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Cate Consandine: Cut Colony

New video works explore the relation between the subjects and landscape from a postcolonial perspective

Cate Consandine, Cut Colony I (whip) 2012, video still. Image courtesy the artist and Sarah Scout, Melbourne.

Melbourne-based artist Cate Consandine creates videos and sculptural installations that explore the physical expression of psychological states.

Cut Colony is an exhibition of new video works filmed on location in the clay pans and desert lakes of north-western New South Wales. In the context of these unforgiving and spectacular environments two staged performances unfold, which explore the relation between the subjects and landscape from a postcolonial perspective.

Cut Colony I (whip) 2012 depicts a nude female dancer performing a series of fouettés on a barren plain – a classical ballet movement that literally translates as ‘whipped’. Although her nude body might at first seem vulnerable, her movements are confident and commanding and her gaze direct. Reinforcing these allusions to control and empowerment, her performance is ‘looped’ to create an impossibly continuous cycle of turns, creating an atmosphere of anxious suspense that remains deliberately unresolved.

Equally enigmatic, Cut Colony II (lap) 2012 shows two muscular young men standing thigh-deep in the shallows of a vast inland lake. Like the dead trees that punctuate the body of water, they remain still while ripples pass them by. Although the men are not naked like the female dancer, their body language suggests a degree of self-consciousness and discomfort.

In dialogue with one another, the concentrated and highly contrived scenarios in Cut Colony invoke a series of binaries – among them active/passive, barren/abundant, open/contained, and composed/uneasy – that remain in tense interplay. These concepts provide a point of entry into Consandine’s investigation of how the (gendered) body and the landscape are subject to various economies of desire and control.

AGNSW Contemporary Projects are supported by Andrew Cameron.

Proudly supported by
Contemporary art with UBS

On view
8 Nov 2012 – 6 Jan 2013
Art Gallery of New South Wales
Art Gallery Road, The Domain, Sydney


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