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26th April - 26th May
The Reclining Nude
Sanne Mestrom

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Visual Essay

Director's Letter


We are pleased to be showing Sanné Mestrom’s new exhibition The Reclining Nude. This body of work was produced at her recent residency at Gertrude Street Gallery over the last two years and was shown in exhibition at Gertrude Street. This body of work is an extension and more mature reification of ideas that Mestrom began in her PhD work at Monash; Chalk Horse exhibited this body of work in 2009 at the old space and we have continued to support Mestrom since then. The Nothing Show, curated by Westspace’s Kelly Fliedner, was another serious outing within a group show, at the gallery for Mestrom’s work.

Sanné Mestrom won the Kath Fries Art Prize last year having been shown as a finalist the year before. She was also shown in Social Sculpture, Anna Schwartz Gallery, curated wonderfully by Charlotte Day.

What characterises Mestrom’s work is a fusion of different approaches to sculpture and conceptual installation through the twentieth century. She is an adept archivist who conflates and juxtaposes different methodologies to poetic ends. For example on one hand her work seems to recall Arte Povera or the object found by chance seen in the surrealist object, this aspect of her work was focused on in Social Sculpture. But then Mestrom recombines this poor, or industrial material or refuse with the aims of high modernism: Picasso, Matisse and Henry Moore (surrealist?). Is there a humour in the contrasts or does it create a more serious rupture?

It is the sense of breadth and confusion that in the end creates the power in her work. Perhaps like Aby Warburg or more anthropological approaches to art, Mestrom seems to tap into more primal feelings towards the object and towards art’s materiality. In her eloquent visual essay, which we ask you to take away with you, Mestrom has moved from ancient votives to high modernism. What is it about the sculptural object, installed in a sacred space (the altar, the white cube) that makes us believe in things we share: beauty, love and other absolutes.

-Oliver Watts, 2012