Staged across the previously inaccessible basements and ground floor level of Hobart’s historic Ingle Hall, Before The Age Of The Museum pivoted on the historiographic concerns of Hazewinkel’s multiform practice.
The artist’s excavation of the building’s basements and opening them to the public for the first time exposed early colonial occupation of a land already occupied. A quasi-scientific archaeological dig around the building’s foundations unearthed evidence of gathered, but otherwise unworked, river pebbles used as flooring, and more recent graffiti incised on the building’s retaining wall foundations. These indices of occupation were presented alongside imagined artefacts suggesting personal histories of the building’s first occupants.
Traversing the basement level and ground floor exhibition spaces visitors participated in a site-specific installation spanning both levels. Live CCTV surveillance of visitors to the basements was presented on screen in the ground floor galleries alongside casts, presented as sculptures, taken from the uncovered graffiti.
The ground floor galleries also hosted Hazewinkel’s reworked found objects. Bearing marks of corrosive pasts these objects reflected the marks of wear and tear on building’s interior surfaces and a history of neglect. Collected seashells and rock specimens were presented as the imagined keepsakes of the building’s first inhabitants drawing oblique reference to the cabinet of curiosities and it’s role as antecedent to the development of contemporary encyclopaedic museological practice.
The entanglement of ideas, materialities and technologies presented across the exhibition’s two levels continued with the presence of crisp digital imagery of the video Warrior A Warrior B (2014) set against the basement level’s rough-hewn walls.
Hanging in the gallery above the basement video installation was Suspicious Marble: Omphale (2017). This large photo-mediated leather sculptural work functioned spatially as kind of curtain, or screen, while folding the materiality of its pictorial subject (a faked antiquity representing a naked female figure wearing only a lion-skin) back on itself. Here recto and verso 19th century photographic images representing a soft human body rendered in stone have been screen-printed at 1:1 human scale onto animal hides. Hanging in the round this arresting work presented viewers with six hovering bodies of stone that revealed and concealed themselves in the subtle movements of the undulating folds of skin.
This project was facilitated through the kind assistance of Michael Bugelli Gallery.
watch Warrior A Warrior B here