Buxton Contemporary unveils major exhibition 'The same crowd never gathers twice'
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Buxton Contemporary unveils major exhibition 'The same crowd never gathers twice'
Installation view of The same crowd never gathers twice, Buxton Contemporary, the University of Melbourne, 2024. Featuring Cate Consandine, RINGER 2024. Courtesy of the artist and Sarah Scout Presents.. Photo: Christian Capurro.

MELBOURNE.- The University of Melbourne has unveiled a major group exhibition, The same crowd never gathers twice, presented at Buxton Contemporary until 13 October 2024. The exhibition features 6 leading international and Australian artists, including new work by Cate Consandine, Riana Head-Toussaint, Yona Lee and the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, alongside significant projects by Taryn Simon, Angela Goh and Laresa Kosloff.

Curated by Annika Aitken, Curator, Art Museums, the University of Melbourne, the exhibition tests the limits of the ‘arena’ — the setting where people come together to collectively witness and participate in public life. Spanning moving image, sound, sculptural intervention and performance, works consider the social and structural architectures that bind these spaces, and by extension, the elastic nature of performance and reality, audience and participant, public and private.

Like theatres, sports stadiums and ‘the media’, the art gallery is an arena subject to its own specific conditions. The exhibition invites visitors to consider their own roles, expectations and ways of being inside this space. Unfolding over five months, the physical gallery is offered as a site for critical discussion and performance responses.

The exhibition premieres the anticipated multi-channel film work RINGER by artist Cate Consandine, reimagining the world of roller derby as a tensile site of violence between players. Featuring a score by Grammy award-winning composer François Tétaz, Consandine explores the physical expression of psychological and emotional states, centering on the relationship between bodies and their contingent registers. Cate Consandine says: “The film meditates upon the peripheral dimensions of the female gaze, capturing the alertness of its acute sense, psyche, and immersive power. Filmed in the Martyn Myer Arena at the University of Melbourne, the work invites the viewer to grasp at forces and encounters that reach toward the outer edges of the visual field”.

South Korean-born, Aotearoa-based artist Yona Lee presents a new large-scale, site-specific installation commissioned for Buxton’s Heritage Gallery. Widely recognised for her sculptural works that play with notions of public and private space, transit and migration, Lee combines stainless-steel tubing — ubiquitous to the public realm — with furniture and other functional objects to highlight tensions between public and private experience. Blurring the edges of the gallery, the installation guides and disrupts movement through its spaces, both inviting and restricting physical interaction.

New York-based multidisciplinary artist Taryn Simon presents the major sound installation Assembled Audience in Australia for the first time.

As part of her ongoing investigation into the rituals of public life, the work broadcasts individual applause recorded at concerts, sporting events and political rallies held in Columbus Ohio’s three major public venues. Columbus — nicknamed “Test City USA” — closely mirrors the nation’s demographics and is a critical gauge for predicting political outcomes and testing new commercial products.

Assembled Audience gathers the recordings of individual audience members — each representing diverse political, corporate, and ideological allegiances — into a single, simulated and ever-changing crowd. The work considers the use of applause as a barometer of public opinion and spotlights techniques for manipulating or manufacturing public adulation — subjects that reverberate in an age of digital fabrication.

Taryn Simon says: "We collected individual applause from every public event over a one year period — a Katy Perry concert, a Worship Awakening Conference, the Ohio Republican Party State Dinner, a conference on glass problems ... All these clashing politics, ideologies, and corporate affiliations are reassembled again and again into a single manufactured crowd. The objects of the applause — the singers, the basketball players, the politicians, the business tycoons — are all missing and interchangeable to the point of being irrelevant”.

Interdisciplinary artist Riana Head-Toussaint will showcase the video work Animate Loading: 1 and a new choreographic commission Guided Wrestling in July.

Animate Loading: 1 is the first film version of Head-Toussaint’s site-responsive choreographic work, a disability-led project with access-centred principles at its core. Filmed in a rooftop carpark on Darug Land, a dynamic group of performers draw on diverse movement languages and experiences to activate a space and bring its seen and unseen dimensions into focus. The work is an embodied call to action: to disrupt, resist and change our relationships within and around so-called public space. On the new commission Head-Toussaint says: “As we continue to witness genocide, colonial displacement, pain and grief all around the world — on our own shores and further afield — many of us become stuck in overwhelm, unable to process our emotions, and further silenced and invalidated by the government, media outlets, our own friends and family, and our peers. Guided Wrestling emerges in response to this. The performers move through their emotions; their actions and offerings are invitations for audiences to do the same". Performances will take place on 4, 5 and 6 July 2024. Bookings open mid-May.

The exhibition highlights the recent acquisition of Body Loss by Sydney-based dancer and choreographer Angela Goh by the University of Melbourne. An iterative and evolving performance work which responds to the built form of the gallery, Body Loss tests the limits of both the body and its physical environment by scaling the architecture of the space. A single vocal note is recorded and looped back, like a disembodied siren call. This work has been exhibited in London, Munich, Brussels, Texas, Melbourne and Sydney. Charlotte Day, Director, Art Museums, says: “This is the first acquisition of a performance work by the University of Melbourne. We are excited to be working with Angela to bring Body Loss into the collection in perpetuity, and presenting a new iteration during The same crowd never gathers twice". Performances will take place on 21 May 2024 with Angela Goh; and a further performance to be announced.

The exhibition also brings together a group of super-8 works by Melbourne artist Laresa Kosloff, produced between 1998 and 2010. Kosloff’s practice examines representational strategies linked by an interest in the body and the tension between received cultural values, individual agency and free will. Kosloff’s Trapeze 1998, from the Michael Buxton Collection, is presented alongside later works capturing incidental actions and interactions in public space. Filmed in iconic locations across Melbourne and the US, the works call attention to performative aspects of everyday life, and the relationship between the individual and the collective.

Throughout the exhibition there will be an expanded range of live events and programs, including performances, talks, film screening and a symposium, as well as a concert curated in response to the exhibition by students from the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, led by Dr Joseph Lallo.

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