The Australian artist Mikala Dwyer digs her way through the mining legacy of Vordernberg and the current detention centre to create a temporary place of pilgrimage.
With Mikala Dwyer (AU)
Curated by Tessa Giblin (IE/NZ)
Mikala Dwyer’s artistic practice is defined not only by a belief in the power of objects, but also by the conviction that there is a significant relationship of interdependence between matter and energy. While the artist has explored the mineral collection of Graz’s Natural History Museum for her contribution to the herbst exhibition at the GrazMuseum, for the piece developed for Vordernberg, “Saint Jude’s Leftovers”, she works with material found on-site – molten leftovers from a time in which mining was an active industry – thus building a bridge from the past to the present. Radwerk III (a water-wheel furnace), reminiscent of the municipality’s industrial heritage, with its solidified pig-iron remains, is both the abandoned remains of a once-glorious industry, and a monument to it. For the town’s new industry, a centre in which people awaiting forced deportation from Austria are housed, Dwyer is adapting the monument in the name of Saint Jude Thaddaeus, the patron saint of desperate and lost causes. Radwerk III will honour the relics of the mining era, while also listening to those voices that are otherwise never heard: Dwyer aims to depict messages from those people awaiting deportation – turning the Vordernberg installation into an antenna for the messages to Saint Jude.
Commissioned by steirischer herbst
Mikala Dwyer (AU)
Mikala Dwyer was born in 1959 and lives and works as an installation artist in Sydney. She studied fine art, including a focus on sculpture, at Sydney College of Art – where she is now also a lecturer – and at Middlesex University London. During the 1980s Dwyer was chiefly active as an installation and performance artist, before her first solo exhibition, “Primavera”, was staged in 1992 at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney. Four years later her work was shown for the first time outside Australia in an exhibition at the Sarah Cottier Gallery in Basel. Further works were shown at venues including Cardiff, Berlin and Potsdam. Within the context of steirischer herbst 2015, Mikala Dwyer’s work – which is primarily based on everyday objects – will be on show in Austria for the first time.
Tessa Giblin (IE/NZ)
Tessa Giblin was born in 1978 and is a New Zealand curator living and working in Dublin. Having graduated in fine art from the Canterbury University School of Fine Arts in Christchurch in 2001, from 2002 to 2004 she worked as the director of the urban installation project “Gridlocked”. Giblin curated her first exhibition in 2003 at the Jonathan Smart Gallery in Christchurch before working on the curatorial programme at the De Appel Arts Centre in Amsterdam from 2004 to 2005. Tessa Giblin has been curator of visual art at the Project Arts Centre in Dublin since 2006. She is currently in the middle of planning the group exhibition “Riddle of the Burial Ground” as well as solo exhibitions by David Claerbout and Gretchen Bender.