The Goodman Gallery One & Only is proud to present a selection of Thomas Mulcaire’s latest works informed by an expedition and project the artist worked on in the Antarctic earlier this year. Mulcaire was part of the execution and creation of a wind and solar powered station in the Antarctic for scientists and artists alike, and the works exhibited at the One & Only gallery are representative of the final products of a range of considerably layered and multifaceted works.
What first meets the eye is a plane punctuated by seven Ultrachrome canvasses whose surface is saturated with colour at different levels of intensity. Vertical panels and columns of a range of hues and tones rendered with slick, evenly coated Ultrachrome ink at colour levels that positively reverberate off the plane of the canvas, are the main body of work that is shown. The works are large scale, and have a charming story to tell: Photographs of the landscape and imagery of the Antarctic as the aforementioned project’s location were taken, but a malfunctioned laptop erroneously rendered the images in a pixilated, simplistic and stylistically interesting format. The interpretation of light, whether by nature or technology, is something of fascination to Mulcaire, and his fixation with light, translation of light through any form of filter or transformative device or interpretation process whereby meaning or image might change, is something dire to Mulcaire’s work.
A series of photographs (Estado, Miracao, Santana) adjacent to the canvases play interlocutor as the inverted, correctly rendered photographs the Ultrachrome’s intended. The photographs themselves do not represent the Antarctic, but Sao Paolo during a time when illuminated billboard advertising was banned from the city in an attempt to clean up. The transition from saturated colour to a subdued, dim haze at night and a cityscape reminiscent of a battlefield during the day, “filled with monuments to a struggle for public space”, a similar fixation on the presence and not-presence of light and colour is clear. Mulcaire’s inclusive interpretation of light is seemingly universal in his depiction of luminosity (or a lack thereof) and it’s interaction with humanity in different spaces and under diverse conditions.
Miranda, exhibited as a photograph of the large scale sculpture Big Bang imparts the concept of presence and non-presence within the shape of a star: A universal concept, the star, is at once present as absent. The frame-like sculpture is made of recycled rubble and concrete that came from broken down houses, transformed into sand and aggregate, and with the addition of water, the cycle ran again. Mulcaire says “We are from dust and we go to dust”. The work itself is representative of this process, it is an idea altered into form and back again. The dynamism of the work goes further; drawing attention to our fossil, concrete mass and landfills that are irreversibly entrenched into our earth, making up the largest man made mass on our planet.
An exciting, evocative and pertinent collection of work, Mulcaire’s show will be up until…..
Due to the interest and response from the public to his recent exhibition at Goodman Gallery Cape, Goodman Gallery One&Only is pleased to present selected works of Thomas Mulcaire’s opening 27th August. Mulcaire’s recent exhibition at Goodman Gallery Cape was his first solo exhibition in Cape Town since his exhibition at the South African National Gallery in 2003. Mulcaire engages and plays with contemporary curator and artist relationships, and establishes relationships between objects, images, curatorial projects and institutional works that deal with the idea of the commons, as well as referencing historical icons and forms in various states of translation.
In his work, Miranda, Mulcaire uses the universal symbol of the star as Big Bang. Mulcaire says, ‘Big Bang (2008) is basically a given form. It is a star….this particular Big Bang is also not a star – it is a concrete frame.’ The concrete framing the space shaped as a star is made up of recycled rubble form destroyed houses and buildings that have been reduced to sand, mixed with water and Portland cement ‘creating a chemical process, a fusion. Big Bang is a cookie-cut out of this fusion’. Concrete is the largest man made mass in the world (a cubic meter of concrete for every person). Mulcaire says, “the framing of concrete is definitely within that idea of production, and making a concrete star is also a bit of a joke on framing: where does the frame begin and end?’
Using a range of technologies to replicate the picture plane, Mulcaire plays with the ways in which digital and electronic technologies can be used as a painting surface. He explains that it is essentially about light washing over us and light moving away from us. Mulcaire is interested in exploring transmission as a genre and how it is possible to think of oneself as a link in a network.
Mulcaire’s work has been exhibited widely, including the XXIV Sao Paulo Bienal in 1998, the Biennale of Sydney in 2004, Art Unlimited at Art Basel in 2008 and the 2nd Bienal del Fin del Mundo in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina in 2009. Currently he is exhibiting at Gefrorene Zeit at Stadtgalerie Kiel from 12 June – 30 August 2009. Forthcoming exhibitions include and Distant Proximity at the Kunstmuseum Bonn from 10 September – 15 November 2009.
Thomas Mulcaire was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1971. He began a Fine Arts degree at Wits University, and then travelled abroad before returning to complete a BA degree in History of Art and Literature at Wits in 1993. He now lives in Ubatuba, Brazil. Mulcaire’s work takes many different forms and crosses into film, photography, sculpture, and installation. In particular, he has worked on a number of collaborations that interrogate the assumed limits of authorship in relation to the artwork. One such project is the Interpolar Transnational Art Science Constellation (ITASC), which he founded in 2005 with Marko Peljhan.
ITASC is described on their website as ‘a decentralized network of individuals and organisations working collaboratively in the fields of art, engineering and science on the interdisciplinary development and deployment of renewable energy, waste recycling systems and sustainable architecture to enable the production and distribution of open-format, open-source remote field research in Antarctica and the Arctic. ITASC is a lichen-like structure sharing and integrating local knowledge, resources and skills across seven continents in order to symbiotically engage with the air, ocean, earth and space commons.’ In February 2009, Mulcaire, Ntsikelelo Ntshingila, and Pol Taylor installed ICEPAC (the ITASC Catabatic Experimental Platform for Antarctic Culture) at Vesleskarvet Nunatak in the Dronning Maud Land sector of Antarctica, the world’s first mobile polar research base to be powered entirely by solar and wind energy. Such projects illustrate Mulcaire’s interest in various forms of networks – spatial, human, technological, and cellular, as well as his concern with the way in which we inhabit and make use of the limited resources of our planet.
Mulcaire has exhibited at the Saõ Paulo, Sydney, and Ushuaia biennales. He has worked as an exhibitions co-coordinator (notably for the Johannesburg Biennale in 1995), an assistant curator at Documenta, founder and director of the ICA in Cape Town, as well as a curator for projects in Kassel, New York, Saõ Paulo, and Perth. In 2008 and 2009 he exhibited his work at the Goodman Gallery Johannesburg and Cape Town. This year he participates in Unwetter at the Akademie der Kunst in Berlin, CUE at the Vancouver Art Gallery, and Halakasha at the Standard Bank Gallery in Johannesburg.