The chair has taken on a life of its own!
I got a very nice phone call yesterday informing me that I had won the People’s choice award at the Helpmann Academy Graduate Exhibition 2012!!
I wasn’t expecting it as I had my list of favourites to win… Some of which are in Hatched, The National Graduate Show in Perth. [Fingers crossed for them!] http://www.pica.org.au/view/Hatched%3A+National+Graduate+Show/1420/
I unwillingly post this because I hate photos!
but here it is as requested…
The Adelaide Review, issue 385, March 2012 – written by Christopher Sanders
The link: www.adelaidereview.com.au/article/1359“
Those eyes. That red chair. Whatever you think of Fiona Roberts’ Scopophilia you can’t deny its impact.
Once viewed it’s never forgotten as this creepy yet fascinating piece, comprising of a red chair with eyes sewn onto it, is a delicious slice of paranoid art. Shown as part of the Helpmann Academy Graduate Exhibition 2012, Scopophilia (which also graces The Adelaide Review’s cover) helped Roberts to win the $5000 Hill-Smith Gallery/Helpmann Academy Friends Award, which will provide the young artist a return flight to any destination in the world to help her emerging career.
Roberts is one of 29 up-and-coming artists exhibiting as part of the graduate exhibition, which officially opened on Friday, February 24 at the Torrens Parade Ground. Now in its 17th year, the Helpmann Academy Graduate Exhibition is one of the state’s premier showcases for emerging artists with graduates exhibiting from UniSA’s School of Art, Architecture and Design, TAFE SA’s Adelaide College of the Arts and the Adelaide Central School of Art.
Aside from winning the exhibition’s major prize, the Helpmann Academy’s Chris Bull saysScopophilia has been a standout work for visitors.
“Whatever your opinion on it, it does attract attention and it’s a fabulous work,” Bull says.
“I loved it from the first time I saw it.”
Bull explains that the award Roberts win is “geared towards artists who are emerging and heading in the right direction”.
“You can see the possibilities of them benefiting down the track from that overseas travel in informing their practice and putting it in their future work,” he says.
Roberts is still in shock from the award.
“The last time I won something I was five or six in a game of pass the parcel and I got a $2 prize, so this is a big upgrade,” Roberts jokes.
Roberts, who exhibits self-deprecating humour worthy of a comedian, says she has only heard positive responses to the polarising Scopophilia.
“People aren’t going to come up to me and say, ‘oh, I hate the chair’. It doesn’t happen in art, generally, unless you’re famous and then you’re allowed to be told how bad you are. But I think that chair is a bit of an issue because it overtakes all my other work. I had 33 works in my graduate show at the Adelaide Central School of Art but the chair was the one people commented on. I didn’t hear about anything else really, apart from maybe Eyelashes, which is also in the Helpmann.”
Roberts is a diverse artist, as her work crosses many disciplines but she always focuses on body issues. And some are hilarious with sculptures such as Cough/kiss andDehydrate/suffocate juxtaposing human extremes such as ‘coughing’ and ‘kissing’ with delicious irony. She hopes people get the humour.
“Some people are horrified. They think it’s all gory and gross with the body parts. All my things are lively in my opinion – they are not dead. They are just sections I have focused on, like the hand on the stand. The rest of the body is there somewhere but I’m focusing on the hand. I like the serious and the humorous nature of having fears; not really trusting yourself, your surroundings and your body. That’s my number one focus – the body and how it can corrupt everything and ruin everything and can be so deceitful and hide things that can ruin your life like cancer and tumours and all those horrible things. It’s all about deceit and concealment and all that wonderful stuff.”
Where will Roberts’ prize take her?
“I want go to Europe and visit the medical surgical museums and all those wonderful places, because that’s my main focus. The history of medicine always feeds into my work and I use that and make it more contemporary.”
– Christopher Sanders
Helpmann Academy Graduate Exhibition 2012
Continues until Sunday, March 18
(open daily from 10.30am to 4.30pm)
Drill Hall, Torrens Parade Ground