Re Calling the Blood Tears

Modulations: Re Calling the Blood Tears
Ballarat Art Gallery,
(a touring exhibition series sponsored by
LUMA | La Trobe University Museum of Art)

Modulations: Re Calling the Blood Tears
Victor Gordon King Gallery – Manuscripts to Multimedia
Ballarat Art Gallery - 15 April to 12 June 2011

These installations move from one gallery to the next and in their reconfiguration they are concerned with charging and changing the nature of each of the spaces. They Re-Configure and introduce new works which respond to the nature and volume of the space of each gallery. Many of the new pieces added during the current procession of this Series, are responses to a recent visit to Spain, to the Andalucían, Semana Santa processions.
Modulations has been visualized as a series of installations that sets up a sense of pilgrimage: one which extends over a number of years and encompasses conceptually both the artist and the viewer. The observer when travelling to different venues and witnessing the shift from one gallery space to another, (or understanding this conceptually through lectures with visuals and floor talks), may sense the mutation of meaning and relevance of each of the pieces, as well as that of the spaces themselves. The idea is to merge the concept of a participating observer with that of the researcher and the artist. Over a period of time, the accretion of new objects in concerto with those already presented, imparts new associations and readings.
As the title also suggests, Modulations, infers changes in pitch and tone and consequently in the shifts in connotations possible in utterances and the traces of marks of all types. These exhibitions involve both the mark/trace, as well as sound as Cantatas. These are a way of marking/recording the existence of an experience of life. We tend to take for granted the possession of language and the sense of control that this facility offers us. The structures within languages relate directly to the nature of the mediums employed and their inherent processes. For instance embroidery, stitching, and even the scarring of the flesh and the marks left by the finger have vocabularies that form languages. These variants in communication, like the visual arts languages, while tangible and vital, are silent.
While each of the earlier installations in the series concentrated on a sense of ecclesiastical rituals and their underlying meanings, with an accent on the unheard voices of the collective makers of the accoutrements of power, this installation concentrates on the singular and lonely anguish of the bereaved. The mother, the sister, the wife, the lover, the comrade, who mourn and honour the loss of their beloved one.
The dark sobriety and intimacy of the Victor Gordon King Space in the Ballarat Art Gallery invited a new meditation on these themes, a space for reflection, for contemplation of the sense of loss, for mourning and memory. This space is situated at the end of a metaphorical journey through the transplanting of cultural values to the new world, to the emergence of a national identity honouring, in the darkened niche adjacent, the Eureka Flag.
This year witnesses the conjunction two events one based in the lunar calendar and the other in the solar. Both are two culturally significant events for Australia. Easter, a moveable observance of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, determined by the lunar cycle and Anzac Day a singular date set in perpetuity in Australasia as the anniversary and commemoration of the iniquitous loss of life in the incessant cycle of the battles of war.  
A vital element of the installation is the sound track by composer Mark Finsterer. The space and the mind are permeated by the echoes of prayer and of the lament of military loss.

Lyn Plummer, © 2011