In his first major showing since last years critically acclaimed survey for the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbournes Darren Sylvester creates a dream-like installation, hovering intriguingly between prop house, violence and desire.
Using a series of large-scale hyper-real images, the artist draws us into his staged environments: a street scene where clichéd invitations lit up in neon offer windows to another realm and new opportunities; the interior of a home with an oversized prop staircase, where a model in stilettos perches armed with a shard of ripped balustrade.
Scattered throughout the gallery, three Cartier-influenced rose-gold patinated carved wooden sculptures simulate self-defence weapons against an enemy unseen.
Inspired by his late-night wanderings through New York city, and his all-too-real experience of an aggravated home burglary late last year, Balustrade Stake is a continuation of Sylvesters exploration of mortality, and a timely reflection on the impotence of the weapons with which we are able to arm ourselves against the inevitable and the unknown.
The exhibition opened Thursday June 4 at Sullivan+Strumpf Sydney, 799 Elizabeth Street, Zetland. Or view online at https://www.sullivanstrumpf.com/
b. 1974 in Sydney; lives and works in Melbourne
Darren Sylvesters multi-disciplinary practice involves photography, sculpture, video and music. Usually involving a wide range of pop culture elements and narratives, each medium is given a high-end production sheen or twist to be transformed into a discussion on contemporary ennui, pathos and mortality that is direct, yet inherent with levels of complexity.
Sylvester has exhibited widely, both nationally and internationally. His recent (2019) solo survey exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne titled Carve a Future, Devour Everything, Become Something was critically acclaimed.
His work is held in many public collections such as the National Gallery, Victoria; Art Gallery of New South Wales; Queensland Art Gallery; Art Gallery of Western Australia; and the National Gallery of Australia.
Selected solo shows include Forever twenty one, Neon Parc, Melbourne (2019); Out of Life, Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney (2018); Darren Sylvester, Neon Parc, Melbourne (2017) Céline, Bus Projects, Melbourne (2016); Broken Model, Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney (2016); Darren Sylvester, VOLTA NY, Soho, New York (2013); Darren Sylvester Take Me To You, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA), Singapore (2010); and the major survey exhibition Our Future Was Ours, Australia Centre for Photography, Sydney (2008).
Recent group exhibitions include Hold Still: the photographic performance, Art Gallery of New South Wales (2018); Legacy+, Monash Gallery of Art, Melbourne (2018); Coarse Stories, Goulburn Regional Art Gallery (2018); Conscious Process, Artbank (2018); Double A-Side, Darren Knight Gallery (2017); Cars = My Automolove, Caboolture Regional Art Gallery, Caboolture (2014); Melbourne Now, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2013); NGV Studio: Wired for Melbourne Sound, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2013); We used to talk about love: Balnaves Contemporary, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (2013); Lumens Festival: Curating the Ancient City, Suzhou, Jiangsu, China (2012); and Like, Casula Powerhouse, Sydney (2012).
Sylvester won the Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Award for 2011.