191 Gertrude Street, Ngár-go (Fitzroy)
Anna Schwann works in an expanded sculptural practice that investigates the encounter between art and audience. Through playful resistance and embracing failure, Schwann facilitates conversation using sensory engaging tactics as means of connection. Taking a D.I.Y approach to technique, Schwann utilises provisional, accessible materials for making and uses everyday objects in her narratives. Schwann’s work has been exhibited locally and interstate in artist-run spaces, milk bars, subways and toilets. Alongside her practice, Schwann has worked on live and participatory events, most recently with Long Prawn and Punctum INC. and in theatre, producing set design and costumes for shows in Melbourne Fringe Festival, Geelong Arts Centre and La Mama. In 2021 Schwann completed a Masters of Fine Art at RMIT, was a recipient of the Evan Lowenstein Award and recently completed the Situate Residency Program 2022. Schwann lives and works in Naarm and on Jaara land with grateful respect to First Nations peoples as the traditional and rightful caretakers of these lands and waterways.
Soft in the middle and everywhere else, 2022
Soft in the middle and everywhere else is a response to a significant lack of intimacy, the kind of deep intimacy that reaches the raw, gnarly, toenail clippings and scab collecting bodily truth of what we are as humans. Featureless masses are given agency performing alongside a body, the non-specific parts escape the conditioning and hierarchy that bodies are usually subject to, their otherness is freedom here. Themes of loneliness and desire play out in fleshy divinations of a vulnerable space, uncharted territory to be explored in all of its heaving, irregular glory. Background to the gelatinous action is the colour named Baker-Miller Pink, also affectionately known as Drunk Tank Pink for its suppressant qualities when tested on people in so-called correctional facilities - its developers claim it has a calming effect on aggression. Here it serves as a backdrop to the movement on screen, muting the inherent violence in the actions of tearing and destroying the intimate-surrogate-marshmallow-object. Is it a false sense of calm? What happens once the pink runs out? Chromatherapy (healing with colour) has a long history and an equally long list of dissenters decrying the practise as a pseudoscience. But this homoeopathic anger management technique serves to illustrate tensions that build under the surface when suppressed. Vulnerability and defiance often go hand in hand, slow leaking in insidious ways, striking out when threatened. Softness hurts sometimes. Feeding into a timely need to collectively cope, this work occupies a post-edible holding zone, a malleable place to writhe out the demons.
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