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Indepth Arts News:

"Space Odysseys: Sensation and Immersion"
2001-08-18 until 2001-10-21
Art Gallery of New South Wales
Sydney, , AU Australia

The international and Australian contemporary artists in Space Odysseys: Sensation and Immersion invite us on a journey into physical and electronic spaces of imagery, light and sound. Visitors will literally move through art works, interact with ghostly figures and be submerged in limitless space.

The Gallery will be transformed into a series of immersive spatial experiences – both physical and virtual. The works range from the phantasmagoric to the meditative – some intangible, others humourous or uncanny. Environments are created, chambers if you like, for the visitor to participate in an all-encompassing aesthetic experience. It’s a memorable and transformative odyssey, said Curator, Victoria Lynn.

Space Odysseys: Sensation and Immersion includes two major ‘light-room’ sculptures by leading American artists Bruce Nauman and James Turrell. These luminous chambers present sensations of endless depth, light and time as the viewer’s eyes and body adjust to the spaces.

Other works in the exhibition show the influences of new technologies on contemporary art. Tall Ships, a seminal work by American artist Gary Hill, invites viewers to traverse a long dark corridor where ghostly images of strangers come and go in response to the viewer’s presence. An interactive video panorama by French-Canadian Luc Courchesne, The Visitor, Living By Number, encourages participants to converse with the narrative sequence on screen through a system of voice recognition. No longer will the audience sit in the cinema as a passive observer – they will make a virtual journey through the screen into the drama itself.

Japanese artist, Mariko Mori, presents a video installation, Link, which shows the artist in a transparent capsule in ancient and futuristic landscapes, from the Egyptian pyramids to contemporary Shanghai, New York and London.

Australian artists David Haines and Joyce Hinterding’s digital video installation offers a surreal world where the contents of a remote dwelling float through and beyond the earth’s atmosphere.

Also from Australia, Lynette Wallworth, creates an intimate corridor, Hold, where images of the night sky and underwater life, derived from powerful telescopes and microscopes, are projected onto small bowls that are carried through the space by the viewer.

A key precursor to the contemporary artistic manifestations of light, movement and space is the work of Bauhaus artist László Moholy-Nagy. His 1930 film, Lightplay Black-White-Gray, will be screened as part of the exhibition. An accompanying film program will also include Jean Cocteau’s 1950 film Orphée. The exhibition has been inspired by a key cinematic moment in this film – when Orpheus enters the Underworld by stretching his arms through a mirror. The mirror becomes liquid and he journeys into an eerie and uncanny zone, said Victoria Lynn.

Space Odysseys: Sensation and Immersion will plunge the audience in wondrous volumes of light, sound and stimulus.

James Turrell Orca 1968
Installed at Michael Hue-Williams Fine Art London, 1998
Courtesy of the artist and
Michael Hue-Williams Fine Art

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