Understood in scientific arenas, the concept ‘countercurrent’ refers to an exchange common in nature but mimicked as a mechanism in industry and engineering, describing the oppositional flow of two different properties, creating a crossover. Concurrently, to work within a counter current is to embrace and integrate difference and flexibility. As such, Counter Current is informed by an understanding of adjustment, amalgamation, collaboration and disruption of routine towards the creation of new possibilities and the inclusion of a broader plurality, because a current is never singular. To pluralise is to include, extending the conversation to allow for difference, additions, variety and diversions. Counter Current, thus extends, includes, adds and encompasses a turn toward new possibilities of exhibition making, art practice and forms of expression. As we settle into the newness of Spring, bringing with it a new exhibition at Eclectica Contemporary, Counter Current offers a break with convention within our gallery – away from the traditions of the white cube that privileges certain voices, aesthetics and modes of working. Considering an understanding of ‘current’ additionally as referring to notions of time and the present, this exhibition asks us to question and understand the multitude of counter currents that flow across our times, of change, disruption, ease and release.
We think of Counter Current as a presentation of inclusion and additions – challenging and querying the conventions that exist in exhibition making, while presenting work by artists who confront and counter the traditions of art practice. This exhibition showcases new medias and modes of creating, highlighting technology and dimensional work – through videos, installations, sculptural pieces and digital imaging.
In Anda Mncayi and Sterling Trimby’s illustrative pieces, alternative realms, counter narratives and worlds are built. Through the inventive depictions they have each created, possibilities are reimagined and visualised. Ibrahim Khatab’s elaborate calligraphic works are richly layered, contemplating traditions and the interactions of graphic systems. On densely patterned boards, his works play with focus, perspective and comprehension. Carla Janse van Rensburg’s imagery engages a discussion on power, superstitions and self-healing. Through an investigation in ritual and repetition, the work integrates technological possibilities with process and chance.
Kyu Sang Lee and Martin Wilson propose a meditation on the concept of time and its relationship to consciousness through their work together. Working together across mediums their installation demonstrates an investigation of space, dimensionality and corporeality. Through their installation, they show the medium of light and sound as a catalyst, calling the viewers into a space of quiet contemplation. Echoing conceptions of contrasts – life, light, darkness, loss – is Victoria Scott’s light installation. Her construction of light-forms juxtaposes and makes present the relationships occurring in liminal spaces, of uncertainty, possibility and potential. Where light plays with colour, shadow engages form – this is demonstrated in the painting installations of Christian F. Kintz. The blocks of colour in his work propose a rethinking of how light and colour interact, while extending paint into dimensional and textural objects.
Oscar Keogh’s video work confronts hegemonic convention through humour and the uncanny, disrupting and upending expectations and presumptions. Through performance and the interplay of props and costume, the work instigates a conversation around reality and the constructions present in day-to-day existences. Anthony Lane’s sculptural pieces invoke recognisable objects but are distorted and experimented with. The forms play with energy, movement and illusion through their physical presence, created through intuitive and labour intensive processes.
Through an inclusion of new modes of working, this exhibition proposes options for engaging differently, flowing with new considerations and allowing for the incompleteness of processes that remain ongoing. Counter Current invites new and familiar artists into the gallery while interrogating and challenging our own habits and conventions. Through plurality, we invite broader engagement and lateral interactions. The works extend off and away from gallery walls, resisting the confines of genre, medium or material expectations. They expand and augment, activating different spaces, subjects and formats by creating new visual conversations. What exists within this exhibition has been gathered by acknowledging an open-ended thought, with the hope of encompassing and encouraging wider integration and interaction.