Stu­art Ringholt
Vit­rines

16th July – 14th August 2010
Anna Schwartz Gallery Carriageworks

Stu­art Ringholt’s prac­tice encom­pass­es per­for­mance, sculp­ture, video and writ­ing. Through­out his deploy­ment of these forms there is a char­ac­ter­is­tic sense of adjust­ed per­spec­tive, reveal­ing new views through sim­ple re-work­ings of famil­iar images. Com­mon to his framed col­lages, small-scale sculp­tures and per­for­ma­tive work­shops, Ringholt’s process of art-mak­ing involves the alter­ation of exist­ing images, objects and states. These changes are not rad­i­cal or extreme, but sim­ple move­ments whose mod­esty belie the sig­nif­i­cant shift in mean­ing they assert. Ringholt’s re-works’ appear absurd, often com­i­cal and always surprising. 

Ringholt’s Anger Work­shops, com­mis­sioned by Car­olyn Chris­tov-Bakargiev for the 2008 Bien­nale of Syd­ney and held at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, invit­ed vol­un­teers from the bien­nale audi­ence to par­tic­i­pate in a per­for­ma­tive work­shop’. Par­tic­i­pants were led by the artist through a series of sim­ple tasks that helped them to iden­ti­fy, and express, feel­ings of love and anger. By work­ing through a set for­mu­la of basic actions, each par­tic­i­pant emerged from the expe­ri­ence some­what reformed. The work­shop offered an oppor­tu­ni­ty to engage bod­i­ly with Ringholt’s method of mak­ing art, and demon­strat­ed the trans­for­ma­tive pow­er of con­tem­po­rary art on dai­ly life. 

The solo exhi­bi­tion Low Sculp­ture (Anna Schwartz Gallery, Mel­bourne, 2008), employed mass-pro­duced objects for exam­i­na­tion and dis­sec­tion. Attach­ing spray-can noz­zles to crum­pled cans of ener­gy drink, fix­ing rub­ber teats on to the fil­ter-end of cig­a­rettes, and remov­ing the cen­tral sec­tion of a plas­tic chair, Ring­holt edit­ed’
the func­tion of these famil­iar prod­ucts to ren­der their nor­mal uses impos­si­ble. These defi­ant con­fig­u­ra­tions pro­voked absurd humour instead of pro­vid­ing expect­ed con­ve­nience. Lit­er­al­ly low to the floor, unmedi­at­ed by the con­ven­tion­al white plinth, the works cre­at­ed a stage for move­ment where the view­er direct­ly shared a space with the object, again bring­ing art clos­er to lived experience. 

The artist’s new exhi­bi­tion Vit­rines, at Anna Schwartz Gallery, Syd­ney – which com­pris­es five glass dis­play cas­es– bears Ringholt’s mark of the unex­pect­ed. Locat­ed with­in each vit­rine is a num­ber of Art­fo­rum mag­a­zines, each one opened to reveal col­laged arti­cles and adver­tise­ments. Doc­u­men­ta­tion of oth­er artists’ works – most­ly adver­tise­ments, sanc­tioned by the artists and their gal­leries – are upturned by sim­ple ges­tures that bring alter­na­tive mean­ings to oth­er­wise sta­t­ic images. Pre­cise cir­cles are cut from the pages and then rotat­ed or replaced: in some cas­es the same cir­cle is rotat­ed in place, in oth­er cas­es the hole is patched with a cir­cle from anoth­er page. Each cut begins a new dia­logue between images, dis­rupt­ing the pris­tine pho­tog­ra­phy as well as the magazine’s care­ful­ly planned sequence of pages, and opens up a void into which new visions are pro­ject­ed. Inter­mit­tent­ly, pages fea­ture dupli­cate ele­ments cut from a sec­ond copy of the same issue of the mag­a­zine, repeat­ing excerpts of text or image. With care­ful sleight of hand, Ring­holt removes art­works from their plinths mak­ing two- dimen­sion­al draw­ings from sculp­tures that were once phys­i­cal: a weighty Franz West sculp­ture oats in mid-air; a kinet­ic Roman Sign­er los­es all grav­i­ta­tion­al force. By repo­si­tion­ing the art object in rela­tion to its sup­port, the works become dia­grams for Ringholt’s way of read­ing; lit­er­al shifts in perspective. 

Com­plet­ing the cycle from sculp­ture, through pho­tog­ra­phy and print, to col­lage, and now objects inside vit­rines, these images once again assert a phys­i­cal pres­ence. Ringholt’s vit­rines, whilst ref­er­enc­ing muse­um dis­plays, are more close­ly aligned with their shop-fit­ting coun­ter­parts – the glass and alu­mini­um forms are more prag­mat­ic than those usu­al­ly seen in art gal­leries. Their mod­esty is con­sis­tent with Ringholt’s gar­den vari­ety’ aes­thet­ic and econ­o­my of means. By engag­ing oth­ers’ art as the sub­ject of his own, and by appro­pri­at­ing a con­ven­tion­al mode of dis­play as a com­po­nent of his sculp­ture, Ring­holt turns the art-mak­ing process on its head – and places it back on to the plinth. 

Ash Kil­martin, 2010 

Images

Stu­art Ringholt

Vit­rines, 2010
instal­la­tion view, Anna Schwartz Gallery, Carriageworks 
Pho­to: Paul Green

Stu­art Ringholt

Vit­rines, 2010
instal­la­tion view, Anna Schwartz Gallery, Carriageworks 
Pho­to: Paul Green

Stu­art Ringholt

Vit­rines, 2010
instal­la­tion view, Anna Schwartz Gallery, Carriageworks 
Pho­to: Paul Green