Hany Armanious had a residency at Elam School of Fine Arts earlier this year. Elam's sculpture department has a foundry, which gave the Egyptian-born Australian artist the opportunity to explore casting, one of his favourite procedures, in great depth. He made metal castings off utilitarian items of similar shape, including bells and peppergrinders. These subjects posed a problem for the process: how to deal with clappers and spindles? The resulting sculptures are part of his on-going inquiry into negative spaces and the paradoxes of describing them. In The Cult, his recent exhibition at Sydney's Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery objects were exhibited on Swedish-ish furniture borrowed from the Elam flat. The groupings recalled those old-fashioned morphological museum displays, which gathered objects according to form while hinting at some deeper significance. - 'a cult of casting'.
These arcane occult artefacts will reappear in Armanious's new installation for the New Gallery, extending the play of implausible links. The installation will take the form of an orientalist folly: a muslin 'sheik's tent' broadcasting Abba songs covered on Arabic instruments. In recasting Abba as Arabs, Armanious engages in cultural alchemy, conflating the manners of the blue-eyed Vikings and the swarthy Moors. Trying to recognise the source of the detourned music is linked to double-guessing the origins and purpose of the castings. A habitual category corrupter and cultural recaster, Armanious marries high and low, here and there. He rudely infects noble identity art and post-minimalist process art with rustic hippy-trippy values, and mismatches touristic ethnic cliches. In the age of art biennales, he presents a national pavilion like no other.
- Curated by
- Jane Davidson
- New Gallery, Upper Level
- Free entry