25 August 2009

The Edition

| sepi
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‘The Edition’ on display at Megalo Gallery

White books in a white room. Lots of them. This art exhibition at Megalo in Watson is at first quite mystifying.

For his solo exhibition artist Nick Stranks has gone to a lot of trouble to cast a matched set of books in aluminium, bronze and plaster. But then he has whitewashed them all to appear the same.

Nick Stranks works at the art school, and has done a lot of work casting statues for well known artists in Canberra. So he is an expert in the casting process.

In his exhibition, three or four books have been recreated in plaster and various materials, many many times. And being a small gallery you can get right up close and try to guess which of the chalky white books are now metal, and which are brittle plaster. But don’t touch – the whole exhibit is for sale at 18 thousand dollars, so you don’t want to break it.

So what does it all mean?

This ghostly white display questions the role of the book through time. And the future of the book. And ultimately the transience of all things.

Ten years ago nobody would have imagined that books could be a thing of the past. Yet today this display of books as museum pieces does not seem as out of place as it should.

Standing in the exhibition the long row of palid books evokes the quiet reflection of a library space. And it will leave you thinking.

The exhibition is free and there is parking right outside the Watson gallery. It only takes a few minutes to view the small exhibition, but it will stay in your thoughts for a little while afterwards.

There are also some landscapes by other Megalo print artists just upstairs from the main gallery space.
This exhibition is on from 9.30-5.00 daily until Saturday 29 August at Megalo Gallery at 49 Phillip Avenue (formerly Watson CIT).

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smilesr said :

Thanks for the review sepi. It doesn’t sound like I could see it what with a baby and toddler in tow but I can imagine it from your desciption.


More vicarious living…..

Pommy bastard said :

Who would pay $18,000 for this?

That’s what they said about the work of Jackson Pollock, and Picasso, and Van Gogh, and …

that’s funny – one of the books is an old canvas bound thing on tropical diseases that i thought looked obsolete, whereas i thought the kiddy version of black beauty might endure longer.

although the next generation are the screen generation.

The book as a tool for entertainment might become obsolete, but I would hazard a guess that books for technical and educational purposes are here to stay for a while longer. Can’t wait to see the exhibition though.

Smiles I took my baby, but there isn’t a lot for a toddler to look at in this one. They do have more kiddie friendly exhibitions though – there was one of Indigenous kids prints of animals a while ago.

The toilets are good for kids too – being the old high school building, there are about 20 of them.

@smilesr: I work upstairs from Megalo and so get to look down on this every day. You should be able to view it with a baby and toddler in tow fairly easy. The gallery is fairly small and is really just one room about 10m x 20m. Nowhere for a child to run, plenty of space for a stroller if necessary.

Pommy bastard12:55 pm 26 Aug 09

Who would pay $18,000 for this?

Thanks for the review sepi. It doesn’t sound like I could see it what with a baby and toddler in tow but I can imagine it from your desciption.

barking toad10:07 am 26 Aug 09

I’ll be rushing off to view this so I can question the transience of all things.

Then again…

Ten years ago nobody would have imagined that books could be a thing of the past.

I beg to differ. Plenty of science fiction dating back 10, 20, 50 or more years imagined just that – usually replaced by some electronic form or other – I’d cite any number of Asimov’s short stories (just to pick a well-known author) as examples in the 50+ category. If science fiction doesn’t count (though why wouldn’t it?), there were plenty of people back in the early days of the internet (many more than 10 years ago) who envisaged it as a kind of world-wide library, allowing people without physical access to books to do exactly what we can do these days through things like Project Gutenberg.

Maybe non-nerds wouldn’t have imagined it? I don’t know. But there’s an awful lot of people who did.

That said, I’m sure it’s a very nice/interesting piece if you’re into that sort of thing 🙂

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