June 29 – January 26 2016
Scenes from the Life of Paris is an installation by Gary Carsley, a journey-man artist. Continuing H Project Space’s recent commitment to maintaining installations for periods of over six months, Carsley’s intervention brilliantly adds to the lineage of the artists who have engaged with the histories and aura of this exceptional space.
Scenes from the Life of Paris is a single-channel video installation that makes an object of the subject of video and theatrically bifurcates H Project Space while reflecting and adding to aspects of its interiority. Carsley is an artist known for hybridizing all manner of cultural forms and collapsing hierarchies of social significance or importance. On the lone monitor two animated busts by Canova, the great Italian neoclassical sculptor alternate rhyme with repetition to retell Homer’s tale of the Greek legend Paris, Prince of Troy. Written by the artist, the script is ironically voiced by an Australian accented text-to-speech program. Against a backdrop of floral wallpaper, both tangible and virtual these digital shades suggest a strange ventriloquy as the past and present meet within a queer(ed) architectural context where different narratives collide and collude: the real and the fictive, authenticity and mimicry and the grand and frivolous are re-mixed to compellingly humorous affect.
The very act of ventriloquism plays with time and perception, cleaving conventional temporality and hinting at archaic and magical practices. The voices emanating from Canova’s classical visages, lip-synced by the artist and a Thai friend reverberate with the perennial interest of H Project Space: the transformation of meanings through time and the possibility of slipping into alternative experiences and understandings.
Banner photograph by Dave Willis.
Gary Carsley is an internationally active artist, curator, cultural commentator and academic. In addition to projects for the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Museum of Art And Design, New York and Kunstvereins in Ulm and Stuttgart he has participated in the 2nd Animamix Biennale (2009), Shanghai and Singapore Biennale (2008). Curatorial projects include Its Timely (2014), Blacktown Art Centre, New South Wales; Venice Biennale (2005); Take A Bowery (2004), MCA Sydney; and Cerebellum (2002) at Performance Space Sydney. He has regularly contributed to Art India, Eyeline, Photofile and Broadsheet and has written extensively on the practices of emerging artists. Carsley is represented by Thatcher Projects, New York and Torch Gallery in Amsterdam; and his works are held in the permanent collections of more than 30 Museums including the National Gallery of Australia and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.