Hester’s work for the 19th Biennale of Sydney, fashioning discontinuities (2013–14), continued the artist’s exploration of the material, social and spatial relations that shape public spaces. Taking areas around Sydney as a starting point, Hester explored the different ways in which these places are fashioned, shedding light on systems that are inscribed within a range of territories.
Through the production of a series of objects, propositions, and a book that will be published towards the conclusion of the Biennale, Hester will experiment with ways to traverse a range of places, and in doing so encourage new models for experiencing public space. While being distributed across the city as a series of gestures (such as annexing a patch of grass, producing sonic actions and digging in Sydney’s Hyde Park) enacted over time – props, fragments and residues that emerge from the project’s dense range of processes will be assembled into an installation on Cockatoo Island – situated between the project’s various material, spatial and temporal registers. Hester’s working process is fluid and open-ended. Her process of making will continue up to and during the exhibition, responsive to the unforeseeable challenges presented on-site and the unknown engagement with the work by the public.
Hester uses installation, collaboration, writing, sculpture, performance and video to create works that explore social conditions, materiality and spatial perspective. Her installations expand our perception of art beyond the object and outside the theoretical and physical boundaries of a gallery space by orchestrating unexpected encounters between people, materials, objects and the occasional live animal. Her fluidity concerning authorship and material production displays an obvious connection to conceptual art, yet her work can also be situated more broadly within a history of minimalism, land art, performance and arte povera.
In a world, fully accessible by no living being (2011), presented in Federation Square, Melbourne as part of the Melbourne Prize for Urban Sculpture, Hester developed a project in three distinct parts. The first component was a list of propositions outlining different forms of engagement and occupation, some of which required people to engage with the urban environment around the city of Melbourne. Among Hester’s ten propositions, often involving the combined efforts of others, were the following: ‘Making a collaborative sound performance in a multi-level carpark’; ‘Inviting dogs and their owners to congregate at Federation Square on Saturdays’; and, most simply, ‘Sitting together’.
The second part was an architectural intervention in the form of a wall constructed from cinder blocks located in Federation Square. The third element took the form of a free broadsheet publication outlining and articulating the propositions. Judges of the prize, which Hester won, said that the work created ‘something unexpected within the phenomenological texture of the city, a resonant and vivacious harnessing of the latent energies in the public realm’.
Hester is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney. She has a PhD from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), Melbourne, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Sculpture) with Honours from RMIT, and has completed postgraduate studies at the Sandberg Institute, Amsterdam. Recent solo exhibitions of her work have included ‘Lumpen Falls’ (with Open Spatial Workshop), Conical Gallery, Melbourne (2012); ‘bits and pieces here and there’, Society, Sydney (2011); ‘please leave these windows open overnight to enable the fans to draw in cool air during the early hours of the morning’, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne (2010); ‘fashioning discontinuities’, Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne (2009); and ‘projectprojects’, The Showroom, London (2008).
For more information on these and other events as part of fashioning discontinuities, please visit: fashioningdiscontinuities.blogspot.com.au