Culture Scouts writer, Melanie Booth, sat down with the two curators to get the story.
Is "undergarments" the name of the exhibition or is it a collective you've founded?
Andriana: About a year ago, Ellen and I talked about ‘undergarments’ and underwear in the everyday. We liked the idea of Undergarments as both a loaded and inclusive concept.
As millennials figuring out our own concerns with gender and sexuality we thought it would suit both the name of the show and act as a conceptual springboard for a variety of artists to respond to.
Ellen.gif: A collective sounds fun though! I think there is much more within this theme to be explored.
Is there a general theme shared between the artworks? Were the artists given a topic for inspiration?
A: The general themes we asked the exhibiting artists to respond to were intimacy, private and public spaces, gender and sexuality. As well as how these coexist in the Post internet era. We got a great variety of responses!
E: We really wanted to provide themes that were inclusive and open for interpretation. Rather than focusing on just the physicality of ‘undergarments’ we were interested in work that responded to these themes in a broader sense.
What does this theme mean to you and why do you think it is an important one to explore?
A: It was definitely really important seeing how the artists responded to the themes of the show. I think following the install and opening of the show we both saw that Undergarments had progressed far beyond our initial thematic concerns.
E: We were also aware that theories on gender and sexuality are ever changing. The Western world has, in some ways, become more accepting and aware of gender politics. However, there is still so much work to be done. More art to be made! More inequalities to be fought head on, more marginalised groups to be heard!
Did you feel it was important to present a variety of ideas and perspectives surrounding the general theme?
A: We really did! It was important for us to have a show that represented intergenerational experiences, queerness, and the intersection of feminine/masculine gender experiences.
Damiano Dentice’s video work BRATZROCKANGELZ: cam-gurl confessions & bedrrrm aesthetics 2015, brought up new insights on sex work, noting the private and public worlds of sex work online.
Whereas Clancy Gibson’s sculptural installation Hung out to Dry, 2017 spoke to intimacy in the everyday, exploring how dated modes of gender inform our day-to-day choices.
E: Sarah Woodward’s Cycle 2017 addressed sexuality and moon cups through crocheted installation. Xanthe Dobbie’s 21st Century Greatest Hits Screensaver Pack (2017) explores cultural nostalgia, doing so while addressing themes of sexuality and loss of innocence.
Faith Holland’s web installation VVVVVV (2011-2013) speaks to the private and public spaces online and in our post-porn age.
Was it a conscious decision to select artists that work with a range of mediums/styles?
A: It was important to us from the beginning to have a show that encompassed both of our interests in art-making. As a craft-based artist, I was excited to have a lot of textile and sculpture work in the show. Sam Lopez, Sarah Woodward and Carla Adams all explored the politics of cloth, still highlighting experiences of living in the Post internet era.
E: We sought after a variety of mediums and styles for the show. I was particularly interested in the web installation model and how viewers interact with these works in a gallery space. In Xanthe Dobbie and Faith Holland’s web installations, use of headphones and single chairs encouraged patrons to interact with these works individually, creating a new kind of intimacy.
A: Carla Adams’ weaving Dion (you only hate men because you are fat) (2017) was a great bridge in our show in that Adams’ utilises her textile practice as commentary on online dating.
How did you source and select the artists to exhibit?
E: We sourced artists from an open callout on Facebook groups and through direct messaging on Instagram. Some of the works shown were created especially for Undergarments as well.
Are most of the artists local?
E: Most of the artists were international or interstate, Because of this, we had more creative freedom as we had to install most of the works ourselves.
A: We did have a fair amount of local artists too! BK Dieci, Clancy Gibson, Damiano Dentice, Hal Timothy Yarran, Sarah Woodward, Sophie Joyce and Tors Davis are all Sydney based artists.
How did you find the process of organising the exhibition as an art student?
A: I feel that artists and art students make natural curators in that we know what it's like to be exhibiting artists on the other side!
E: It was fun! I think when studying it is important to apply for shows and/or work on outside projects so it is easier when you graduate.
Was it predominantly your curatorial efforts or did the other artists contribute to the show's organisation?
A: Predominantly our curatorial efforts, but we asked for detailed instructions for installing works. We also asked Bethan Cotterill and Elyse Goldfinch to write essays about work and themes they responded to.
E: We were really interested in their initial interpretations, and felt that their written responses would echo that of patrons entering the show.