Melbourne – Renditions: Reconsidering tensions between artificiality and authenticity

December 16, 2023

Curated by Cūrā8 and featuring artists Georgina Cue, Kez Hughes, John Neeson, Izabela Pluta, Louisa Mignone & Tom Royce-Hampton, Yandell Walton and Zgjim Zyba.

Renditions explores the interplay of making, imitating, artifice, and illusion by considering a diverse range of ways through which artists navigate dichotomies of truth and fiction, originality and copy. Renditions re-evaluates these dynamics in the context of the 21st century, considering the influence of culture, history, geography and lived experience.

From historical relations between painting and photography through to the regeneration of images using AI technologies, the exhibition considers tensions between artifice and representation through a range of very different disciplinary, historical and ontological perspectives. Although artists presented in Renditions are all broadly concerned with the problem of image capture, their respective material and conceptual approaches are radically distinct.

In exploring how copies, reperformances, composites and traces intersect with one another to shape and reflect different aesthetic and social landscapes, the exhibition presents a stage for artists to blur virtual and physical spaces, destabilise presence and absence, and implicitly question how representation conveys or complicates meaning.

In Renditions, the stubborn ubiquity of the photographic image is reconsidered through a contemporary lens. Given its contested reputation for accuracy, the photograph has long occupied a central position in the problem of representation. This remains the case in the digital era, where exponential techno-proliferation further intensifies its instability. With the essential subject displaced, artists can assume a more active role in both activating subjects and destabilising subjectivities. Here, amidst the immense influence of mass media, artists\’ representational claims can only ever hope to be at once critical and complicit. In this, Renditions highlights the complexities of representation and the emergence of composite copies.

Renditions emphasises the need for critical discernment in understanding the real, the copy, materiality, and ourselves, while acknowledging that contemporary art often involves ambiguity and contradiction. Indeed, compelling art can thrive in ambiguity, nuance, and the presentation of multiple and contradictory perspectives. When engaging with art, it is instructive to remain alive to the way that some things can at once mean one thing and something else. This is the realm of artifice.

Exhibition dates: 4 November – 9 December 2023

Opening: 3 November 2023, 6–8 pm

About Project8

Project8 is a contemporary art space in Melbourne’s CBD dedicated to promoting speculative poetic and material innovation through exhibitions and related events. It utilises the multimodal aesthetic languages of contemporary art to experientially deemphasise differences and contestations grounded in language, politics and culture. Project8 is committed to the promotion and development of discursive exchange, collaboration and partnerships between Australian, Chinese and international artists, researchers and communities actively engaging with contemporary art.