Second post on the installation: Where They were Last Seen, at SCA gallery Sydney.

To continue from the last post from late this month – this image is of another element of the work Where they were last seen, my installation selected by two Masters of Art Curating students, Tian Kang and Yunyan Tang for their exhibition Being towards Death in Gallery five of the Sydney College of the Arts/ University of Sydney Gallery. The curatorial premise developed by Tian and Yunyang resulted in a more direct focus on the physicality of the Intensive Care Unit.

Blanket Work modifed

The image shows a detail of another of the main elements of the space. This large blanket work frames two walls and is approximately nine metres in width and three metres in height. Made of strips of grey woollen coat fabric, the surface is slightly fluffy and cuddly, but the colour is austere and forbidding. Acting as a record of instances of the patient’s heart rate, blood pressure and oxygenation the hand sewn components are built up to contain both the internal skin of the site wrapped around the bedspace of the patient located in the middle of the gallery.

The exhibition was part of the Curatorial Lab component of the Masters of Art Curating program.

 

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Being Towards Death, the exhibition

In Gallery five of the Sydney College of the Arts/ University of Sydney Gallery two Masters of Art Curating students, Tian Kang and Yunyan Tang selected my new installation Where they were last seen for their exhibition Being towards Death. Gallery five is an interesting mix between being a white cube and a non-white cube space. In this installation developed specifically for this exhibition and this site, the curatorial premise developed by Tian and Yunyang resulted in a more direct focus on the physicality of the Intensive Care Unit. The image shows a detail of one of the main elements of the space. The patient bedspace is sited directly underneath a large roof lantern or skylight. The overbed hospital table holds the bedside medical monitor playing the simulation of the visual data and sonic traces of a patient bleeding out while the silk paper bed and pillow shape refutes the functionality of the bed by its ephemeral, flimsy and seemingly transitory nature. The next post will address one of the other elements of the installation, the blanket work.

DSC04373Fiona Davies Where they were last seen (detail) 2018
Installation, silk paper, found objects, video, framed print, photographic print and fabric.
Size variable as installed Gallery 5 SCA Gallery Sydney. Photo credit Alex Gooding

In terms of the bedspace of the patient the body in healthcare settings occupies a complex but somewhat ambivalent position: it is at the centre of everything yet is at the same time oddly displaced and this is even more pronounced once that body is dead. Then apparently there is little tolerance for the sight of the dead body by others. Speciality transports are used to move the body from the place of death to the morgue. This conceals both the presence and/or the shape of the body.

It is possible that this well-intentioned consideration of the sensibilities of the living members of the public work to dislocate or sever the experiences of the recently dead patient’s family and carers. Until death they were associated with a specific location in the hospital, the bed or bedspace of the patient. After death and the transportation of the body to the morgue they tend to be cut free. There is no physical evidence of the patient in the public sphere of the hospital and the family and carers appear to be of limited further interest to the hospital.

The exhibition was part of the Curatorial Lab component of the Masters of Art Curating program.

New Work from Old

One of the first works in this series remade. Formerly in an installation where they wrapped around kneelers in a church, now they are sewn together. All the small incisions around the supports are sewn flat and then all the strips of blanket fabric sewn flat to form a very large blanket shape. The numbers are from a reading from a bedside medical monitor and have their own narrative to be read from left to right or right to left.

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ABC news post – Doctors think its becoming too hard to die

“Doing the right thing at the right time is fantastic and doing the same thing at the wrong time is horrific,” he says.Blood on Silk Buy Sell (20)

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-07-28/rethinking-our-approach-to-death-and-having-a-plan-for-dying/10014582

A larger scale recent work from the whole collection of the twenty three units of blood series. Started 2016 and still in progress.

23 units of blood aluminium crosses onto rust edited

In the run up to the Colour Run project at Braemar Gallery in Springwood NSW. I’m having a look at all of the series of works over the years looking at twenty three units of blood.  This series is decolourised crosses representing each of the units of blood.  They are gilded (badly) aluminium onto rusted steel and other found metal objects.  It is harder than you expect to gild onto a rusted surface.  The size of this work is 80 x 30 x 90(h) cm.

Another in the twenty three units of blood series. This time from 2016

Bleeding Out Book 006.JPG

This work Blood on Silk: Bleeding Out [The Book] comes in two parts. One is a twenty three page book of blood stains meant to be handled and held on the lap of the reader, within the space of the  body. The other element is a card labelled Instructional Manual. One the reverse side is a snakes and ladders type game where twenty three units of blood are used to halt a bleeding out. This work is now in the collection of the library at York University UK.