Doctrine of Eternal Recurrence

Art Life , Exhibitions Mar 30, 2015 3 Comments

From Sharne Wolff

Emily Hunt

Adopting the thinking of the ancient Doctrine of Eternal Recurrence, and referring to the “eternal hourglass of existence” Friedrich Nietzsche, among others, wondered if human lives might be infinitely repetitive. The centrepiece of this show, Emily Hunt’s intoxicating installation Doctrine of Eternal Recurrence is a fitting metaphor indeed. With the sort of dense extravagance of Hieronymus Bosch’s fifteenth century painting, The Garden of Earthly Delights, Hunt’s work is a world of fantastic objects and hyper-coloured ceramic sculptures saturated in 21st century symbolism. Like a theatre with multiple stages, there’s so much going on that you don’t know where to look. Initially seductive through its candy-coloured appearance, the detail reveals a different story. Dozens of tiny jester-like figures, naked ladies and shield-carrying knights are set amid grotesque scenes of excess and barbaric behaviour. Meanwhile, a graffiti-adorned toy train circles around nonchalantly and endlessly.

Alongside this incredible (but virtually indescribable) centrepiece, Hunt’s exhibition also includes two detailed zinc etching and pencil drawing works, the stoneware Citadel Crown and a number of Gorgon titled watercolour and collage works. Based on portraits of Hunt’s family and gallerist, each hollow-eyed, head shaped piece is intricately bejewelled with colourful imagery as images of human hands appear from behind each head.

Until April 24
The Commercial Gallery, Redfern
Pic: Emily Hunt, Doctrine of Eternal Recurrence, 2014 [detail], glazed, stoneware, glazed porcelain, lichen, enamel on miniature figures, plaster, found objects, marble, fake trees, motorised miniature train, beads, coloured Epoxycast resin, rubber, HO scale plastic homes, earrings, wig hair, 211.00 x 240.00 x 240.00 cm. Courtesy The Commercial Gallery, Sydney. Photo: Jessica Maurer.

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Sharne Wolff


  1. Tom Loveday

    The Eternal Return is not a doctrine.

  2. Raymond James

    Doctrine (from Latin: doctrina or possibly from Sanskrit: dukrn) is a codification of beliefs or a body of teachings or instructions, taught principles or positions, as the essence of teachings in a given branch of knowledge or belief system. Doctrine of Eternal Recurrence, 2014 is not a doctrine.

  3. Paul Lanigan

    Maybe the word doctrine is being used here in the “catholic’ sense of the word. You might need to look that up to fully understand what I am saying.

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