MARCH ARTIST

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REBECCA BAUMANN

BORN 1983

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SUPERKALEIDOSCOPE PRESENT YOUNG & EMERGING AUSTRALIAN ARTIST REBECCA BAUMANN

Rebecca Baumann currently lives and works in Perth, Australia. 

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SOMETHING IN THE AIR


Colourful streamers attached to electric fans contort and convulse with frantic purposelessness. An oversized orange balloon suspended from a ceiling suddenly reaches the limits of its expansion and releases a floating mass of mini versions of itself. Confetti flies and falls, smoke machines expel formless colour into the ether. In the Perth-born artist Rebecca Baumann’s work the spectacular is abstracted and we’re left with lonely disembodied relics of fun, bringing to mind a party without any guests or a celebration removed from the thing celebrated.

 

Sourced from wholesale party suppliers, her materials are all, for the fleeting durations of the works, airbound. In fact, we could say that all Baumann’s documented projects to date are unified by a compulsion to make momentarily visible the normally invisible air that is moving around and through us all the time. Earth, water and fire occupy space while the fourth element of air is considered to be space itself, within which all else exists. Commonly thought of as emptiness, air is in actuality a substance – case in point: it can fill balloons. It just happens to be a substance that allows other substances (like streamers, confetti and smoke) as well as perceptual phenomena (like light, sounds and smells) to pass through it.

 

While air itself cannot be seen, its movements and effects can. In 2010 Baumann staged an impromptu smoky happening dubbed Improvised Smoke Devise at Perth Cultural Centre, whereby fifteen canisters were detonated by a pyrotechnician, releasing 825m3 of opaquely coloured smoke. Having recently made a trip to India for the ‘festival of colours’ known as Holi, the artist recalls having been drawn to working with smoke for its ephemerality and it sense of violence, ritual and ceremony. The work has since been restaged nocturnally in a public park in Poznan, Poland – in both manifestations the suspended clouds of pigmented matter lasted 4-5 minutes, until the particles dispersed to the point of disappearance.

 

Smoke is both temporal and temporary matter; it is always moving and always on the brink of existence. It rises, up towards the vastness of nothingness above us, but it also falls, dropping parts of itself in the form of ashy residue. It has no tangible outlines or surface and the only form it takes is that of the air that holds it. This of course is its appeal for the artist, whose refined aesthetic is one of theatrical anti-climacticism. Baumann has recently returned to Australia after a 5-month residency in Berlin, and will have new work included in ACCA's NEW11 exhibition in Melbourne this March. 


Text by art writer Amelia Groom

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SuperKaleidoscope kindly thank Rebecca Baumann and Amelia Groom for their contributions.


 

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Rebecca Baumann 

Improvised Smoke Device, 2010, Poland.

© Images courtesy of the artist.

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CLICK HERE FOR REBECCA BAUMANN'S WEBSITE>>

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FOR MORE ARTICLES BY AMELIA GROOM PLEASE CLICK HERE>>

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Each month SuperKaleidoscope will feature an emerging artist selected by the directors and committee.

If you would like to make a submission please contact the SK Directors.
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