Lau­ren Brincat
Shoot From the Hip

28th March – 21st April 2012
Anna Schwartz Gallery Carriageworks

REP­E­TI­TION AND RITUAL

Lau­ren Brincat’s prac­tice seeks to rec­on­cile the artist’s past with the ever chang­ing present through rit­u­al and repet­i­tive action…based on mem­o­ry and a nos­tal­gia for a past that is personal.”[1] In its broad­est sense, Brincat’s prac­tice is an ongo­ing inquiry into the self.

The exhi­bi­tion Shoot From The Hip’ – the artist’s first solo project with Anna Schwartz Gallery – con­tin­ues this inves­ti­ga­tion, build­ing upon the prac­tice with new works in video and sculpture.

Brin­cat’s videos are doc­u­ments of per­for­mances. The actions are sim­ple, either repet­i­tive or tele­o­log­i­cal. Repet­i­tive actions are based in child­hood mem­o­ries and imbued with rit­u­al; per­son­al snap­shots of anoth­er life brought forth into the present as they change form. Mem­o­ry is chore­o­graphed into move­ment: Egypt­ian Camomile (2012), recalls a home rem­e­dy for blocked tear ducts and a mother’s care; Car­cio­fo Arcim­bol­do (2012) revives the chil­dren’s game of he loves me, he loves me not,’ while allud­ing to the still-life painter famous for using food to cre­ate por­traits. Ref­er­ences to art’s his­to­ry are redo­lent through­out the work.

The video Steady As She Goes (2012) is a sur­vey of the sur­round­ing envi­ron­ment – not only visu­al­ly, but also through sound. While rem­i­nis­cent of Mike Parr’s exper­i­men­tal video, Push­ing a video cam­era over a hill (1971), this is less an action with cam­era than an exper­i­ment in paint­ing with video. The frame is fixed and the lone fig­ure cen­tered, allud­ing to Roman­tic land­scape paint­ing. The cam­era is behind the sub­ject, forc­ing us to see what she sees in a game of dou­ble-look­ing’. How­ev­er, Brin­cat intel­li­gent­ly updates this tra­di­tion of dou­ble-look­ing’ with the incor­po­ra­tion of a sound­track. In a method not dis­sim­i­lar to a paint­ed figure’s gaze out­side of the frame, the sound­track draws our atten­tion to the unsee­able world sur­round­ing the pic­ture. She builds upon the his­to­ry of her own work, as this video becomes a book-end to the ear­li­er It’s A Long Way To The Top (2009) in which the artist walks a bass drum to the top of a grassy hill, only to let it roll down toward the fixed cam­era, until it pass­es out of frame.

Brin­cat often uses inan­i­mate objects as exten­sions of her­self. Many of the ear­li­er works utilised drum kits for this pur­pose and, after a brief inter­lude, the artist reunites with her for­mer self in the form of the snare drum in Snare the Sea. As water gush­es, its beat rhymes with the drum as it makes music of its own. This work forms part of the greater nar­ra­tive of this exhi­bi­tion; a mus­ing on the sea.

ACCI­DENT

In Shoot From The Hip’, an array of seem­ing­ly dis­con­nect­ed or dis­parate objects and sym­bols are woven togeth­er into a nar­ra­tive evok­ing a sea jour­ney. The artist cites Bas Jan Ader as a key influ­ence and in par­tic­u­lar his infa­mous In Search of the Mirac­u­lous (1975). The project was to be Ader’s three-part con­cep­tu­al art work – com­pris­ing a series of pho­tographs doc­u­ment­ing a night time walk under­tak­en by the artist from the Hol­ly­wood Hills of Los Ange­les down to the Pacif­ic Ocean, an Atlantic cross­ing in a one-man yacht from the Unit­ed States to Europe, fol­lowed by a walk through Ams­ter­dam at night to echo the Los Ange­les action. How­ev­er, dur­ing the Atlantic cross­ing, the artist met his death and the work was nev­er completed.

Paul Vir­il­io’s the­o­ry of the acci­dent’ (or fail­ure) is based on the idea that acci­dents’ are implic­it in the inven­tion of any form of indus­try or tech­nol­o­gy. He asks the ques­tion; does our desire for progress need to pri­mar­i­ly con­sid­er the poten­tial acci­dent that will inevitably occur with each tech­no­log­i­cal advance­ment? For Vir­ilio, the air­plane crash begets the air­plane, the ship­wreck begets the ship – the acci­dent is there­fore inevitable/​implicit. If we con­sid­er Ader’s project in this light, we can make a direct link to Vir­il­io’s the­o­ry. There have been numer­ous spec­u­la­tions about the artist’s death in rela­tion to this work, pri­mar­i­ly because of its poet­ic mean­ing in a work described as Roman­tic. With­in this read­ing of the work, it is also pos­si­ble to con­sid­er the trag­ic end­ing – or acci­dent’ – as a pre­de­ter­mined fail­ure, as some­thing inevitable, even implic­it in the work. In this sense, Ader’s work achieves its pur­pose most ful­ly through his own death. His death was an acci­dent (fail­ure) but at the same time ful­filled his intention.

To shoot from the hip’ is to make a deci­sion or exe­cute an action on the spur of the moment; to shoot with­out tak­ing aim. But Brincat’s project exhibits greater pre­ci­sion. While the works may appear to be casu­al, acci­den­tal, they are in fact strate­gic. Brin­cat aims as much with her body as with her eyes.

The work South­east­er­lies to the Dol­drums (2012) is a large sail cov­ered in cas­sette-tape tell-tales’ (pieces of cloth or oth­er mate­r­i­al attached to a boat to deter­mine wind direc­tion). These tell-tales come from over 100 mix-tapes’ – col­lec­tions of songs care­ful­ly curat­ed to cre­ate indi­vid­ual nar­ra­tives. Rather than one or two tell-tales, there are thou­sands. If the cap­tain of this hypo­thet­i­cal boat looked to these tell tales for direc­tion, the boat would inevitably per­form an errat­ic dance – just as a body would errat­i­cal­ly dance to the thou­sands of songs on the mix-tapes, and as the artist’s hair dances in the video Sway (2012). The boat would be lost, or per­haps sim­ply enjoy this moment of unstruc­tured impro­vi­sa­tion. Where­as the south­east­er­ly winds are strong and bring change; the dol­drums expe­ri­ence no wind. It is a calm that cre­ates a mir­ror-like qual­i­ty on the sur­face of the water that traps a sail-dri­ven boat for days or weeks. The sail is rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the artist and it takes us fur­ther into the jour­ney of her development.

PYRA­MID

Works in Shoot From The Hip’ are con­nect­ed to the nat­ur­al envi­ron­ment and through the use of the pyra­mid as a sym­bol – togeth­er with the land­scape and the sea – there is a sort of implic­it spir­i­tu­al­ism. The work Dol­drums (2012) is a pyra­mid mir­ror. Appro­pri­at­ed from a paint­ing by Hilma af Klimt, this work is yet anoth­er stand-in for the artist… caught in a stale­mate… paused in reflec­tion. The pyra­mid as a form sig­nals strength. In archi­tec­ture the pyra­mid offers sta­bil­i­ty, aes­thet­i­cal­ly and struc­tural­ly – and for believ­ers of Pyra­mid Pow­er it pos­sess­es super­nat­ur­al poten­tial. The work Dol­drums is the con­nec­tive thread between all of Brincat’s works in this exhi­bi­tion; the mat­u­ra­tion of the artist, the embrace­ment of her wom­an­hood, her strength and cre­ative force. Brin­cat exca­vates the past through per­for­ma­tive rit­u­als doc­u­ment­ed in video, in order to achieve an ambiva­lent reflec­tion through the image of the dol­drums. She nav­i­gates her­self through a rela­tion­ship with the nat­ur­al world, art, and mus­ings on roman­tic nar­ra­tives of the sea.

Dress­ing Down (2012), doc­u­ment­ing the artist repeat­ed­ly remov­ing the shirt from her back, demon­strates that she has bared all. This video, then, is a reduc­tion that describes the com­plex­i­ty of all that we have seen. In the assem­blage Brin­cat offers in Shoot From The Hip’ there are no acci­dents – just spaces for qui­et contemplation.

Tania Doropou­los, 2012.

[1] From email cor­re­spon­dence with the artist, 13 March 2012.

Images

Lau­ren Brincat

SHOOT FROM THE HIP, 2012
instal­la­tion view, Anna Schwartz Gallery, Carriageworks

Lau­ren Brincat

SHOOT FROM THE HIP, 2012
instal­la­tion view, Anna Schwartz Gallery, Carriageworks

Lau­ren Brincat

SHOOT FROM THE HIP, 2012
Instal­la­tion view, Anna Schwartz Gallery, Carriageworks

Lau­ren Brincat

SHOOT FROM THE HIP, 2012
Instal­la­tion view, Anna Schwartz Gallery, Carriageworks

Lau­ren Brincat

Your Move, 2012
tim­ber, vinyl paint
4335005 cm

Lau­ren Brincat

South­east­er­lies to the Doldrums, 2012
Nau­ti­cal sail, adhe­sive nau­ti­cal fab­ric, cas­sette tape
140060015 cm

Lau­ren Brincat

Car­cio­fo Arcimboldo, 2012
doc­u­men­ta­tion of an action, 16:9, colour, silent
7 min­utes 34 seconds
Edi­tion of 3

Lau­ren Brincat

Dress­ing Down, 2012
doc­u­men­ta­tion of an action, 16:9, colour, silent
5 min­utes 28 seconds
Edi­tion of 3

Lau­ren Brincat

Egypt­ian Camomile, 2012
doc­u­men­ta­tion of an action, 16:9, colour, silent
8 min­utes 6 seconds
Edi­tion of 3

Lau­ren Brincat

Sway, 2012
doc­u­men­ta­tion of an action, 16:9, colour, silent
3 min­utes 21 seconds
Edi­tion of 3

Lau­ren Brincat

Snare the Sea, 2012
doc­u­men­ta­tion of an action, sin­gle chan­nel High Def­i­n­i­tion video, 16:9, colour, sound
15 min­utes 35 seconds
Edi­tion of 3

Lau­ren Brincat

Gold­en Stranger, 2012
tim­ber, vinyl paint
4335005 cm

Lau­ren Brincat

Dol­drums, 2012
tim­ber, brass cym­bals, vinyl paint, mirror
2068070 cm

Lau­ren Brincat

Steady As She Goes, 2011
sin­gle-chan­nel High Def­i­n­i­tion video, 16:9, colour, sound
2 min­utes 40 seconds
Edi­tion of 3