From Carrie Miller…
As much as he is a slave to the dialysis machine that he hooks himself up to for twelve hours a day, John A Douglas is equally a slave to his arts practice. His almost clinically obsessive and meticulous approach to making art mirrors the scrupulous procedures he has to perform on his own body in order to keep it alive while he waits for a kidney transplant.
The artist’s experience of daily dialysis treatment has become a source of inspiration for his latest body of work in more ways than one then. Body Fluid – The Seven Cycles is the latest iteration of a larger ongoing research-based project which began in 2011 and spans live art performances, installations and exhibitions with video, photographs and objects.
The artist is transformed in his latest series of works into an alien floating above the landscape in a golden, sci-fi spacesuit – cutting loose the idea of ‘life support’ from its moorings in the banal and monotonous regime of everyday medical treatment and connecting it to the possibilities of weightlessness in outer space. There are similarities to his other videos and photography which manipulate the figure in the landscape, but what’s so compelling about this new work is how he has managed to so seamlessly bring together the performative and media elements of his practice. It’s perhaps because the topic is about something so close to him: his own body. It’s a body that fails him constantly, and whose failure he is constantly reminded of. It’s one that will remind you of both the wonder and weight of the world as you know it.
Until December 8
Chalk Horse Gallery, Surry Hills
Pic: John A Douglas, Saline Ascent, HD video still, 2012.Courtesy of the artist and Chalk Horse Gallery, Sydney.