Matt Huppatz is an Adelaide-based artist who crosses a number of different media, photography, sculpture, assemblage, found objects, video and performance, to explore ideas around masculinity.
“It’s about expressing my views of masculinity being a gay man, although I don’t think it’s totally obvious in my work,” Huppatz says. “I think it has given me a particular view on masculinity and on how men are. I’m interested in what it means to be a man.” Huppatz’s work also looks at ideas around identity and more specifically how we form our identities. He explores how we present ourselves to other people in terms of an individual’s inner and outer worlds. “It’s about how we interact and the codes we use to communicate through the way we dress, through appearance,” Huppatz says. “It’s the surface aspect of culture.” Huppatz is fascinated with how we communicate with each other, in particular communication within the culture of the party scene (nightclubs, house parties and festivals). Huppatz is interested in the idea of the inside and outside of language in terms of the club culture. It’s what we understand and know about the experience but also what is beyond language, because we don’t have the language to talk about it – it might be difficult to talk about or taboo. “There is the element of being in these spaces that are set aside from everyday life,” he says. “They have their own set of rules and behaviour, which are quite different to everyday. For some people they are places where they can find some way of expressing themselves where they couldn’t in the real world.” In past works he has used elements of the party scene – mirrors, disco balls and optical acrylics – as materials. In the work Sotterraneo (Underground), he converted a disused pump room on the bank of the River Torrens into what appeared to be the entrance to a club with music blaring from behind the doors. It’s the aesthetic of these spaces that particularly fascinates Huppatz. “It’s the light and dark, the shifting surfaces of the light moving and the mirrors. I find it interesting in terms of how it relates to identity and how we reflect or mirror other people.” The upcoming exhibition at Australian Experimental Art Foundation will include new work along with some slightly older works. While the dark/light idea has always featured in Huppatz’s work, this exhibition is pushing it a little further. “I don’t want to be too descriptive in terms of what it means to me. I want people to bring their own understanding and their own experience to the interpretation of the work.” Matt Huppatz: Work! Australian Experimental Art Foundation Continues until Saturday, June 27 aeaf.org.au Image: Matt Huppatz, Hibiscus, 2015.