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Heide Museum of Modern Art opens a solo show of works by George Egerton-Warburton
Installation view. George Egerton-Warburton, 2019. Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne. Photo: Christian Capurro.


MELBOURNE.- Heide Museum of Modern Art is presenting a solo show by Melbourne and Los Angeles-based artist George Egerton-Warburton. Having exhibited across Australia and internationally, Egerton-Warburton debuts a dynamic selection of his new paintings and assemblages at Heide.

Egerton-Warburton grounds his work in a concern with the individual’s relationship to power and is known for creating elusive and atmospheric installations that are stylistically diverse but united by a pervasive sense of irony and wry humour. The exhibition is being presented until 20 October 2019.

For the installation, Egerton-Warburton combines kinetic sculpture, text and painting to chart the impact of late capitalist conditioning on a public body operating ‘under the influence’ of what it ingests, both physically and culturally.

Exploring the symptoms of this influence and their effect on collective and individual agency and wellbeing, Egerton-Warburton examines conditions such as inequality, exclusion, precarious employment and work stripped of meaning.

New paintings, which follow on from a series recently exhibited at Shoot The Lobster in New York, and sculptures will be presented alongside an ongoing series of photo-based assemblages and sculptures that were first exhibited as part of Warburton’s solo exhibition, English, at the Australian owned Chateau Shatto in Los Angeles in 2017. Works include Truffle Hunting and his ongoing series of beds.

Truffle Hunting features a series of stills from found footage documenting the systematic conditioning of pigs to locate truffles. Egerton-Warburton draws parallels between this process and the way humans are conditioned to strive for more, often without receiving due reward. The images, which are larger than the previous edition, include artist frames and what appear to be truffles but are in fact pieces of dried dog faeces.

Egerton-Warburton’s ongoing series of small bed sculptures referencing nineteenth-century infirmaries look to the motif of the sickbed as a symbol for widespread social and cultural ill health.

Of the series, Egerton-Warburton explains: ‘In my own studio was a fog of objects across the floor, with small, standardised beds that I had been making scattered everywhere. They were a paradox, representing a day where I otherwise would have made nothing. They began as a strategy to overcome a despondent feeling that had started in the institution, and later served to turn galleries into infirmaries in order to acknowledge that there was an illness in the room.’

George Egerton-Warburton uses text, image, found objects, and kinetic sculpture to question how the mechanics of language control collective perception and experience. His practice embraces stylistic dissonance, and the syntax of conceptual art. Referring to day-to-day situations, Egerton-Warburton examines the discord between impulses and behaviour shaped by cultural norms, its effect on mental health, his relationship with the natural landscape that is simultaneously nostalgic and destructive, and the body's agency under administrative labour processes required of it. He creates elusive situations anchored by droll humour and irony. Sympathetic structures and topologies of stress are cobbled together in textured installations.

Recent solo exhibitions include "Penal Café" at Shoot the Lobster, New York; "Cooking the Books" at Contemporary Art Tasmania; "English" at Chateau Shatto, Los Angeles; "The Weapon Soup Boils Over, As Stocks In Metaphors Plummet" at Artist Curated Projects, Los Angeles; and "Wincing Wind-Chime, Repugnant Fold-Out Breath" at Sutton Gallery, Melbourne. Recent group exhibitions include "New 15," ACCA, Melbourne; "Plagiarist of My Unconscious Mind!" Chateau Shatto, Los Angeles; and "Art as a verb," Monash University Museum of Art, curated by Charlotte Day & Patrice Sharkey.

In 2014 Egerton-Warburton was awarded a full fellowship at the University of Southern California's MFA program. The following year, with his entire class, he dropped out of the program in response to a number of controversial changes to the program and its faculty by the University administration. As a writer, Egerton-Warburton has been published by French magazine May Revue, Frieze, AQNB, and has an upcoming piece in Discipline Magazine.






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