Debra Porch: Art Should Make Life More Interesting Than Art
- When 21 Jun - 7 Sep 2019
CNR OXFORD ST & GREENS RD, PADDINGTON NSW 2021
TUES TO SAT, 10AM–5PM
+61 2 8936 0888
The work of Debra Porch (1954–2017) explores the potency of memory and its ability to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. After establishing a career in printmaking, Porch began working with installations incorporating textiles, video, and electroplated objects. These projects sought to reorientate our sense of the familiar, forge connections between the present and past, and reveal the power that ordinary or benign objects have as catalysts for memory.
As an artist and researcher, Porch drew from her experiences as an academic in Sydney and Brisbane, residencies undertaken in Armenia, France, Thailand, Vietnam and the United States, and the memories of her family who were refugees from the Armenian Genocide.
As a posthumous survey, the exhibition acknowledges the impossibility of recreating Porch’s installations that were often arranged by the artist in situ. Instead, it presents itself as an archive and workspace, playing out different permutations of objects and images drawn from projects over three decades from Porch’s home studio and private collections.
Presenting previously unexhibited works alongside elements reconfigured from site-specific installations, the exhibition features An archive of ordinary space 2017, Porch’s final project completed a month before her premature passing. The installation depicts a ghostly spectrum of colour made with a hundred gold needles and silk thread.
The exhibition takes its title from Annette Messager’s rephrasing of the credo ‘Art is what makes life more interesting than art’ by Fluxus pioneer Robert Filliou. For Porch, this was one of her driving forces.
José Da Silva
Debra Porch Peek 2002. Installation view, ‘Debra Porch: Art Should Make Life More Interesting Than Art’, UNSW Galleries, 2019. Photo: Zan Wimberley
Debra Porch My Eiffel's 2004-08, and Series of Thread and Bar #1, #3, #2 1986. Installation view, ‘Debra Porch: Art Should Make Life More Interesting Than Art’, UNSW Galleries, 2019. Photo: Zan Wimberley
Debra Porch Echoes 2002, and External Homes 1990. Installation view, ‘Debra Porch: Art Should Make Life More Interesting Than Art’, UNSW Galleries, 2019. Photo: Zan Wimberley
2pm Saturday 3 August, UNSW Galleries
Daniel Mudie Cunningham and UNSW Galleries Director José Da Silva discuss the complex and intimate process of working with an artist’s estate. The discussion takes its title from Cunningham’s essay on the process of curating the posthumous survey 'Katthy Cavaliere: Loved' (Museum of Old and New Art and Carriageworks, 2015-16). Cunningham is an artist, writer and curator based in Sydney and currently Director, Programs at Carriageworks.
6pm Thursday 22 August, UNSW Galleries
UNSW Galleries Director José Da Silva provides an intimate account of Debra Porch’s life and work, along with her enduring interests in literature, walking and the potential of art to transform the everyday into the extraordinary. The talk takes its title from Art Work (It Is Always Changing . . .) 1970 by American artist Robert Barry that describes art in general and the permutations that occur in installation practice.