Derek Kreckler Questions Our Icons

Accident and Process is the first survey exhibition of one of Australia’s most rigorous conceptual artists: Derek Kreckler.

The exhibition brings together a number of Kreckler’s works dating as far back as 1978 and covers a range of media including the documentation of performance work, photographic work, video work and sculptural works. As the title suggests, Kreckler’s practice has two strands: experimentation and the chances that can come with it. Curator of the exhibition Hannah Matthews says: “It was important for me and for Derek to survey a really long career and bring together the enduring strands of his practice to create an exhibition where people can really connect the dots between his iconic works and the depth and maturity and the resonance of his practice since the 70s.”

Derek-Kreckler-many-a-slip-Adelaide-ReviewDerek Kreckler, Many a slip (2012)

Accident and Process is a touring exhibition, which launched in August last year at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Art. Adelaide is an important stop on the tour, as Kreckler studied at the South Australian School of Art in the late 70s. “It was very important in terms of going back and acknowledging that formative period in Derek’s practice,” Matthews says. The exhibition provides Adelaide audiences with an opportunity to immerse themselves in the work of an artist who has studied at art school here and gone on to become a very established and well recognised artist. “The exhibition includes a lot of commentary about modern and contemporary Australia but, on the other hand, for those who really enjoy and appreciate craft, material and media, these elements are also very tangible in the exhibition,” Matthews says.

Derek-Kreckler-Littoral-Adelaide-ReviewDerek Kreckler, Littoral (2014)

Kreckler is particularly concerned with Australian culture and identity and a lot of his work explores their relationship to the environment. In works such as Blind Ned, a black and white projection where the artist is dressed up as Ned Kelly but with a walking stick blindly navigating the landscape, Kreckler questions our national icons and why they are important. While the work highlights the bushranger and the place he holds in terms of the larrikin in Australia’s history, Kreckler alters the character, making him lost and blind and unable to nd his way. “It’s looking at these icons of nationalism and how they can be repositioned to comment on deeper issues such as underlying nationalism,” Matthews says. The exhibition also features two works from the powerful series White Goods, a 2004 Biennale of Sydney commission. The series of images made in the rural landscape outside of Perth are highly staged, emphasising Kreckler’s interest in the performance arts – he taught sound design for theatre and film at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA).

Derek-Kreckler-wet-dream-Adelaide-Review Derek Kreckler, Wet Dream (1978)

In White Goods, groups of white people come together and look at white goods, like fridges and washing machines, suspended in the landscape. The work makes reference to the relationship between Australia’s colonial settlers and the Indigenous population while commenting on white Australia’s modern aspirations of consumption. Accompanying the exhibition is a monograph published by Perimeter Editions in Melbourne, which is due to be launched at the Adelaide exhibition. It includes a number of texts by people such as Helen Ennis, Richard Grayson, Kyla McFarlane, Ian McLean, Hannah Mathews, Sarah Miller, Quentin Sprague and Frazer Ward. Derek Kreckler Accident and Process SASA Gallery Friday, July 15 to Tuesday, August 9

Adelaide In-depth

Get the latest stories, insights and exclusive giveaways delivered straight to your inbox every week.