Mikala Dwyer
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