From Carrie Miller…
The weird thing about the future is the extent to which it’s to be found in the past. For many of us, science fiction has the look and feel of the 1950s and 60s. We grew up watching TV shows like My Favourite Martian and Lost in Space. We thought the future would like the Jetsons. In his new solo exhibition Interplanetary Society, Adam Norton excavates the past to rescue an idea of the future that is all but lost in an era when space programmes no longer have the shiny optimism of the Kennedy era.
The title of the exhibition refers to the British Interplanetary Society of which Norton is a member and whose library contains books on rocket science, science fiction and pseudo-science from the 20th century’s Golden Age of Space exploration. He has painted the covers of these books as well as text works based on them in a way which transforms them into what he calls “pro-space travel” posters. The cumulative effect is that the gallery is converted into a transitional space – something like a futuristic transport lounge or the waiting room of a space travel agency.
Norton has given these old books a ‘Space Pop’ makeover, reinvigorating the past idea of the future in the present. The result is a beautiful other-worldly aesthetic that is simultaneously nostalgic and unknown. Norton has produced another show where his wit and facility with his sci-fi subject matter transports audiences to a parallel world.
Until March 16
Gallery 9, Darlinghurst
Pic: Adam Norton, Sputnik, 2012. Vinyl on canvas, 182 x 121 cm. Courtesy the artist and Gallery 9.