Renowned Melbourne photographer, p1xels, is bringing an experiential Chernobyl showcase to a secret Melbourne location August 9 – 16 2019.
The walk-through exhibition, ‘Alpha Beta Gamma’ will uncover the nuclear ruins, through raw photography, iconic dodgem cars, a bespoke bar and immersive sound show.
The nuclear explosion that was the Chernobyl disaster of 1986, during the height of the Cold War, saw more than 53,000 people evacuated from within a 30km radius of the plant. Today, this exclusion zone is still one of the most radioactively contaminated areas in the world, with scientists predicting it will remain uninhabitable for 20,000 years.
p1xels’ work focuses on how nature is working to reclaim the once barren town, which the UN Chernobyl Forum described has “paradoxically become a unique sanctuary for
p1xels kindly spoked to us in the lead up to her exhibition:
What was the motivation behind visiting Chernobyl?
Chernobyl is one of, if not the largest abandoned human areas in the world. I have been exploring buildings that have been left in ruin by way of damage or, like Pripyat, due to a man made disaster. My visit was locked in in February after almost a year’s worth of planning, to go with the right people who understood what I wanted to get out of the visit.
What was the main thing you wanted to capture and why?
I was interested in the city, Pripyat, not the nuclear power station. I wondered what happens to a place when man leaves it alone for thirty years, structurally and also how plant life changes the landscape. That was one of the reasons for visiting in the summer. Much of the time we were pushing through the green dense overgrown jungle and all of a sudden a building would appear. There was a village I visited where we walked for ages to find houses and then a gap and more houses, realising that the main road through the village was now a mass of vines and small trees that had broken through the road.
One of the people who connected me to my guides runs a not-for-profit organisation, ‘The Clean Futures Fund’ and they work with the animals who live within the zone. I wanted to meet all of the animals, the dogs, the cats, but most of all Simon the Fox. We looked everywhere for Simon, but due to the heat he was nowhere to be found. I’d love to go back to meet him one day but on the other hand I like that all animals are wild in the zone. They do what they want and are not influenced by humans.
What was the most surprising aspect of the trip to Chernobyl?
How big Pripyat was, but how well planned and accessible it was for the residents. Multiple schools, gymnasiums, medical facilities, cinemas, Pripyat had it all!
What was the most confronting element of the expedition?
Being locked inside the accommodation overnight, Its a safety precaution but its strange how the psychological effect of being locked in a cage and not able to go anywhere with only the dull ‘bip bip bip’ of the geiger counter around you.
How do you respond to comments recently in the media that people currently travelling to Chernobyl are cashing in on others misfortune, and using it to boost their social media status?
My position is that I love abandoned places, there is a stillness there for me and that stillness allows me to appreciate my life, the opportunities I have created, and that there are people who aren’t in a position to travel to some of the places I’ve visited or not here anymore who aren’t able to explore and see places like Pripyat.
I can assure you I was considerate in every way while visiting Pripyat and I felt first hand the sadness in a city with so much potential and futuristic forward thinking planning to have come to such an unfortunate end.
I have received positive feedback on my images and the visit so I guess that there will always be opposing opinions but Pripyat is such a beautiful place that I feel it needs to be shared. My trip was exciting and beautiful and one that I’ll never forget.
What do you hope the viewer takes away from the exhibition?
An appreciation of the images on show, the time money and effort I made to bring them into the public eye and the reality that the evacuation of 116000 people from their homes, not being able to return and leaving all their worldly possessions behind impacted so many and they are remembered through the generous guides who escort tourists through Pripyat and what the city looks like, not what has been seen on a TV show.
What’s next for p1xels?
I would love to be invited to photograph some of Melbourne’s abandoned spaces, I have a little list that I am hoping opportunities come up from through this exhibition. I’m rarely without my camera so I will continue to work with the incredibly talented artists and writers who invite me to work on their projects, travel wise I’ll be local to Australia. 2020 however has a number of international opportunities on the cards!
Alpha Beta Gamma is a free event and will open to the public 6pm Friday August 9 until
Friday August 16. The location will be revealed 24 hours prior to the exhibition over at @p1xels
In March 2019 photographer Nicole Reed was invited to travel to Pyongyang, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, on assignment to photograph the city’s hotels.
Image: Nicole Reed
Her upcoming exhibition ‘Scenes from the People’s Paradise – Pyongyang’ comprises a collection of striking images taken throughout the trip and launches at SUNSTUDIOS Melbourne on July 4.
Fascinated by the city’s unusual colours, Soviet-influenced architecture, grand extravagant structures and the darkly clothed figures moving amongst them, almost like actors on a deliberately symmetrical stage, Reed was challenged as a photographer to capture moments she naturally observed within the confines of what she was permitted to photograph.
“There is a certain amount of disconnect you have to achieve to be comfortable in a place like Pyongyang. Arriving there, I had to forget about the DPRK’s status in the world and concentrate on getting to know people at ground level. Our guides were very intelligent, witty and fun-loving types, but stern when the situation demanded.
Pyongyang was once called the People’s Paradise: a place for the North Korean people to be proud of, a jewel to show off to the outside world, and a lure to repatriate Koreans who had left the country.
It is certainly beautiful on the surface, but Pyongyang is also a place that is virtually impossible to capture with truth, which I have come to terms with, as you can only photograph what you see, well, some of the time, if you are allowed.”
4 July 2019
95 Buckhurst St. South Melbourne 3205
‘I’m the little spoon’ was a message Goodie received from a Tinder match while living in New York. ‘Bed Bath and I’m the Big Spoon’ is a new body of work and installation responding to a series of intimate experiences Goodie had over the past year across the United States (where she was born) and Australia (where she grew up).
Photo: Nicole Reed
The exhibition is about love and the shapes it takes, considering the spaces that hold and house our feelings, thoughts, doubts and desires. Shared spaces of intimacy are like second skins. They take on characteristics of their inhabitants and contain collective memories. Personal reflections on the bonds formed between bodies and spaces, from moments often occurring behind closed doors, are rendered for public display; the gallery is reimagined as a bedroom.
Photo: Nicole Reed
Repurposed cardboard is massaged, taped and painted to resemble items and activities from an imagined bedroom, and installed within the space to embellish it with a domestic familiarity. A series of new paintings and sculptures portray a collection of domestic scenes. Sharing these moments publicly speaks to an open approach to relationships, where transparency and communication are key. The work gestures towards characteristics of queer and polyamorous bonds, as well as celebrating the networks of support that hold them. Private and public, platonic and romantic, domestic and professional, personal and political: complicated and never simple dichotomies dance in contemporary relationships against a background of social media, dating apps and uncertainty in the future.
Photo: Nicole Reed
‘Bed Bath and I’m the Big Spoon’ opens at MARFA GALLERY (Level 1, 288 Johnston St, Abbotsford) onFriday 7 June 2019 from 6pm. The show will be open for viewing from 8-12 June 2019.
Photo: Nicole Reed
Goodie is an artist and curator interested in orientations, suburbia and relations between spaces, objects and people. Their practice predominantly involves painting, installation, murals, writing and performance. By fabricating fictional architectures and characters, or adjusting existing architectures, they explore how public and private spaces hold objects and bodies. Furthermore, how the spaces we create reflect the values we live by and relate to slippery notions of identity, sexuality and gender.
Goodie was born in California and raised in Canberra, moving to Melbourne (Naarm) in 2014, where they live, work and love now. Goodie has exhibited and painted walls extensively throughout Australia and overseas, and has collaborated on projects with groups such as the Collingwood Arts Precinct, Juddy Roller, the Australian National University and the Abbotsford Convent. They completed a Bachelor of Fine Art at the Victorian College of the Arts in 2016. They recently completed a residency in New York at CON Artists Collective.
This Friday, join Melbourne’s infamous Mayonaize as he opens his solo show ‘Memento’ at the incredible KSR Art Bar space. The space itself is a historic site – built around 1850, and at one point was a butter factory, now incorporated into the Rialto Piazza.
Mayonaize is a contemporary fine artist specialising in a unique calligraphy script style of lettering. Since moving to Australia in 2001, graffiti has been a major influence on his eclectic oeuvre,creating a well established profile within the Melbourne street-art scene with a multitude of public works.
His pieces are distinctive for his deliberate handwork and swift,
yet precise execution of a complex and elaborate style of monochromatic text.
He lives and works in Melbourne, also working as a highly sought after tattoo artist working out of Tattoo Magic in Fitzroy.
‘Memento’ opens 4pm Friday 17 May at the KSR Art Bar Space. 525 Collins Street, Melbourne.
Amsterdam-based artist Adele Renault has something of a dirty habit… Painting pigeons is one of her favourite pastimes, and perhaps for what she is known best. However, her latest book also sheds light on some of her human portraiture.
Displaying the same intimate touch whether she illuminates people or pigeons, Renault’s masterful hand brings forth feathers and wrinkles with equal precision. From her aspirational quest to paint Mike Tyson’s portrait, via many flocks of pigeons on the way, to the inhabitants of Burkina Faso, her subjects are bathed in light, avoiding direct contact with the viewer in a way that brings them close, whilst maintaining distance and a sense of privacy.
Urban contemporary artist Unwell Bunny (also known as Ed Bechervaise) opens his new exhibition ‘The Mountains We Climb’ on September 28th 2018, at Marfa Gallery in Melbourne.
‘The Mountains We Climb’ is a new body of work in which Ed explores Japan and its sensibilities. It has layers of feelings, from the chaos of Tokyo to the stillness of Kanazawa Hills. Each image is broken down into fragments, with slabs of colour, texture and tone that symbolise the experience, whether by night or day, dusk or dawn. This is a time capsule of travel, but also of the struggle and exploration each of us go through in growing as people and evolving beyond what we know.
‘The Mountains We Climb’ is about pushing the limits of understanding. Exploring that place that brings discomfort and pushing the elements of your processing ability. Ed has done this with his exploration of abstraction and reinterpretation, pushing forward a more sophisticated pallet. Deconstructing the elements he has recorded and reshaped through memory and feeling of Japan. Finding new cords with colour and with textual mediums that join together to form landscapes. With its global sensibility and edgy urban undertones, Ed’s motivations are both to be pleasing aesthetically while also disruptive emotionally, triggering questions in the viewer, which is both inward and outwardly focused.
Discover more at www.unwellbunny.com or Marfa Gallery http://www.marfagallery.com/exhibtion/
“Missing You” is Ben Eine’s addition to The Cullen Hotel’s Street Art Suite series.
The hotel teamed up with UK street artist Ben Eine to create a one-of-a-kind artwork using elements of his distinctive typography and splashes of his graffiti style.
Since their beginnings, our friends at Backwoods have always fostered local and young artists. As they move into the future, Backwoods Forewoods aims to stay true to this ethos, fostering relationships with the next generation of up and coming Australian artists. Through this program, Backwoods Forewoods will spotlight young and local talent through a series of weekend exhibitions designed to support and promote our favourite emerging artists.
Backwoods are pleased to launch the program with their long time friend of the gallery, Adam Kinninmont, and his collection titled ‘Utopia.’
Adam Kinninmont, formerly known as Swerfk, is a Melbourne-based graphic artist. In his earliest memory of drawing, he is a four year old, pausing a Disney cartoon in order to trace over the character on the screen. This childhood exposure to TV animation and comic books, and later the skate and graffiti scene of his youth, has all played a role in the development of his artistic vision and unique graphic style. Since completing a Bachelor of Visual Arts in Printmaking and Drawing at the ANU in Canberra, Kinninmont has exhibited throughout Australia and internationally. His focus has recently shifted from graffiti to fine art graphic work. ‘Utopia’ is his first exhibition under his real name.
Kinninmont’s latest series claims its title somewhat ironically. In this body of work, the Western mirage of a sublime suburban existence is dissolved, and seen to be degraded, used, worn down over time by the grind and grit of everyday life. These street moments are composed from his own observation and exploration of Melbourne suburbia, in particular the older industrial suburbs of Collingwood and Brunswick. They are inspired by his interest in art deco and European style architecture, and of the tradition of architectural design illustration, which provides the backdrop for the ephemeral graffiti conversation irrepressibly expressed onto the scene. With inspiration drawn from the late Howard Arkley’s bright, highly stylised Melbourne suburbia paintings, Kinninmont’s illustrations have an added element of unease and mischievousness, a nod to the lively street culture here. Characterised by a bold 80s colour palette, his energetic, gestural style is balanced with technically executed detail and stylised abstraction. The presence of people is noticeably missing from each scene, leaving the natural and designed elements to be admired. However, this is no House & Garden magazine dream: you can see the cracks. – Helani Laisk
First Amendment Gallery is proud to present ‘A Forgiving Sunset’, a solo exhibition of new woodworks, works on paper and steel sculptures by Scott Albrecht.
‘A Forgiving Sunset’ exhibits Albrecht’s most recent body of work offering an evolved approach to his unique graphic languages. Largely rooted in typography, his work reconsiders the relationship of message and viewer. With each work being made up of dozens, sometimes several hundreds of individual pieces that are cut, sanded, painted and re-assembled, often at varied depths, the works shift the conversation to a more visual language of relationships starting with form and color.
The narratives of Scott’s work often pull from or reference his own experiences and distill them into a more universal interpretation to allow the viewer to relate their own experiences, and in turn showing how we are more connected by these shared events.