Monash University Museum of Art | MUMA
Monash University, 900 Dandenong Rd, Caulfield East
Ground Floor, Building F
April 24 - July 7
Science meets the abject in this collision of fictions from the minds of collaborating artists Meijers + Walsh. The duo have invented a fictional man named Henri Papin—supposedly a collector born in France on June 6 in an unknown year who migrated to Australia and eventually settled in Hobart, Tasmania. In their newly commissioned work, the artists bring this man to life, displaying his fascinating logic and his collections of tenebrous moving contraptions.
In the gallery viewers encounter a machine, an installation of continual and contained movements. There are spinning record playerssome loaded with feathers and balls of human hair, others with iron filings and lodestones that spin seductively, contracting and then being repelled from each other by an invisible force. Ferrofluid, a black, sticky, highly magnetic liquid, whirls and spikes from the magnets below that pull it in and out in tidal movements. The forces of longing and desire are ever present in the room, with the magnets, record players, and detritus creating an uneasy feeling of a hopeless love story being played out again and again.
The political implications of the work run deep. These two female Australian collaborators are inventing a white male character, of French origin no less, as the fictional voice in their work. Yet Papin is not a pseudonym behind which they hide; rather, he is an anthropological and psychological study by the artists, who have created this character as a way to explore the compulsive and voyeuristic aspects of their own practice.