Who: Hannah Bertram
What: The Silence of Becoming & Disappearing
Where: Dianne Tanzer, 108-110 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy
When: Until 16 October (there is an artist talk on 16 October followed by a viewing in a private home)

On my way home from work I popped into Dianne Tanzer and noticed that the crowd of people in the main room were not standing in the middle, but only around the edges of the room. This was because Hannah Bertram had created a temporary work of art directly onto the gallery floor, and nobody wanted to disrupt it. In many ways it was very similar to a Tibetan sandpainting (a symbol of impermanence), but the incredibly intricate designs were made from nothing more than dust and ash; the very materials that usually tarnish our homes, that we are forever trying to remove.

the silence of becoming and disappearing hannah bertram

This work was a part of a project where 11 of these temporary artworks were constructed in private homes. A series of photos of them hung on the back wall. The places where the work was installed vary, from a boarding house, to a home about to host a cocktail party for 120 people, falling in patterns on bookshelves and dining tables, or hiding away in secret draws.

the silence of becoming and disappearing dianne tanzer hannah bertram Image courtesy of Dianne Tanzer.

hannah bertram working tableImage courtesy of Dianne Tanzer.

The home owners became the custodians of the art, choosing both the audience and how long the piece would last. In one busy household, which embraced the inherent temporary nature of this work, the artwork was gone in an hour. Another family chose to cover the work with glass, hoping it would last for years, probably collecting more dust over time.

The project aims to explore the concept of ‘ornament’ and how something becomes more precious when it’s decorated. By using ordinary worthless materials, the work challenges the objectness of art and highlights the preciousness of the everyday. This work also made me think about how we all become attached to certain objects. If one of these gorgeous dust and ash drawings were in my house I would probably want to keep it forever as well. But as the Tibetan monks know too well, nothing is ever fixed or permanent, and “decay is inherent in all component things”. Perhaps it’s best just to let it go. If you want to see this one you’d better hurry to Dianne Tanzer before the other patrons, gallery staff of cleaners realise this.

Who: Kris Coad
What: journey…
Where: Dianne Tanzer, 108-110 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy
When: Until 16 October

After pushing through crowds, ensuring not to stir up any dust, I made it into the back room of the gallery where Kris Coad’s beautiful chandeliers hung. These are made from bone china, and strung together with thread. Curiously, this one also looked like bones.

kris coad journey dianne tazerImage courtesy of Dianne Tanzer.

What is really interesting about Coad’s work is the shapes, and the way light is used to create shadows that become a part of the work itself. The bone china is also so white and luminous when illuminated.

kris coad bone journey

kris coad journey bones shadows dianne tanzer

Kris Coad’s aim is to create “a point of focus, a sense of mystery, contemplation and wordless thought”. The immense beauty of the chandeliers and the whimsical, fanciful feeling they evoked, fitted perfectly with the decorative floor drawing by Hannah Bertram. I would love to have both in my apartment! Although they were two completely separate projects they worked very well together. Stunning!


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