Australian Centre for Contemporary Art’s current exhibition “Greater Together” explores the power of collective authorship in an uncertain landscape. Curated by Annika Kristensen, it brings together eight projects by collective practices predicated on themes of labor, collaboration, storytelling and friendship to explore the potential of the many.
Visitors first walk into the arms of a giant oak tree cropped into the gallery space. The installation is the latest iteration of Goldin+Senneby’s mutating retrospective “The Standard Length of a Miracle,” originally commissioned and produced by Tensta Konsthall in 2016. Set under the tree, the artists’ (Simon Goldin and Jakob Senneby) theatrical work is based upon a text by Jonas Hassen Khemiri, about dry cleaner and aspiring artist Anders Reuterswärd. At 2:12 p.m. each day the story is read aloud under the oak tree by an exhibition assistant wearing a piece from the “Anders Reuterswärd” clothing line, a work in which Annie Wu and Rosanna Hall created a collection of garments with surplus stock from local dry cleaners.
Storytelling as a force for collectivity is a theme that extends across the exhibition. Dutch practice Bik Van der Pol (Liesbeth Bik and Jos van der Pol) delve into local narratives and Australia’s idiosyncratic relationship between geology and culture. In Letters to the Land, visitors are invited to lie down and listen to love letters written and read by cultural figures like Wurundjeri elder Joy Murphy Wandin, writer Evelyn Araluen Corr and philosopher Justin Clemens.
Polish artists C.T. Jasper and Joanna Malinowska’s contribution to the show, Halka Haiti 18°48’05”N 72°23’01”W (2015), is a video work that documents a theater production of Stanisław Moniuszko’s “Halka” by a group of Polish performers in the Haitian village of Cazale. An installation by artist Céline Condorelli explores social exchange in a stylized waiting room scenario featuring her publication The Company She Keeps, a series of interviews that frame friendship as a creative material.
The chorus of creative practices involved in “Greater Together” present works that reassemble, or democratize, the many authors involved in the production of art.