Growth at all Costs! Penelope Cain @ A-M Gallery
Growth at all Costs!, solo exhibition at A-M Gallery, 12-30th May, 2015.
This current line of enquiry was triggered by cutting out maps of cities. Growth Solution #1: Sydney is a mapping of the form of the built city through the location of flat black sequins, and excising the built city out and away from its territory. This process opened questions about the economics of land in ‘the city’ and broader questions about how the economy is presented and performed in the city; a functional economic and trade nexus.
That there is an internalised, performative element to commerce and the economy, in the ‘post-spectacle’ period of late Capitalism, is a proposition that is played out through an intentional collision of apparently disparate elements- the performative aspects of colonial landscape painting, Victorian mourning jewellery and shamanic regalia.
The works pay out on dry economic phrases and terms heard and repeated to the point of mantra, such as that in the show’s title- ‘growth at all costs’. These are playfully attenuated through the collaged motifs of shields, jewellery, plaques and monuments, denoting a type of shamanic ceremonial intensity, yet these propositional relics are rendered in intentionally perverse materials such as visually fugitive flyscreen mesh and intensely solid industrial rubber sheeting, and decorated with lavish feathers and almost burlesque sequins.