Critics’ Picks

View of “Joyce Hinterding,” 2009.

View of “Joyce Hinterding,” 2009.


Joyce Hinterding

Level 3, 17–19 Alberta Street Sydney NSW 2000
November 6–December 19, 2009

Drawing––or, more precisely, highly formalized, quasi-modernist drawing––isn’t the most popular medium in contemporary art, nor does it generally have much role in sculpture or installation. Yet the drawings that make up Joyce Hinterding’s Aura, 2009, manage to exceed their modest format and take on a dynamic spatial presence as a function of their materiality.

Hinterding corrals the conductive elements of graphite and gold into single, continuous lines on paper, which are carefully formed into crystalline mathematical patterns of dizzying intricacy. Electronic pickups embedded at the ends of the lines effectively turn them into circuit diagrams, at once representing and operating as antennae. Hinterding underscores this function by hooking a few examples up to audio mixers and sound systems to add a further plane of representation, an aural account produced by resonant energies within and around the gallery.

If the installation has an accommodating, pedagogical appearance––complete with interactive soundscape––the panoply of readings it throws up is as complex as the drawings it comprises. One might say, for example, that the drawings’ rational, geometric appearance beautifully illustrates the singularly modernist paradox according to which the circuits can only ever be a graphic representation of themselves until they are completed. Or that at the point at which the circuits become, quite literally, activated and engaged by the world around them, the channeling of these energies into a more explicitly collective self-representation provides a compelling metaphor for an ethics of community. For all its visual and technical flare, then, Aura is also as provocative and as puzzling as any good mathematical equation.