Flowers, Flies and Someone Else
11th June – 3rd July 2004
Anna Schwartz Gallery
“Mikala Dwyer’s installations are like playgrounds; at least playgrounds for an alien species, or for some fantastic mutation of the human race. They’re fun, and funny, if in an unnatural and unearthly way. Their cubbyhouse architecture is fabricated from the joyous and uninhibited antics of bits and pieces of urban humdrum, abducted from their commonplace duties and let loose in a world as free from prosaic regulations – and as animated with adventure – as the land from Oz, Wonderland, or the spirit world in Hayao Miyazaki’s celebrated movie, ‘Spirited Away’ (2002)…. Dwyer’s ghost gardens are airless and sunless nurseries for halfformed, malformed, insubstantial, aborted or amputated images that rebelliously defy the natural selection of reason, or of the reality principle that would weed them out. These ghosts make up the endless, doodle-like ‘architecture’ of Dwyer’s installations: in flimsy fragile, transport or pearlescent plastic chambers that she describes variously as caves, pods or clouds. “I see them as floating houses,” she continues, adding another dimension to their shape-shifting, “like homes for thought.” Perhaps, too, they are like thought balloons in a comic strip: those frail bubbles seem empty, it’s not to suggest they are thoughtless. Ideas are not a content, but are expressed through the twisting, collapsing and flexing of the volume themselves.
Dwyer works the material exactly in this way, as a fluid type of thought expressed from her body’s movements. Applying the heat gun to a sheet of plastic, she bends it, folds and welds in onto itself in free form. “When I’m working in the studio it must look like a weird wrestling match, determined by what I can reach and hold onto at the time; a balancing act while doing heat seals, trying not to burn your own hair off. That much of it seems real. But it’s also like drawing in air – it’s all mistakes. Like chasing your shadow, believing your shadow to be something real. Mistakes like that may also be called flights of the imagination. Dwyer’s installations may be machines for that kind of fantastic flight.”
Ted Colless, Face Up: Contemporary Art from Australia, Nationalgalerie im Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, 2003