Its fascinating the way archaeologists painstakingly brush away layers of history so as not to damage the discovery of objects that might shed light on humanity’s distant past. Jacqui Malins, however, does exactly the opposite in her exhibition that uses archaeological practices as a metaphor for the way we, as individuals, come to understand ourselves (if indeed that is possible.) Reverse archaeology contains two video works of clay vessels being smashed to reveal written histories with in. The broken receptacles of formerly hidden texts are placed throughout the gallery and thus become works of art. Malins’ work, as she puts it, rejects “the drive to excavate, analyse and dissect, this work embraces messy and imperfect processes of growth.” Seeing individual identity as a composite of many different characters depending on which one we are presenting at the moment, Malins acknowledges that each person holds a “geological record”. In other words every one of us is an ‘archaeological site’ arbitrarily uncovered by way of life’s triumphs and failures, highs and lows. Reverse archaeology is an exhibition that may not exactly reveal the meaning of life, but it certainly steps up to the big existential issues. With this in mind Reverse archaeology has to be essential viewing ! In a series of works that respond to exhibitions in Canberra the currently ubiquitous Griffyn Ensemble played (Archelogos II by Sophie Lacaze) at the opening. Love the Griffyn Ensemble!
Caren Florance took the photographs for this opening, evidence that her talents know no bounds !