Artist Interview: Judith Wright - Art Collector

April 14, 2012

Judith Wright has been selected as part of the Australian contingent at the 18th Biennale of Sydney - All our relations. Australian Art Collector caught up with the artist to discuss what she will be showing at this year's event.

Judith Wright, Awake, 2012, detail. Assemblage. Courtesy: the artist and Sophie Gannon Gallery

Can you tell me about the work(s) you will be presenting at the 18th Biennale of Sydney?

Three of the videos to be shown on Cockatoo Island are from the series Seven stages of desire, 2003-2009. These works chart the imagined life of a lost child. The sculptural assemblage installation which is also the second and most recent work in the series is called A Journey, and will be installed at MCA Australia.

This work continues the theme of an imagined life into a realm that further acknowledges the unconscious and the fluidity of states of being.

How does this work engage with the theme All out relations?

The works elude to a journey, the coming together of disparate entities united in a single purpose. Both works explore the vulnerabilities of the human condition.

Judith Wright, Desire series. Courtesy: the artist and Sophie Gannon Gallery

Can you tell me what and who inspired you to create this work?
In 2010 I was awarded an Australia Council Fellowship. This afforded me the time to study the works of Plato and Pliny the Elder. These writings on the power of the shadow to conger meaning, and my own personal story have melded together in the making of this work.

You’ve worked across a range of mediums in your career. What drew you towards installation and video for this year’s biennale?

Installation and video seemed to be the most effective mediums with which to convey the content of the works.

Looking at your CV you’ve featured in a number of group exhibitions. Are there any artists who have inspired or influenced your art making? Can you tell me who and how?

I have probably been most influenced by literature - the mystical elements in the work of poets such as Rainer Maria Rilke. However, I am also interested in the constructions of Eva Hesse and the paintings of Colin McCahon. Rembrandt and Goya are obvious influences in their use of light and shadow to explore the human spirit.

Has your former career as a dancer influenced your artistic practice?

Yes, in hind sight my practice has been considerably influenced by my former career - especially in the theatrical presentation required for the assemblage works. An awareness of the body as a conveyor of emotion, as well as the scale and placement of works in space relate directly to the experience of a dancer on a stage.

The Biennale of Sydney runs from 27 June to 16 September 2012.

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