Artist Fiona Connor Rethinks Exhibition Spaces at Monash

New Zealand-born, Los Angeles-based artist Fiona Connor’s major new “collection” show at Melbourne’s Monash University Museum of Art (MUMA) articulates, not all collecting institutions are alike.

Connor’s description of the museum as “a big refrigerator” where “things get pulled out of the deep freeze to be put on show in the fridge” is no empty turn of phrase.

The Wallworks that give the 32-year-old’s show its title don’t just see her select and display works from the MUMA vaults, but make architectural and structural “quotations” of the various walls on which they hang around the university’s handful of Melbourne and regional campuses.

“It’s all about the way the site is affected by the artwork and the artwork is affected by the site,” says Connor, who was a 2010 finalist in New Zealand’s prestigious Walters Prize and recently showed as part of the 2013 Istanbul Biennial. “I’m interested by the idea of when a work becomes part of the architecture, almost as if it’s imbedded.”

Thus began Connor’s exploration of Monash’s campuses. The resulting Wallworks include a distinctly 1970s wood-panelled boardroom wall from the Peninsula Campus (which sports an ageing mock-tapestry featuring the 15th century Les Cerfs Ailes or The Winged Stags); Noel Counihan’s Groping fingers (1979), mounted on an unremarkable span of the CL Butchers Pharmacy Library, Manning Building, Parkville Campus; and a pigment-on-bark work credited to Buyuwuy from the mid-1980s, mounted on a wall bordering a staff bathroom from the Monash Indigenous Centre, Clayton Campus.

Wallworks shows at MUMA until 20 September.

Original article by Dan Rule, The Age, August 7, 2014.

Photo by Annie Trumble.

Tags: 2013 Istanbul Biennial  Age (The)  Fiona Connor  Monash University Museum of Art  Wallworks  Walters Prize  

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