Sullivan+Strumpf Singapore is delighted to present Smithereens, the first solo exhibition in South East Asia by senior Australian artist eX de Medici which opens on 25 May.
This exhibition runs from 25 May to 24 June 2018.
Opening reception is on Friday, 25 May 2018.
"EVERYTHING IS BROKEN. BLOWN TO SMITHEREENS."
Richly ornamented and apparently beautiful, eX de Medici's work interrogates the politics of power and gender relations. Working in the demanding medium of watercolour, often on an unusually monumental scale, De Medici's practice engages with politico-economic systems of control and the ways in which these are constructed and distributed through violence. This exhibition extends de Medici's exploration of corporate morality, mass surveillance, data collection and the consequences that accompany the abuse of authority.
eX de Medici is one of Australia's most significant artists. Her work has been extensively collected by public museums, including: National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide; and Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane. With a career spanning over four decades, her work has been exhibited in numerous international institutional exhibitions, including: Urima University, Iran (2013); University of the Arts London (2010): Innsbruck Natural History Museum/Art Gallery, Innsbruck, Austria (2007) and a forthcoming group exhibition at LASALLE College of the Arts in Singapore curated by Bala Starr. Her work has also been featured at international art fairs including Art Basel Hong Kong.
Drawing from art historical traditions and tattoo subculture, de Medici creates scenarios that expose the dangers behind benign appearances, exploring the accumulation and expression of power through violence; both hidden and in plain sight. De Medici uses historical decorative styles to create complex paintings which both emphasise and critique conservatism, functioning as a conceit; a device "to bell the cat."
For the artist's first solo exhibition with Sullivan+Strumpf Singapore, de Medici will present a medium-defying seven-meter-long watercolour from the 2017 series Spies Like Us featuring CCTV encrusted telephone towers, and new "smithereens" paintings from which the exhibition takes it's title. De Medici has drawn inspiration from Canberra, the Australian capital city where the artist has lived since childhood. A central work of the exhibition will be a large-scale watercolour and egg tempera , Protect your Insecurity, which depicts a grand monument clustered with paint-splattered CCTV cameras. This work references the Australian-American Memorial, a public sculpture outside the Department of Defence in Canberra, the pinnacle of which is topped with a stylised figure of the American Eagle.
The monument acts as a bridge between the two bodies of work presented in Smithereens; the tower from the 2017 works being from the same location. The telephone tower works will be complemented by new paintings utilising a shared motif which mimics the soft-serve corporate babbling of multi- national corporations. Images in which everything is broken; blown to smithereens.
"Art", says de Medici, "has no ability to make a difference, but we must raise the alarm. If we don't we are complicit."
ABOUT EX DE MEDICI
Although continually shifting in subject matter, eX de Medici's intricate watercolours form ongoing interrogations of the politics of power and the relationship between life and death. Beneath their beautiful ornamentations, themes of violence and destruction are orchestrated through the imagery of firearms, helmets and other military paraphernalia wreathed by organic detritus. This unique aesthetic draws from the artist's background as a tattooist and recalls the vanitas tradition. De Medici's miniaturist technique and technical virtuosity invites close examination through which the spectator becomes caught in a paradoxical vacillation between the beautiful and the repulsive.
De Medici's work is held in numerous public collections in Australia including the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra and most State Galleries. Selected solo exhibitions include Cold Blooded: eX de Medici, Drill Hall Gallery, Australian National University, Canberra (2013); eX de Medici, Urima University, Iran (2013); eX de Medici/Vexed Generation, Fashion Space Gallery, London College of Fashion, London, UK (2010); and Soft Steel, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne (2003). Recent group exhibitions include Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Dark Heart, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide (2014); Conflict: contemporary responses to war, University of Queensland Art Museum, Brisbane (2014); Like, Casula Powerhouse, Sydney (2012); Freehand: Recent Australian Drawing, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne (2010); and Perspectives, Australian War Memorial, Canberra (2010). In 2009, de Medici participated in the Artist in War Program as an Official War Artist through the Australian War Memorial, ACT, in the Solomon Islands Peace Keeping Mission. De Medici won the National Works on Paper Prize in 2002, and was a finalist for the Rockhampton Gold Award 2016.