Lucienne Rickard and Joel Crosswell were awarded Shotgun 2012. Rickard's obsessive and physically demanding drawings were presented in the CAT Gallery (15 September – 7 October, 2012) alongside Croswell’s totemic sculptures that incorporate straw, wood, cloth, modeling clay, resins and found objects. In her essay Between Two Deaths, Vikki McInnes provides insights into the work that each artist developed during the Shotgun program.
Between Two Deaths (1)
The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places. (2)
Ernest Hemingway wrote these words as Europe was recovering from the horror and mass brutality of the First World War, and this historical watershed inspired his attempt to find meaning – and even ennoblement – in death. A Farewell to Arms, Hemingway’s first bestseller, presents humanity’s plight through an indifferent (or, more often, downright hostile) world, and human life is depicted as a perpetual struggle that ends only in death. However, this struggle also represents an interval through which the manner in which one faces the crisis and endures the pain inflicted by the uncaring universe is ultimately of great importance. Although they might not always understand the complex world they inhabit, nor the particular dilemmas of modern life, Hemingway’s protagonists invariably find some solace in beauty and order when it does appear, thus leading lives of existential authenticity.
Indeed, existentialism was the key philosophical doctrine that influenced Hemingway’s writing, and significant existential concepts (such as authenticity and dread) are manifest throughout the work of Lucienne Rickard and Joel Crosswell in this third iteration of Shotgun.
Vikki McInnes - excerpt
(1) The title of this text is borrowed from an exhibition of the same name, curated by Ellen Blumenstein and Felix Ensslin presented at the ZKM (Centre for Art and Media), Karlsruhe, Germany in 2007. Between Two Deaths reflected on the curators’ observation of a social and cultural trend toward ‘melancholic retrospection’ and posited a remarkably open-ended proposition that encompassed history, allegory, sexuality and psychoanalysis. My first studio visits with Joel and Lucienne took place immediately following the tragic death of a close friend of the artists and, while much remained unsaid, our meetings were conducted under its dark cloud. This first encounter with the artists and their work, and our discussions – which swirled inevitably around Port Arthur, skeletons (both real and metaphoric), the corrida, MONA’s iconic themes of sex and death – left me reeling with conflicted imaginings around annihilation and transcendence. I returned to Melbourne to the sad news that a colleague had lost a family member in similarly dreadful circumstances, and this title took on an obvious literal significance.
(2) Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms, 1929.
IMAGES: Lucienne Rickard, I thought I had paid for everything, suite of work, install documentation 2012 | Joel Crosswell, Carnival of Souls, suite of work, install documentation 2012. Photos Peter Angus Robinson