Taking it all away

By Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

What might happen if you took away time, so a 24-hour day was condensed into 18 hours? What are you left with after 260 volunteers have spent five years erasing a magazine by hand – page by page? These questions about our relationship to time, and how it might be spent and measured, represent one line of enquiry within Taking it all away, an exhibition of works drawn from the collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia.

Another Misspent Portrait of Etienne de Silhouette (AMPEdS) (1999 - 2014)Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

Ideas and process

Ideas and process are paramount for conceptual artists, as they are today for Christian Capurro and Stuart Ringholt. Exploring concepts of labour, expenditure and the body in an image-laden world, Capurro’s erased magazine passed through the hands of 250 people over five years. Ringholt’s 18-hour clock is not only about the potential impact of time being taken away but also the cosmology of the world and our place within a vast universe.

Another Misspent Portrait of Etienne de Silhouette (AMPEdS) Another Misspent Portrait of Etienne de Silhouette (AMPEdS), Christian Capurro et al, From the collection of: Museum of Contemporary Art Australia
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Another Misspent Portrait of Etienne de Silhouette (AMPEdS) (1999 - 2014)Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

The work is activated by site-specific programs that use the core project pieces as the basis of an exploration into understandings of value, exchange, expenditure, picturing & effacement.

Another Misspent Portrait of Etienne de Silhouette (AMPEdS) (1999 - 2014)Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

Curator Natasha Bullock talks about Christian Capurro's work.
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Exploring concepts of labour, expenditure and the body in an image-laden world, Capurro’s erased magazine passed through the hands of 250 people over five years.

Untitled (Clock) Untitled (Clock) (2013) by Stuart RingholtMuseum of Contemporary Art Australia

Untitled (Clock) (2014)Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

Untitled (Clock) (2014)Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

It’s not good to worry about space (2008)Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

Origins of minimalism

The origins of minimalism can be traced to the early twentieth-century revolutionary art movement constructivism, which demanded that art reflect a rapidly industrialising society; and to suprematism, which proposed art’s capacity for transcendence through a radical geometric abstraction. Gordon Bennett’s etchings featuring black squares directly reference these origins of abstraction, while Rose Nolan’s banners recall the radical aesthetics of constructivism’s political slogans. 

It’s not good to worry about space It’s not good to worry about space by Rose NolanMuseum of Contemporary Art Australia

Untitled No 4 (1991)Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

Untitled No 4 Untitled No 4, Robert Hunter, From the collection of: Museum of Contemporary Art Australia
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To make a work of timeless art (1996)Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

Although the work is timeless – ever extending, all encompassing, encyclopaedic, the whole (hence general) – it is given scale by 'this moment’ (a particular). If one of the couplets is missing, the work hasn’t scale. Scale is an object thing. A situation thing. A person thing. We, ourselves, are a particular amongst the general. If we lose sight of either, we lose sight of ourselves.

 Gail Hastings, 1996

To make a work of timeless art To make a work of timeless art by Gail HastingsMuseum of Contemporary Art Australia

Blue retreat, Gordon Bennett, 1993/1993, From the collection of: Museum of Contemporary Art Australia
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Through the void (Diving board) Through the void (Diving board), Gordon Bennett, From the collection of: Museum of Contemporary Art Australia
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Gordon Bennett’s etchings featuring black squares directly reference these origins of abstraction.

Through the void (Diving board) (1993)Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

Another History for H.B. and R.L. (1991)Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

We all live in the world and that means we should acknowledge the fact that we are interconnected and that people and ideas are important to all of us. Also, this fact allows me to connect myself to a historical moment but draw that idea into the present. Artists often feel that they have to single themselves out (take the floor) even though we live in a community of artists, curators and colleagues

Peter Cripps, 2014

Another History for H.B. and R.L. (1991)Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

Another History for H.B. and R.L. Another History for H.B. and R.L. by Peter CrippsMuseum of Contemporary Art Australia

Credits: Story

In gallery photography by Christopher Snee.

All work is copyright the artists.

Visit the MCA site for more information

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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