Punk, politics and art on show in new exhibition at State Library Victoria

We're thrilled to have our zines and artists' book included in the forthcoming exhibition, Self-made: zines and artist books. Read Punk, politics and art on show in new exhibition at State Library Victoria to discover more.

Developed in partnership with The Sticky Institute, Self-made will display rarely-seen material from the Library’s collection of artist books and its zine collection the largest and most comprehensive in Australia. Exhibition curator Monica Syrette said Self-made will take visitors on a journey through the colourful and sometimes controversial evolution of self-publishing.

"The history of zine-making and self-publishing is inextricably linked to influential counter-cultural movements and social activism. What we’re displaying
items like sci-fi zines from the 1940s, punk zines from the seventies and contemporary feminist zines – are all reflections of the political and cultural movements of the time. The artist books in Self-made were also ground-breaking, designed to circumvent the commercial gallery system and make art easily available to all."

The exhibition features works by leading international artists including Swiss German artist, Dieter Roth; Pop Art influenced American artist, Ed Ruscha; pioneering conceptual artist Sol LeWitt; and renowned Australian painter, sculptor and printmaker, Robert Jacks; alongside works by contemporary artists and zine-makers. More than 170 works will be on display, including a dedicated reading lounge, revealing the breadth and beauty of artist books and zines.
Gracia Haby & Louise Jennison, A deck of salvaged relatives (detail), 2015, artists' book

Gracia Haby & Louise Jennison, A deck of salvaged relatives (detail), 2015, artists' book

Prattling in Mackay

Delighted to chance upon our birds in our artists' book, Prattle, scoop, trembling: a flutter of Australian birds, in a promotion for Artspace Mackay's "diverse collection of artists' books," which you can "enjoy in the Tate Adams Reading Pod, a purpose-built space for visitors to have unprecedented access to the collection" (in the latest Art Guide).

Turn the page. Get up close, and enjoy.

Artspace Mackay
Civic Centre Precinct, Gordon Street
Mackay, Queensland

Tracing the Line

Our two prints, Giving libation to John Singer Sargent’s dead bird study of 1878 (limestone and rose) and Giving libation to John Singer Sargent’s dead bird study of 1878 (limestone and gold), are currently on display at Port Jackson Press Print Gallery as part of their winter group exhibition, Tracing the Line in Australian Contemporary Printmaking.

Tracing the Line is on until the 27th of August, 2017.

Port Jackson Press Print Gallery
84 Smith Street
Collingwood

2017 Fremantle Arts Centre Fremantle Print Award

In continued good news, our artists' book, I think all the world is falling, has been shortlisted for the 2017 Fremantle Arts Centre Fremantle Print Award. It will be exhibited at Fremantle Arts Centre, W.A., from the 21st of September, 2017.

Gracia Haby & Louise Jennison, I think all the world is falling, 2017, artists' book

2017 Geelong acquisitive print awards

We are thrilled that our artists' books, paired, I think all the world is falling and No longer six feet under, have been shortlisted for the 2017 Geelong acquisitive print awards.

"Showcasing diverse contemporary Australian printmaking practice, the acquisitive awards and biennial exhibition will feature works by Benjamin Armstrong, Rosalind Atkins, Elizabeth Banfield, G.W Bot, Laura Castell, Jock Clutterbuck, Marian Crawford, Ben Fennessy, Dianne Fogwell, Peter Garnick, Kaye Green, Sue Grossman, Andrew Gunnell, Gracia Haby and Louise Jennison, Robert Hague, Rew Hanks, Carolyn Hawkins, Clare Humphries, Anita Iacovella, Michael Kempson, Deborah Klein, Jo Langley, Marion Manifold, Megan McPherson, David Nixon, Jiri Tibor Novak, Sharron Okines, Glenda Orr, Janet Parker-Smith, Jim Pavlidis, Stieg Persson, Ben Rak, Brian Robinson, Kati Thamo, Bridgit Thomas, Vanessa Wallace, Halina Wolski and Joel Wolter.

The exhibition of selected prints will be held at the Geelong Gallery from the 12th of August to the 8th of October 2017."

Gracia Haby & Louise Jennison, No longer six feet under, 2017, artists' book

Looped

We are thrilled to announce our upcoming exhibition, Looped, at State Library Victoria.

Nestled under #GraciaLouiseLooped, you can watch our process, from start to early August's install.

Looped
4th August – 26th November, 2017

'It was familiar. Yet it was out of sorts. It was a left foot crammed into the right shoe.'

From the 4th of August, we are turning State Library Victoria's dais in the heart of the Dome Reading Room into an artists' book. Not a book you hold in your palm, but a book that you walk around. One foot, after the other — left, right, left, right — turning the cabinet pages with your feet.

Treating each cabinet as a page, we will be exhibiting five new artists' books, including I think all the world is falling, and No longer six feet under, upon large-scale collages, weaving a fable beneath glass.  Come and see.

'I think all the world has fallen. And it was long ago.'

Come and see.

Concertina artists' books, in process

Concertina artists' books, in process

Meow: A Genetic Concert for Cats

We recently had the pleasure of working on the cover illustration of a Siamese cat for Kerry J. Fowler's book, Meow: A Genetic Concert for Cats, which looks at the DNA responsible for the diversity and appearance of cat breeds. In a clowder of cats, and to purrs of delight, the book was launched at the 45th ACF National Cat Show, Diamond Creek.

Meow: A Genetic Concert for Cats (2017) with a Siamese cat and DNA cat toys

A Souvenir of Paris

A Souvenir of Paris (2017) is a commissioned, one-of-a-kind Parisian memory folded into a concertina artists' book, which we recently had the good fortune to work on. Six-pages in length, we created a collaged version of the Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes upon the page, featuring an original plate from Roemer's Genera Insectorum and Grandville's Les Fleurs Animées. The artists' book is now in private collection (and much loved, we hear).

A Souvenir of Paris, as it took shape, on the working table

Parisian cats

Recently landed: Parisian cats, a new article on Marginalia (by Gracia) takes a look at two recent commissions, A Souvenir of Paris (artists' book), and Meow: A Genetic Concert for Cats (cover illustration)

We recently had the pleasure of working on the cover illustration for Kerry J. Fowler's book, Meow: A Genetic Concert for Cats, which looks at the DNA responsible for the diversity and appearance of cat breeds

The colour of nostalgia

Recently landed: The colour of nostalgia, a new article on Marginalia (by Gracia) takes you to Graeme Murphy's Nutcracker — The Story of Clara

The Australian Ballet's Kevin Jackson and Leanne Stojmenov in Graeme Murphy's Nutcracker — The Story of Clara (image credit: Jeff Busby)

An Australian Nutcracker

Recently landed: An Australian Nutcracker, Gracia's written response to Graeme Murphy’s Nutcracker — The Story of Clara, for Fjord Review

Murphy’s Nutcracker loops freely from summertime in late 1950s Australia back to snow-cloaked Imperial Russia before launching towards the 1917 Russian Revolution, in the way that memory does, and the musical score, in turn, can be read. Clara’s memory maps her life as a star of Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes before touring with Colonel de Basil to the homelands of previous divertissements: Spain, Egypt, China, and, naturally, the addition of Melbourne. Clara’s final performance is also the birth of a company, the newly formed Borovansky Ballet. To sweep such rich terrain in an evening, Clara’s story is told through three different performers, from Child Clara (Jessica Stratton-Smith) to Young Clara, performed by Leanne Stojmenov (on opening night) and Dimity Azoury (on Tuesday night), and Ai-Gul Gaisina and Chrissa Keramidas (on opening and Tuesday nights respectively) as Clara the Elder. Stojmenov not only taps into but epitomises fluid-shifting remembrance and loss, and ultimately resilience with such tactile conviction, rendering her spine elastic yet unbreakable in every intimate lift with Kevin Jackson as her Soldier/Lover. Great love never dims, it merely changes shape, and their connection and faith in each other feels all the deeper for beginning at the end.

From Hills Hoist to the Argus newspaper calls, the Australian gumtree angle works because it is presented as a truth. It is not (self-) consciously laid on thick; it is merely there. A mirror. This is us. A part of our dance history. These are scenes we recognise. Clara the Elder’s apartment is one we’ve all sat in, either in real life, or in a story where perhaps we wished we had a relative who had spent their formative years on the stage. As Clara the Elder, both Gaisina and Keramidas appeared to shine from inside out. To paraphrase Murphy, just as you hear Tchaikovsky poured his heart into the score, the same can be said of the light-footed recollections of Gaisina and Keramidas as Ballet Russes émigrés. Where past is in contrast to present, and Russian society is shown in contrast to a life of exile in Australia, the time spent in Act I with Clara and her émigré friends (Frank Leo, Colin Peasley OAM, Terese Power et al.) is what enables Nutcracker to hit you in the guts when the curtain closes. The body as it gets older cannot do what it might earlier have done with ease. This is the cruelty of age. And this is strength, beauty, and the importance of connections forged with others. If ever there was a call to follow your dreams, this celebration of a lived experience being that which makes us richer is it. It is precisely the amount of time spent in her apartment that is why, I believe, we feel a lump in our throat or a tear on our cheek when Clara dies. We cannot know what has been lost without knowing what is. Nostalgia colours the past, but it also informs the present and alters the future. "Time does not help us make sense of our otherwise jumbled lives; our jumbled lives help us make sense of time."

The Australian Ballet's Jarryd Madden and Leanne Stojmenov in Graeme Murphy's Nutcracker — The Story of Clara (image credit: Jeff Busby)

Out of Earshot

Recently landed: Out of Earshot, Gracia's written response to KAGE's recent work, which premiered at Melbourne International Jazz Festival, for Fjord Review

Myele Manzanza makes sound. Terrific sound. He plays drums. He plays the floor like it too were an instrument. Every surface, by this extension, has the possibility of being an instrument. And Manzanza also tap, tap, taps sound on Elle Evangelista, beginning with her shoulders. Standing face-to-face, he transmits sound to Evangelista. You can hear sound, yes. But you can also feel it as vibrations within the body. 

And so begins KAGE’s new collaborative work,
Out of Earshot, presented in the Chunky Move studios. Quietly. Intimately. With a question. How do we experience sound? Premiering as part of Melbourne International Jazz Festival, sound is not something we hear only with our ears. Sound is felt. 

We take it is a given that when we hear sound, we are not just using our ears. All our senses are engaged. Sound
is experience. From the hot tingle of goose bumps on the forearms, the lump that materialises in the throat, the heart that feels as though it were out-of-body soaring. Our feet tap as rhythm takes hold. A smile broadens as a crescendo is reached. Some, they may even ‘see’ the music as it flies through the air like some superb bird of synaesthesia. To me, sound has the effect of unifying those in the room, making us all instruments, like Manzanza playing Evangelista’s torso. We hear sound and the brain fires off happy notes throughout the body. Sound is, to this end, pleasure.

KAGE's Out of Earshot (image credit: Jeff Busby)