Overview, Images
DEBUT XX, Ponie Curtis, curated by Genevieve Piko & Audrey Thomas-Hayes, exhibition installation. Photography by Sebastian Kainey. Courtesy the artists.

DEBUT XX

Ponie Curtis, Jieun Ha, Indi Jennings, Niki Koutouzi, Phuong Nguyen Le, Lala Zarei

27 Mar–27 Apr 2024

An annual curated exhibition of works by recent graduates from Melbourne’s major art institutions. Celebrating its twentieth year, DEBUT is a Blindside project committed to fostering new talent.

CURATORS Audrey Thomas-Hayes + Genevieve Pikó

Ponie Curtis

Crush Fever delves into the texture of desire and the allure of fantasies that debilitate and consume the self. The use of 3D digital modelling and animation aims to establish an uncanny logic located in the familiar yet unattainable, one that dissolves the boundaries between reality and imagination.

The film welcomes viewers into the romantically helpless tale of a limbless horse and its cupid companion Eros. Through utilising photogrammetry technology, this pewter metal cast is granted life in a digital daydream. The naive protagonist explores enchanting states of liquidity and reimagined merchandise displays imbued with both humour and discomfort. These recognisable yet distorted environments intend to deconstruct our understanding of secure material locations, mirroring the disillusionment experienced in crippling states of desire.

Situated in a reinterpretation of the archetypal waiting room, the installation references ‘non-places,’ a term conceived by French anthropologist Marc Augé used to describe the quotidian spaces of transience that reduce humans to anonymous entities. Here, viewers are implicated in a liminal state of waiting, an interstitial non-place that mimics the perpetual reach towards obsessions that we ultimately cannot grasp.

Jieun Ha

Jieun Ha’s is a gaze without specific assertion, a deliberate perception of casually occurring conditions; the odd pairing or co-occurrence of things. Using methods of abstraction and fragmentation, Jieun aims to extend such a gaze to make oblique rather than didactic references to sourced objects or images. Her practice often involves a process of complicating notions of authenticity… recomposing these instances towards an ambiguous sense of place or state of mind, and creating new conditions for legibility.

Indi Jennings

Some of the signs along the trail in the Brisbane ranges have nothing left but the echo of a text-box, I look at them for information and receive an intricate weatherbeaten map of lichen and bird shit.

Stony creek cuts through the sandstone peaks and travels down and underneath the railway. A vast, folded bed of rock once broke in two here, now levelled the plains continue to slowly sink.

When a freight train speeds past me on the embankment the gravel shifts under my boots and I grab onto the cardoon to steady myself, it's thorns piercing a layer of glove and then through several layers of skin.

Pulling out these weeds is like wrestling with a snapping dog.

The boot of my car is now full of plants that won’t ever reproduce.

Before turning the key in the ignition, I remove my gloves and lick my wounds.

Niki Koutouzi

Civic Chorus, 2023 presents scenes of dialogues on contemporary migration and border regimes among a group of women who have migrated to Australia from different parts of the world—Chile, Greece, Kenya, Iran, and Vietnam. These dialogues explore borderisation, racialisation, classification, assimilation, and the complexities of belonging.

Filmed over two days at Hyphenated Projects in Sunshine West, Naarm/Melbourne, the dialogues unfolded as the group engaged in a collective reading of the poem “To live in the Borderlands means you” by feminist poet and theorist Gloria Anzaldúa, which explores the multifaceted experiences of those living in the in-between spaces or borderlands—culturally, socially, linguistically, geographically, racially, and in terms of gender, sexuality, and identity. Following this, the group engaged in a collective reading of the text “The idea of a borderless world” by political philosopher Achille Mbembe, which analyses the philosophical and political dimensions of borders and borderlessness.

Participants: Armita Abdollahyan, Niki Koutouzi, Thi Nguyen, Nita Okoko, and R.

Directed and produced by Niki Koutouzi.

Videography and editing by Veronica Ong.

Lala Zarei

In this project, I employ diverse art techniques such as printmaking, collage, pottery, and ceramics to delve into personal experiences intertwined with broader societal themes. Emphasizing autoethnography, archives, memory, and migrations, I draw inspiration from ancient Iranian pottery, integrating printed imagery onto ceramic surfaces. This exploration acknowledges the complexities faced by migrants, reflecting on their uncertainties and tensions. Experimenting with pottery forms and printmaking on ceramics, I delve into the notion of belonging. Researching Middle Eastern ceramic archives, particularly in Iran, informs my work. Relocating to Australia profoundly shapes my artistic journey, prompting a deeper dive into autoethnography and innovative approaches to fostering a more inclusive world. My art aims to unite people, foster understanding, and promote unity across diverse backgrounds. Through storytelling and self-reflection, I aspire to catalyze positive change and inspire others to embrace their unique narratives, celebrating the richness of human diversity.

Phuong Nguyen Le

As part of his ongoing body of work Sunshine, Phuong Nguyen Le’s print installation, By the Kororoit Creek, delves into the intersection between Australia’s colonial past and the migratory history of Vietnamese diasporas. Originating beneath Mount Kororoit, the Kororoit Creek holds historical significance as a vital meeting place for the Wurundjeri people who had hunted, fished, and camped along the creek for thousands of years. The creek makes its way down through many suburbs, including Sunshine West, where now resides a large population of Vietnamese post-war migrants.

After the American War ended, the Vietnamese Communist Party won against the South and reunified the nation. In opposition to this regime, thousands of Vietnamese fled their home country to Australia, most commonly through boats. Many of them never saw land again. Through a mode of speculative documentary, the re-enactment of Vietnamese migrants settling in a country that once aided in invading their homeland examines the dichotomy of these new migrants as both asylum seekers and settlers on Wurundjeri land.

Roomsheet + List Work
Onsite, Exhibition, Debut
Overview

An annual curated exhibition of works by recent graduates from Melbourne’s major art institutions. Celebrating its twentieth year, DEBUT is a Blindside project committed to fostering new talent.

Opening: 28 Mar–27 Apr 2024, 7am–10am

This program takes place on the land of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We recognise that sovereignty was never ceded - this land is stolen land. We pay respects to Wurundjeri Elders, past, present and emerging, to the Elders from other communities and to any other Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders who might encounter or participate in the program.

Related

DEBUT XIX
Ramak Bamzar, Ramak, 2022. Photograph, edition of 6, 70 x 50cm. Courtesy of the artist.
Onsite, Exhibition, Debut

29 Mar–22 Apr 2023

DEBUT XIX

Ramak Bamzar, Devika Bilimoria, Christy Chudosnik, Hugh Crowley, Jordan Koudmani, WooJai Lee, Ming Liew, Katie Paine, Michelle Tonkin

DEBUT XIX ONLINE
Katie Paine, A Lonely Circumnavigation, 2022. Film still from digital moving image, sound, 12:30 min. Courtesy the artist.
Online, Exhibition, Debut

23 Mar–22 Apr 2023

DEBUT XIX ONLINE

Katie Paine, Ming Liew, Michelle Tonkin

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The Nicholas Building

Room 14, Level 7, 37 Swanston Street

Melbourne, Victoria, 3000

Wednesday – Saturday, 12-6pm
Closed on public holidays
(+61) 3 9650 0093
info@blindside.org.au

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Working on unceded sovereign land of the Wurundjeri and Boon Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation, Blindside pays respect to Elders, past, present and emerging.


THE ALLEN FOUNDATION

Working on unceded sovereign land of the Wurundjeri and Boon Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation, Blindside pays respect to Elders, past, present and emerging.