Four Rooms at Adelaide Festival

Referencing the 1995 film of the same name where four stories take place in different rooms of the same hotel, the exhibition Four Rooms will be presented in four purpose-built rooms at Tandanya as part of the 2014 Adelaide Festival.

Referencing the 1995 film of the same name where four stories take place in different rooms of the same hotel, the exhibition Four Rooms will be presented in four purpose-built rooms at Tandanya as part of the 2014 Adelaide Festival. Troy-Anthony Baylis’ role as curator mirrors that of the Bellhop character in the film whose purpose it is to stitch the stories together. Baylis’ four rooms are linked through the main themes of space, time and authorship. “Authorship comes out in terms of who is acknowledged as the creators of the works,” he says. In some cases the idea of authorship is blurred as the distinction between what’s original and what’s not is unclear. Take the work of artist Jenny Fraser: she creates what Baylis calls a meta-narrative which splices together videos made by other people. She produces a new work out of existing work, questioning the notion of authorship. Through this practice Fraser recontextualises the scenes altering their meaning and how the audience responds to them. James Luna shares the room with Fraser and has created a video response to her work. “The different works in the room will create a conversation amongst themselves, that’s sort of where the dialogue happens. Some of it is constructed deliberately to dialogue with each other while in other cases it’s chance,” explains Baylis. In another room, Vernon Ah-Kee, Tess Allas and Charlie Schneider have collaborated to recreate the famous ‘yes, no’ interview with Andy Warhol from 1964 where he answers `uh yes’, `uh no’ to questions about his art and art practice. Beamed through a 60s television, this trio has made 20 films of the same length asking Ah-Kee as Warhol provocative questions around Aboriginal art and authorship where he delivers the same yes/no responses. Gordon Hookey occupies one of the other rooms and presents a number of works featuring his recurring kangaroo motif. The room will be laid out like a boxing ring emphasising Hookey’s depiction of kangaroos as less cute and cuddly and more boxing kangaroo. There will be three projections showing Hookey’s stop animation work – a new direction for him. While his paintings often contain instant drama, the new process enables the drama to unfold in a different way, slowly building to a climax. Gordon Hookey, Terraist Animation Still 1a, 2012. Courtesy the artist and Milani Gallery, Brisbane The final room contains works by Zane Saunders, a painter and performance artist who Baylis sees as an Aboriginal Dada artist. “I am interested in exploring his practice from the point of view of Dadaism. It’s about questioning why Aboriginal people can’t participate in it [Dadaism] too. We don’t have to be conditioned by what we think we are supposed to be making.” Saunders’ room will be set up like a cinémathèque with videos in different locations around the room – some in cases, some embedded in the wall. There will also be a stage where he will perform at the opening, and for a couple of days after. The footage of the performance will be projected onto the wall in his absence. With Tandanya celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, you get the feeling that Four Rooms is a turning point for the Institute. The exhibition offers a new way of looking at Tandanya and gives some indication of its potential and what might be in store for the future. Four Rooms Tandanya – National Aboriginal Cultural Institute Tuesday, February 25 to Sunday, April 6 adelaidefestival.com.au  

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