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Life@Death Exhibition at Gallery One

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by Jenny Esots (subscribe)
A freelance writer and traveller who likes to explore the spiritual, literary and hidden gems of Adelaide and beyond.
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The Sleep of Reason
Gallery One is an arts collective that hosts art workshops and gatherings. It is also a teaching studio and exhibition space, located within the heritage-listed Mitcham Village.

For the past five years, they have hosted an exhibition entitled Life@Death curated by Dieter Engler. Dieter describes the theme Life@Death as finding life amidst death. The exhibition gives artists a forum to think about life, death, art and their place in this world.

Life @ Death 'Sleep of Reason' Art Exhibition
Life @ Death 'Sleep of Reason' Art Exhibition


Sleep of Reason
Each year curator Dieter Engler creates a theme in which questions can be raised. Artists are given a concept which is articulated in an essay to respond to. This year Dieter chose the work of art 'The Sleep of Reason' by Francisco Goya, which depicts a sleeping figure and above him images of dream-like beings. The image inspired Dieter to muse on our current times. He related that many people are finding our current world events increasingly uncertain and frightening. The theme opens up ideas of reason and rationalism, romanticism and different ways of knowing. It provided a vivid springboard for the imaginations of the artists, who used a variety of different mediums, including jewellery, film, drawing and painting.

Dieter Engler & Marko Siklich at the Art Exhibition opening
Dieter Engler & Marko Siklich at the Art Exhibition opening


Artist in Residence
As part of the Life@Death exhibition Gallery One has obtained sponsorship to host an artist in residence program. In past years there has been an eclectic range of different artists. Ranging from a philosopher, poet and musician. The 2017 artist in residence is Marko Siklich, an actor who specialised in film art for his residence.
Marko related his motivation on the theme 'The Sleep of Reason' as following inquiries into emotional and rational reason. He created a film noir short film which was shown at the opening. There was some homage to Travis Bickle, the main character in the film Taxi Driver, who had a mission on what he saw was cleaning up the city. Marko related the challenge of having to script, act and direct a short film in its entirety. The resulting film was atmospheric and moody, leaving the viewer with many questions.

Curator Dieter Engler at the Art Exhibition opening
Curator Dieter Engler at the Art Exhibition opening


The Art Exhibition Opening
Art openings are great opportunities to meet artists and hear about the overall concept of an exhibition. Gallery One excels in creating and sustaining an inquiring group of artists. The curator Dieter Engler spoke about offering a safe base for people to talk about ideas. Pondering the question of where is the reason in our times and further can art be considered reasonable? Three artists were interviewed at the evening opening about their work and inspirations.

Artist Sara Boni at the Art Exhibition opening
Artist Sara Boni at the Art Exhibition opening


Artist Sara Boni
Sara titled her work 'Making sense of a Nonsensical World.' She related themes in her artwork and her own life of searching, dreams and resolving issues. The merging of art and life working as a healing process. A process that has had a long gestation, with her artwork originally begun twenty years ago. The artwork conjured up images of a womb-like place swirling with dreamlike symbols. Sara raised the question of whether popular culture and the public had a limited understanding of art, with an expectation that art should be homogenised and pre-packaged for easy consumption.

The Sleep of Reason by Francisco Goya - FAF4YL0zP9cjHg at Google Cultural Institute maximum zoom level, Public Domain
The Sleep of Reason by Francisco Goya - FAF4YL0zP9cjHg at Google Cultural Institute maximum zoom level, Public Domain


Artist Wende Dahl
Wende described the gestation of her artwork Papillon Noir. She described travelling to Istanbul and seeing a woman in a full black burqa in which the woman's outline could be seen. This raised conflicting images and her art was in response to this. Wendy related a sense of terror and unease in the world, a place she saw as being overshadowed by the combative nature of politics. Her painting has since provoked strong reactions from the public. Wende described her main theme in the artwork was in showing we are all the same underneath.

Artist Anna-Maria Zupancic
Anna-Maria works primarily in depicting different forms of mandalas. She related they can be seen from a spiritual perspective and used as a therapeutic tool. She described the mandala as helping her to deal with tragic circumstances, where there doesn't seem to be an answer. The construct of working within a circle giving the artist a sense of security and control. The creation of images giving scope to feelings that often can't be verbalised. One of the artworks chosen for display used the favourite colours of a friend who had passed away.

Artwork by Dieter Engler
Artwork by Dieter Engler


Overall the art on display showed a tendency towards a black and white template. With an overlay of themes on searching, grief and dreams. Like most art exhibitions it is enhanced by reading the background concept information and descriptions of each work. The exhibition opens up the idea of art as therapy. A place where artists fell free to express uncertainties, doubts and fears. It is inspiring to find such a merging of art, philosophy and ideas.

Gallery One - 1 Torrens Street, Mitcham SA 5062

Opening Times Tuesday to Friday 10am to 4.30pm.
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*Jenny Esots was invited as a guest
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Why? The exhibition gives artists a forum to think about life, death, art and their place in this world.
When: Opening Times Tuesday to Friday 10am to 4.30pm.
Phone: 82724504
Where: 1 Torrens Street, Mitcham SA 5062
Cost: Free admission
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