Trace Murdoch’s solo exhibition includes 15 meranti ply tables—one long and narrow, a cluster of seven tables in three colours and varying dimensions, and seven miniatures in a wall-mounted cabinet. The life-size tables are enclosed within two large wooden boxes that restrict access to several viewing slots, forcing viewers to see the tables through controlled vantage points or perspectives.
Peering into one of the boxes the viewer will, Alice in Wonderland-like, see a maze of table legs while through another viewing slot a formal arrangement of differently coloured table tops will be visible. 15XTABLES not only displays Murdoch’s considerable skill as a furniture and building designer, it also investigates the many ways objects and concepts can be interpreted according to the different ways they are seen.
A ROOM WITH A VIEW - Frank Stark on Tracy Murdoch
"Trace Murdoch makes things up. Then he makes them.
"He works across the heavily scrutinised ground between design and building, switching from a pencil to a circular saw and back again.
"He zooms in and out, shifting the point of view. The focus moves from a whole house to a finger joint, from a hinge mechanism to an office interior or a restaurant, from a meditation centre to a bar stool. More often than not direction comes from a client and a specific brief. His job is to find a place for himself inside someone else’s vision.
"No wonder, then, that in this exhibition he relishes the opportunity to take control of the point of view, so much so that he makes it an essential part of his subject.
"The things Murdoch has made here are easily enough described—they are tables, set within rooms. You cannot sit at these tables, though, nor walk into these rooms. Instead you can experience them only with your eyes, and then only from where you are allowed. They have become all context and no substance.
"He is examining the unreliability, the predetermination of our sensory inputs. Are you quite sure these are tables? Why?
"Murdoch seems to relish stepping away from the literal certainty of things that dominates the builder’s life. Like a child saying the word ‘table’ over and over again, chanting it in fact, he enjoys the sensation of something as concrete as the living room furniture becoming abstract.
"Trace Murdoch says, ‘in nothing is everything’. Then he prints it on a T-shirt. "