Works in the exhibition form two distinct bodies of work. Environmental vigilance the common denominator.
1. Shot Through. The first instalment of the macabre trophy menagerie destined for Documenta 13 in Kassel, Germany in 2012. A 21st C hunter’s den. An A-list of near extinct guests on the United Nations IUCN Red List. A small gathering of nations in its own right: Californian Condor, Australian Night Parrot, French Dragon Fly, Japanese Cat, Mexican Axolotl, New Zealand Kakapo. Camouflaged, in a fashion, as in nature, in the military uniform de jour.
2. Fiona Hall was one of seven artists invited by Gregory O’Brien of City Gallery Wellington to go on an expedition in the South Pacific along the Kermadec Trench — a highly biologically and politically-sensitive geological region in one of the deepest parts of the ocean. The Trench is defined by the meeting of tectonic plates and so is the site of much geothermal activity. Marine life unknown to science. Mining interests. The Trench is rich in gold and other precious natural resources. Fishing interests. New Zealand Fisheries are keen. The Trench extends from the North Island of New Zealand to Tonga. The expedition was funded by the Pew Environment Group, a Washington DC-based philanthropic group focussed on environmental issues. www.thekermadecs.com In my mind I drew a vertical line from our ship to the bottom of the Kermadec Trench below, down to a crack in the molten eggshell of the Earth’s core. The line drew deeper than the lowest limits where daylight could possibly reach, and slipped in the darkness from the firm grasp of science. It descended through a galaxy of bioluminescent, living things, still swimming as they once did in the depth of life’s dawn. And then the line I drew sank from my mind’s view beyond the farthest, darkest fathom that I could ever reach by my imagining. Ten thousand metres from the sea floor to its surface. Fiona Hall, ‘Listing to starboard’, Encounters — The Kermadecs, The Pew Environment Group, 2011.
Fiona Hall is one of Australia’s most prominent contemporary artists. She has been selected for dOCUMENTA (13) in Kassel, Germany 2012, and has been included in many other important group exhibitions and biennales over the past two decades. These include: The Biennale of Sydney (2000 and 2010); The Third Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art, Moscow (2009); DeOverkant/Downunder, Den Haag Sculpture 2007, Netherlands (2007); Prism: Contemporary Australian Art at the Bridgestone Museum, Tokyo (2006); Fieldwork: Australian Art 1968 – 2002 at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2002); and Perspecta at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (1997). A retrospective of Fiona Hall’s work was held by Queensland Art Gallery and the Art Gallery of South Australia in 2005 and in 2008 the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney held a survey exhibition of her work, Fiona Hall: Force Field, which toured to the City Gallery in Wellington New Zealand. Fiona Hall’s work has been collected in depth by all major Australian museums, including the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, the Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide; and the Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane. Fiona Hall has been represented by Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery since 1995.