Museum of Contemporary Art – Sydney

Consider the way art is installed at the Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney. Document 3 artworks from the Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney.

The Museum of Contemporary Art or MCA is a gallery space where groupings of artworks by specific artists are organised into galleries. Each exhibition may contain artworks grouped by similar theme, cultural influence, time period etc..

The three artworks are:

  • tall man (2010) by Vernon Ah Kee – multi-channel digital video, colour, sound
  • Soft Kiss (2011) by Sanné Mestrom – urethane rubber, plastic, timber, metal
  • Monument #28: Vortex (2011) by Callum Morton – polystyrene, epoxy resin, sand, wood, synthetic polymer paint, enamel paint, glass, steel, vinyl

Details of the Artists.

Vernon Ah Kee is an Australian Aboriginal male, who is a proud member of the Kuku Yalandji, Waanji, Yidinji and Gugu Yimithirr tribes. In his works, he wishes to highlight the history and languages of colonisation as well as black and white political issues with relevance to race. Structurally his works vary, from drawings of his Aboriginal ancestors on a large scale to text-based works that use clever irony, puns and comedy to convey a core message. Through all of this Vernon Ah Kee aims to expose a degree of underlying racism in Australian society.

Sanné Mestrom often reworks other artworks of unknown origin that she finds at garage sales. When reworking these originals she is interested in their psychological, emotional and cultural significance. While recreating she creates purposefully imperfect casts and moulds in contrasting materials to show the imperfect nature of a copy.

Callum Morton experiments with humans interaction with architecture as well as the artificial environment created by humans. He achieves this through a use of scale models and fake clones of famous buildings.

Information on the artworks.

Soft Kiss by Sanné Mestrom showcases simplistic, elegant forms reminiscent of the works of Modigliani and Brancusi from the beginning of the twentieth century. The work is a presentation of both a found item and a purposefully imperfect cast of the original in a different material. The sculpture aims to reduce every feature of the face down to its essential lines and curves. The work is heavily influenced by the iconic modernist pieces by Modigliani and Picasso.

Monument #28: Vortex by Callum Morton is a life-size sculpture of a vortex twisting into a window surrounded by a glass housing, that aims to replicate a 1960s shopfront with plate-glass, white timber and blond brick. The shop may house a small family run business on a suburban street. Though this flow is disrupted by brightly colour rock, with a twisted tunnel carved out. This is showing a struggle between the man-made and natural world. The work is created with: polystyrene, epoxy resin, sand, wood, synthetic polymer paint, enamel paint, glass, steel, vinyl, taking up 330 × 380 × 132cm. The work replaces the expected human element with a natural one, potentially referencing Australia’s mining boom.

tall man by Vernon Ah Kee is an 11-minute looping digital video played on 4 screens, documenting a crisis of race relations on palm island. The documentary uses footage from mobile phones, hand-held cameras and local news reports. During 2004 residents of Palm Island rioted and burnt down the local police station after the publication of the autopsy of Cameron Doomadgee who died in police custody. Doomadgee had been arrested for swearing at a senior police officer, less than two hours later he was found dead in his jail cell from internal bleeding. This resulted in tensions between the community and police of Palm Island, eventually, the police station, courthouse, barracks and home of the Senior Sergent were burned down. After the riots, the Senior Sergent was found not guilty of manslaughter, and weeks later the police were awarded bravery awards. The work tall man is their to inform of the ongoing racism in Australia through the telling of the Palm Island riots.

Reason for documentation of the artworks.

tall man initially attracted me with an interesting display of a traditional documentary style video, where four screens were used, which often cut out to bring focus to a single element. But the story that the film told, of the Palm Island riots was entrancing.

Monument #28: Vortex is a visually engaging artwork, with bright, solid colours contrasted against 1960’s shopfront architecture, it is unmistakable.

Soft Kiss was a particularly noteworthy artwork because it used simple edges, lines and volumes to communicate such a complex message about copying and reproduction of art. The purposeful lack of symmetry between the two identical forms in their material, construction and composition visually conveyed this message very effectively.


Soft Kiss
tall man
Monument #28: Vortex
Museum of Contemporary Art – Sydney

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s