SYDNEY.- Campbelltown Arts Centre together with Sydney College of the Arts have brought together 15 leading Australian contemporary artists for a new exhibition Cosmic Love Wonder Lust: The Imperial Slacks Project being presented at both venues from August until October 2015. Cosmic Love Wonder Lust, co-curated by Campbelltown Arts Centre Director Michael Dagostino and Nicholas Tsoutas, Zelda Stedman Lecturer at Sydney College of the Arts, reconnects a group of artists who formed the radical Imperial Slacks Project at the turn of the century in Sydney.
Established within an urban cultural environment, Imperial Slacks operated between 1999 and 2002 as a social and cultural experiment that functioned as the home, studio and gallery space of 16 emerging artists. Several artists exhibited their work at Imperial Slacks at the time, with many going on to lead successful and significant careers, including the core group that features in Cosmic Love Wonder Lust. Those exhibiting artists are: Shaun Gladwell, Angelica Mesiti, Emma Price, Sean Cordeiro and Claire Healy, Wade Marynowsky, Alex Davies, Techa Noble, Michael Schiavello, Chris Fox, Melody Willis, Lea Donnan, Simon Cooper, Laura Jordan and Monika Tichacek.
Artists present artworks previously exhibited during the Imperial Slacks Project alongside newly commissioned works responding to their practice at that time.
Imperial Slacks was a new and challenging model of artist run space that generated a new form of cultural production. This new model was refreshing and inspired a new set of possibilities for contemporary art in Australia. The Slackers knew no boundaries and they set their independent agendas while claiming a special place in Australian Contemporary Art, said Michael Dagostino, Director of Campbelltown Arts Centre.
The newly commissioned works in the exhibition include Sean Corderio and Claire Healeys new installation consists of the fuselage of an aeroplane, enclosed within the gallery and attached with crochet made by the artists with community support. Simon Cooper has requested a piece of clothing from each of the Slackers, and using embroidery techniques, Cooper creates a tactile sculpture installation. Laura Jordon creates an installation of robotic bats that communicate by mobile phone.
Artists who were of the Imperial Slacks group were known as The Slackers an ironic term as they were extraordinarily active and generative used Imperial Slacks as a critical space to test alternate attitudes towards curating. Their collective incandescent energy and alternate way of thinking created a pulse beyond the gallery, bring an intensity and sense of chaos to life beyond the space.
Cosmic Love Wonder Lust is also an archive project re-presenting a number of videos, from the personal collections of all of the artists. The project provides an important resource that allows audiences, many for the first time, access to the history of Imperial Slacks.