From Rebecca Gallo…
Visitors to Sydney Contemporary may have noticed clutches of people peering at the floor near Carriageworks’ main entrance. These observant shoe-gazers were treated to an intricate installation of hand-cut and painted paper moths and blades of grass, gently swaying beneath metal grilles. This was the work of Sydney artist Mylyn Nguyen, and her current show at Brenda May Gallery similarly rewards those who take the time to look closely, carefully and curiously.
Nguyen has dissected clocks and reconfigured their mechanisms to create kinetic sculptures that follow the hour hand: every hour a snail completes a circle atop one plinth; a miniature cloud makes its way around a rock formation on another; shoots of grass grow and recede. Two sculptures have been fitted with hand cranks to appease the impatient, but for the most part we are invited to literally watch the grass grow. In today’s hurried climate, it is almost an act of defiance to make works that take an hour to experience in their entirety. Rather than a deliberate imposition on an audience, though, the time aspect reflects Nguyen’s process of reverse engineering objects and carefully examining the pieces to figure out how they work, before putting them back together in entirely new ways. Clouds, grass and shoots cannot be taken apart like machines, so Nguyen has re-created them in her own logic so they revolve, arise and recede like clockwork.
Until October 24
Brenda May Gallery, Waterloo
Pic: Mylyn Nguyen, I wish I could call clouds, 2015, cork, brass wire, fibre, timber, battery operated clock mechanism, 29.5 x 24.5 x 13.5 cm.