From Sharne Wolff…
Back in the post World War II haze when millions of people were forcibly displaced from their homes, the member nations of the United Nations came together to agree on a set of rules for the protection of refugees. With 148 States as signatories, the documents that comprise the 1951 Convention now spell out the obligations of the signature States, including Australia. The title of Alex Seton’s new exhibition, Refoulement derives from the French word for ’rejection’ – and the use of the term in international law. One contemporary example is the Convention’s prohibition on the expulsion or return of a refugee to a place where his/her life or freedom would be threatened.
Refoulement follows Seton’s successful instalment at this year’s Adelaide Biennial, Someone died trying to have a life like mine – 28 carved marble life jackets were laid on the floor as a silent memorial to those washed up in the Cocos Keeling Islands last year. Comprising Seton’s recurring carved marble palm trees, upright ‘ready to wear’ life vests, a standing paddle and a deflated life raft, the stunning craftsmanship of his new sculptures disguises a gently unrelenting political message. Although Seton makes work that deals with political issues, his art doesn’t rely solely on the missive for success. Much has already been said about the loaded history of the marble and the ambiguous nature of Seton’s objects. To quote the artist, however, this show was inspired by the idea of reflecting on humanity and “our choices, who we are and what we’re becoming”.
Until October 11
Sullivan and Strumpf, Zetland
Pic: Alex Seton Last Resort 2 and Last Resort 1 2014 (instalment image), Wombeyan marble and steel, 144 x 102 x 102 cm and 185 x 125 x 125cm respectively. Courtesy the artist and Sullivan and Strumpf.