The Perversity of Purpose

Art Life , Exhibitions Aug 09, 2013 No Comments

From Sharne Wolff

In 1958 French artist Yves Klein staged an exhibition with the subtitle ‘The Void’. While the spectacle was regarded a triumph, in the gallery were nothing but a large cabinet and four vacant white walls. In The Peversity of Purpose Kylie Stillman uses the void as her trump card. Each stack of found books displayed in the show has been hand carved on the fore edges with a scalpel. Magic happens when the space created by the blade reveals its secret.

QT_August 9_Perversity

The Purpose of Purposeful Repurposing is a room within the room. Like a contemporary version of trompe l’oeil the viewer is lured by the visible true scale and form of a small potted tree that sits on a timber chair in the corner of the space. A light bulb hangs from the ceiling, the pull cord dangling idly beside it. Other than having the carved spaces removed from them, the books that bring this picture to life are otherwise unaltered. In other works Stillman has shifted from the forms usually employed in her work – birds in particular were previous treasured subjects. Using the scalpel as her pencil, and a clever use of light and shadow, she’s engraved loopy text, Japanese style patterns and abstract shapes into her book ‘canvases’. Cyprus pine is a forest of trees carved into fence palings, which utilises the same techniques on a larger scale and perversely returns the timber to the tree.

Until August 31
Utopia Art Sydney, Waterloo
Pic: Kylie Stillman, (cue)eucalypt(tpyl), 2013. Hand-cut paperback books, 39 x 54 x 11cm. Courtesy the artist and Utopia Art Sydney.

Sharne Wolff

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