COOKING WITH JOHN
22.05.2021 - 05.06.2021
Brunswick East AU
Curated by Amalia Lindo + Jacqueline Stojanović
Cooking with John curated by Amalia Lindo + Jacqueline Stojanović
A John Nixon lunch is soup, reheated on the stove top, with different recipes week to week. It is “only two olives left, one for me, one for you”. It is red capsicums in a pink bowl and green cucumber on a blue plate; an assemblage of colour and form like a constructed painting, which sometimes shares the lunch table. On other occasions, a pie or a sausage offer a departure from the usual routine. Occasionally there is cake, always there is bread.
Enacted almost as ritual, the weekly lunch provided a pause in the day’s work. With John, the table was a site for eating, working, and talking, just as the food served upon it offered more than a form of sustenance or perhaps a new material for his practice; at John’s table, food became an analogical tool for discussion on art and life.
“Show ten loaves of bread, okay, we understand what you do.”
Cooking with John takes its cue from a selection of John’s food analogies, recorded by his most recent assistants, Amalia Lindo and Jacqueline Stojanović. The exhibition is a testimonial to John’s teachings through the presentation of new works by the artist friends and mentees from Nixon’s wide circle who have also had the pleasure of sharing John’s table. We present Cooking with John as an “anti-cookbook” wherein the analogies are the recipes and the artworks are the ingredients.
The head chef has left but the kitchen remains open.
VIEW ROOM SHEET
Yesterday's Bread 2021
Flour, water, two trestle tables
JN: If you have lots of orange trees you don't need to show one million oranges.
I began baking bread in 2018, after being gifted a portion of mother dough to care for in Sicily. I toiled to keep it alive under ever changing conditions and eventually transported it to Melbourne where every week I baked a loaf attempting to perfect the practice. The successful loaves would always accompany me to the Briar Hill studio on the days John and I worked together, to be shared at the lunch table. The unsuccessful loaves were reserved for me alone to critically deconstruct.
Both at the tables, for lunch and for work, we talked about bread. These conversations meandered through the political and proletariat to the spiritual and ritualistic associations of bread as matter and metaphor, and in discussion John introduced me to the personal history of bread artworks by friends in his circle. But mostly, I felt that bread for me was as potatoes were for John, a symbol of labour commonly understood and consumed. How different is making a tapestry and baking a loaf of bread?
The successful loaf harnesses all essential elements of life: earth, water, air and fire, with good timing.
In 2019 I made an exhibition titled Bread + Games after the metonymic phrase referring to superficial appeasement. As part of this exhibition I painted my bread and displayed it on the wall. John didn’t mess around with any superficial appeasement, and spent weighted words with me about the bread, the paint, the wall. It’s everything it needs to be left plain on a table.
So, bon appetit John; a table for lunch and a table for work, and a second chance for yesterday’s bread.
Photos Christo Crocker
25.03.2021 - 28.03.2021
NGV Melbourne Design Week
Truce, Collingwood AU
Azbuka Rug 2021
Wool, cotton and jute
70 x 80 cm
Photo Lillie Thompson
Future Inheritance curated by Marsha Golemac
Many of us inherit objects handed down from generation to generation, some ordinary or banal, some functional, others impractical, and some rare, precious and irreplaceable. Irrespective of their properties, they all carry inherit meaning, having been deemed worthy of preservation and appreciation by us, as individuals. Future Inheritance explores the power of objects, the stories they hold and the ways in which they transfer ideas and values, from one generation to the next. If we were to leave an object behind for a loved one – what would it look like and what is the significance of that object; emotional, historical, cultural or otherwise? Curated by Marsha Golemac, the exhibition showcases the works of 20 artists, with new work commissioned for this exhibition.
Azbuka rug is a very personal work made reflecting upon my own mixed heritage; the widely forgotten symbols of handwoven carpets in my family’s homeland; and the 1992 slogan of Mladen Stilinović ‘An Artist Who Cannot Speak English Is no Artist’.
So much of cultural understanding hinges on the practice of language, with the alphabet often the first symbols we are formally taught to recognise. While much can be lost between generations, I have chosen to create this tapestry using the same method as those in my family’s homeland – abstracted – depicting their Cyrillic alphabet as symbols to remember or forget.
Future Inheritance 2021
Photos courtesy Tomas Friml
26.11.2019 - 16.02.2020
Glass Cube Gallery, Frankston Arts Centre
27-37 Daveys Street, Frankston AU
Concrete Fabric is a satelite installation created as part of the exhibition Haus Werk: The Bauhaus in Contemporary Art at the McCLelland Sculpture Park+Gallery. Curated by Jane O'Neill with Simon Lawrie, Haus Werk forms part of the official 100jahrebauhaus program of events that celebrates the centenary of the Bauhaus in 2019. Including Australian and international contemporary artists and performers, Haus Werk affirms the relevance of methods first grounded in the Bauhaus, and explores the way these concepts have new applications across different locations and times.
Given the provisions of the unique Glass Cube at the Frankston Arts Centre I created a large-scale architectural weaving titled Concrete Fabric. This work consists of sheets of metal mesh, typically used for laying cement, covered in woven wool, which approaches the Bauhaus’ architectural principles from a weaver’s sensibilities, utilising industrial materials and maintaining an exposure of their raw qualities.
Concrete Fabric 2019
Reinforced metal mesh and wool
8 x 1.8 m
Photo Christian Capurro
BREAD + GAMES
22.08.2019 - 13.09.2019
328 Napier Street, Fitzroy AU
Grid IV 2019
Baking rack and wool
45 x 35 cm
Photo Christo Crocker
Grid V 2019
Baking rack and wool
40 x 26 cm
Photo Christo Crocker
Concrete Fabric 2019
Industrialised metal mesh and wool
4 x 1.8 m
Photo Christo Crocker
JORDAN MITCHELL-FLETCHER + JACQUELINE STOJANOVIC
29.06.2019 - 27.07.2019
1/10-12 Moreland Road, Brunswick East AU
Handheld Juncture presents new work by Jacqueline Stojanovic and Jordan Mitchell-Fletcher. Merging practices of mosaic and tapestry, this exhibition unites their shared interest in craft and histories of the handmade. Exploring a myriad of themes around femininity, the binary of art and the artisan, and the inherent hierarchy of materials.
Accompanying text written by Katie Paine.
Photo Christo Crocker
PICTURES MADE OF WOOL
GROUP EXHIBITION CURATED BY JOHN NIXON
19.03.2019 - 23.03.2019
Studio 14 Gertrude Contemporary
21-31 High Street, Preston South AU
19.03.2018 - 23.03.2018
The Workshop on Forster
Forsterstrasse 51, Berlin DE
Pirot Notes comprises a body of work encapsulating a yearlong journey made overland from Central Asia to Serbia following the historical trade route and eventual introduction of carpet making to Pirot. During this time Stojanović learnt the art of carpet making and later created this series at the Icelandic Textile Centre in Blönduós, Iceland, where she was an artist in residence during November 2017. The work raises concerns about the preservation of tradition in modern society in drawing direct reference to the artists own ancestral link to Pirot ćilim weavers and the broader tradition of carpet making in Serbia.
Once a prosperous town in central Serbia, Pirot was home to many weavers, and as recent as 1965 over eighteen hundred women lived and weaved there. Now, sadly, only fifteen women practice the tradition of carpet making in Pirot, with the number in fast decline as rural youth continually migrate to larger cities and financial support nears non existence for this art form in the country. They are remembered and celebrated by an older generation and these days uncommon to find in the contemporary homes of Belgrade. Heavily influenced by Turkish designs the Pirot ćilims are recognised for their bold geometric patterns and distinctive bright colours. However, Stojanović aims not to replicate the designs used in traditional ćilims, but her series depicts the visual impressions left on the artist during her time spent in Serbia.
Blending traditional symbols and patterns of Pirot ćilims with the modern symbols seen everywhere on the streets of Belgrade Stojanović creates a visual conversation between the past and present. The rugs therefore employ traditional colours and are adorned with the common historical motifs of running water, hooks and stars, representing life, protection and prosperity, yet arranged subtly beside the motifs of favoured sports brands worn widely by Eastern European youth. The culture for sport in Serbia is infamous and Stojanović draws upon this aspect in her hand woven scarf titled Self Support, merging the blatantly masculine sport culture of Serbia with the traditionally feminine act of weaving. Geometry is another key element utilised in Stojanović’s work, seen in both traditional ćilims and the aesthetic of urban Serbia’s socialist style blokovi and architecture. The Herringbone Parquet Rug is a direct association between the geometry of the old carpets and the geometry of the modern floors that are no longer covered by them.
In playing with these binaries of old and new, Pirot Notes abstracts the dying art of Pirot carpets by incorporating contemporary symbolism. Ultimately questioning what there is to be lost for a cultures history in the discontinuation of tradition. Furthermore, given this work is made in an age where these ćilims value is displayed in the opposing binaries of ‘the souvenir shop’ in which most carpets are manufactured, and the heritage museum’ that may house the very last handmade carpets, Stojanović’s work alludes to a state of laxity within modern culture itself. A culture focused on an inevitable forward motion towards certain progress and the potential mistakes of abandoning its past.
Photo Joel Boardman