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
One of the world’s leading female street artists, Vexta, is making a triumphant return to the art scene with her brand new exhibition, Cosmos, a visual exploration and emotional response to the current environmental crisis. The exhibition will launch on Friday 2 August at KSR Art Bar, 6-8pm and will be open to the public until Wednesday 21 August. This will be supported by a series of interactive events, including an immersive dinner, Japanese meditative tea ceremony, a transformative sound healing and an artist talk hosted by Co-Curator, Andrew King.
Cosmos will be filled with her iconic geometric symbology and eye-catching neon aesthetic: birds of wisdom and warning, figures flying and falling in amongst a tangle of natural elements, separated from the earth, yet still bound by it. Her latest works are a personal response to the present state of the environment and an emotive description of our connection to nature. As she explains: “This new body of work is really important to me because it takes my iconic flying imagery and raises it to the next level; making it more personal, more intricate, and ideologically drenched in the nuances of the times we live in.”
This exhibition takes its title from Cosmos: A Sketch of a Physical Description of the Universe, a book written by Alexander Von Humboldt — known as the father of ecology — which predated Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. One of the first Western thinkers to provide a holistic perception of the universe as one interacting entity, Von Humboldt described the phenomenon and cause of human-induced climate change back in the 1800s.
Cosmos is an invitation to look inwards, to connect with our feelings — to examine how healing our connection to our sense of self can heal our world.
Vexta is a self-taught artist from Sydney Australia. With a background in Street Art beginning in the mid-2000s, her bold and extravagant artworks have invaded our visual landscape from Melbourne to Mexico and everywhere in between, from large-scale murals to gallery exhibitions, she is a nomad of our modern times. She has exhibited extensively across Australia, Europe and North America.
In 2009, Anthony Lister held a one-night-only pop-up art event in Sydney’s Kings Cross, entitled No Win Sitch. The show encompassed an installation in notorious Strip Club, Porky’s.
To mark the ten-year anniversary of No Win Sitch, Lister presents a brand new installation, CULTURE IS OVER, once again paying homage to the colourful old school Kings Cross culture.
The pop-up will be a week-long free exhibition for the public. Inspired by the Lister’s iconic artwork ‘Moloch of Luna Park’, 2017, attendees can expect a twisted trip into the paranormal mystery of Luna Park’s unidentified horned man, as well as the plethora of Kings Cross nightlife and characters, conveyed through his painting, sculpture and video installations.
Expect occult themes, introspective in-painting analysis of form and movement, Basquiat-style outpourings and Lister’s usual kickback against the cops.
CULTURE IS OVER opens Wednesday 17 July at 7:00pm.
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
HYPNAGOGIA – opening night June 21st I show open until June 30th
Performance by Karen Bravo during the opening at Versus Gallery I 1 Vere St, Richmond, VIC. 3121. Australia
When we fall asleep, where do we travel? Can we go there entirely conscious? The transitional state between sleep and wakefulness— Hypnagogia—is the ephemeral portal that opens every night allowing us to dive in dreams consciously. After exploring the concept of presence in daily life with her last show, Lucy Lucy is now taking this idea into the world of dreams. Being aware in dreams is possible and strange. The delicate skill of traveling through the dreamscape mindfully is incredibly powerful. In this new body of work Lucy aims to capture the elusive joy and power of the hypnagogic state by depicting her subjects in this state of limbo playing with mysterious forms plugged into their mind, linking conscious and unconscious. Those bedtime travellers are mindfully interacting with their dawning dreams. Playing with the weird and the wonderful by engaging lucidly with the subconscious may be just a question of intention.
Currently residing in Melbourne, Parisian born artist Lucy Lucy has graciously carved her niche in the Australian urban art community. Her work moves between large-scale public murals, gallery exhibitions, book illustration and tribal ornaments.
‘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.
World renowned contemporary urban artist Mysterious Al presents walk-through interactive art experience in a disused warehouse in Melbourne.
Following successful art exhibitions in London, Sydney and Los Angeles, Mysterious Al is back in Melbourne for his solo show: ‘Blinking into the Sunlight’, opening Friday 24th May 6pm – 9pm.
Rising to fame in the early 2000s in the UK, with the emergence of street-art alongside D*Face and Word to Mother, Mysterious Al has worked with Vans, Yahoo!, Carhartt, Volvo and Levi’s, even creating custom designed shoes with Adidas.
After the controversial backlash to his ‘Amy Winehouse – Bride of Frankenstein’, a chance encounter with some African masks at a London museum gave the artist new-found inspiration;
“I was desperate for a piss so popped into the museum to find a toilet. I went the wrong way and ended up in a room full of African masks. These crazy dudes were simple and crudely made yet they had so much character and expression. It was a time in my life when I was feeling lost and trapped within my work, and the vibe of these masks gave me a newfound energy. I made my first mask painting that night.” – Says Al.
Mysterious Al is returning to his roots to create an unforgettable, one weekend-only exhibition showing brand new canvases and installations.
His new solo exhibition will showcase over 30 new works through an experiential journey from darkness to light.
‘Blinking into the Sunlight’ is open to the public Friday 24th to Sunday 26th May at 16-20 Langridge St, Collingwood, VIC.
As a small commercial gallery, they do not receive funding from government arts grants, nor do they have the support from another commercial business. In most cases galleries rely on one or the other for funding due to the volatile nature of the industry.
Backwoods’ unique situation means the gallery relies on sales from exhibitions to rent the space, run projects, workshops, produce exhibitions, pay wages and more. The reality of hands-on collaboration with their artists and community has helped them forge strong and long-lasting relationships all the artists with whom they work, all of which they consider to be good friends, as well as their community of friends and collectors.
Backwoods Gallery only exhibits artists they really believe in, have relationships with, and who are a part of their community, such as Minna Leunig, Shohei Otomo, Reka, Twoone, Roa, Fintan Magee, Georgia Hill and more. They are dedicated to working, developing and growing with the artists they represent to ensure long-lasting, professional relationships.
Due to rising overheads, the gallery requires significant financial assistance to run smoothly. To meet these ongoing challenges they have planned an annual fundraiser which aims to take the pressure off day-to-day operations to allow them to continue to produce great exhibitions.
The online fundraiser auction will feature significant artworks from artists they’ve worked with closely over the past 9 years. The artworks will be hung in a special weekend exhibition at the gallery, with all funds raised going to help pay overheads for the space.
The exhibition will run from the 24th to the 26th May, and will be a silently auctioned online, open to all collectors and guests both locally and internationally.
Backwoods Gallery first annual fundraiser auction
Opening Night: Friday May 24th from 6-10pm.
Auction open Friday 24th, 6pm AEST – Sunday 26th, 6pm AEST
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.