performance tools.
My participation in the program is firstly to make a close connection to Japanese culture, both traditional and contemporary. I will seek joy and inspiration in prehistoric and historical art and artefacts. I will walk around. I am interested in meeting people who will use my performance tools in their own way and for their own purpose, in an exhibition that I will be presenting in Tokyo in 2018, under the auspices of the Australia Council for the Arts and Asialink Arts.
Heather B Swann