Sites of communication: when art takes your breath away

Friday 18 March 2005, and I am sitting downstairs in the Art Gallery of New South Wales main auditorium listening to Professor Ross Gibson give a keynote address as part of a two-day art museum’s symposium ‘Sites of Communication 2’. My job this afternoon is to give a response to Ross Gibson’s address ‘Theatres for Alteration’ .… Continue reading Sites of communication: when art takes your breath away

Truth ‘at home’ —Walter Burley Griffin’s Winter House

To feel ‘at home’ somewhere suggests one feels comfortable in a strange place. To be ‘at home’ with oneself suggests one is not at odds or out of kilter with oneself, not estranged from one’s truth but accepting of it. Compared to its opposite—not to be ‘at home’ suggests one is outside oneself, foreign to… Continue reading Truth ‘at home’ —Walter Burley Griffin’s Winter House

Replica of an original space: yellow green and Replica of an original space: blue light are two wall sculptuations in the group exhibition ‘A Few Pieces’ at Taubert Contemporary in Berlin. Work by artists in the exhibition include: Lars Arrhenius, Geissler & Sann, Gail Hastings, Markus Linnenbrink, Mutter & Genth, Jan van der Ploeg, Markus Weggenmann, Beat Zoderer. The exhibition dates are 17/01/2015 to 07/03/2015. Taubert Contemporary is located at Lindenstraße 35, D – 10969 Berlin.

To make a work of timeless art, 1996, is in the MCA collection exhibition ‘Taking It All Away‘ curated by Natasha Bullock. ‘Diverse in form and character, the works in Taking it all away set the dynamics of space and time against the complexities of modern existence. Together, these works speak to the importance of art history and to the vigorous, evolving nature of contemporary art. The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia dedicates this exhibition to the memory of artists Gordon Bennett and Robert Hunter, who sadly passed away during its development.‘ The exhibition dates are 18/12/2014 to 22/02/2015.

For Gough, it was time for the Arts—as well

’If Australian galleries were limited by the comprehension of the right honourable gentleman they would be very bare and archaic indeed.’  Gough Whitlam in defence of his purchase of Jackson Pollock’s ‘Blue Polls‘, 1952, in Parliament. This morning Australia woke to the news of former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam’s passing. Amongst the many liberating achievements of his… Continue reading For Gough, it was time for the Arts—as well

The black tea of space

If we eliminate the recurring dismissal of women through discredit to avoid any facts they might speak,(1)Leigh Sales, a reporter for the ABC’s flagship news program ‘7.30’, interviewed the then Opposition Leader Tony Abbott who revealed himself to be misleading, ill-informed and contradictory (i.e. dishonest). The following day a leading strategist for the Opposition called Leigh Sales… Continue reading The black tea of space

47 Days Left To Go—Is art different to other object?

It is a question no one likes to answer: In what way is art different to other objects? Answers such as ‘it is more meaningful’, ‘it has intent’, ‘it is more beautiful’, and ‘it is culture’ don’t quite cut it—especially if you value the thought, integrity and ingenuity that goes into first-class design that is… Continue reading 47 Days Left To Go—Is art different to other object?

53 Days Left To Go—When art is misplaced

In one way of looking at it, everything that occurs does so at a specific place; it occurs at a specific latitude, longitude and point in time. The ice-cream you bought the other day while guiltily looking over your shoulder occurred at a pin-point on a map with a timestamp, whether someone saw you or not. While a pin-point in time and place… Continue reading 53 Days Left To Go—When art is misplaced

55 Days Left To Go—Fantastic, my first pledge!

Truly, I was just putting the tablecloth on the table when word of my first pledge came through. As with all good things in life, you can’t image how it feels until it actually happens. May jasmine flowers appear along every footpath my fist supporter walks along, so they are eternally reminded of Spring. Thank you.

58 Days Left To Go—without potato salad science

They say the first port of call for campaign support is the circle most immediate to you—your family. From there, pledges ripple outwards. Without that first drop in the lake, there is no ripple effect. So I tried one of my brothers who, very kindly, replied with the suggestion I make a five year business plan and… Continue reading 58 Days Left To Go—without potato salad science

59 Days Left To Go—what are the Odds?

Second day of the campaign, and finally I send an email notification to those on the studio’s invitation list. Something tells me this should have happened yesterday. With no supporters, YET, I can’t help but begin to dread my odds. In an attempt to assuage the dread I have done some digging, only to discover it is justified. Before I delve,… Continue reading 59 Days Left To Go—what are the Odds?

60 Days Left To Go—Launch

Brakes screeching, cars skidding, cars piling-up—because: I just pressed LAUNCH for ‘Studio: Key’ on the crowdfunding platform—Pozible. Well, that’s how it felt as my mouse clicked and before the realisation dawned that I could hear no traffic incident on the road outside as a result, at all. To launch I had to climb what felt like Mt Everest only to discover,… Continue reading 60 Days Left To Go—Launch

Exhibition: To Do performed as a musical score

Clarinetist Megan Clune ‘played’ Exhibition: To Do, 2014, on the last day of its exhibition at The Commercial gallery, Sydney. Exhibition: To Do can be played as a musical score given it is, ostensibly, a composition of spacial measures not unlike beats in a bar. The measured beats in Exhibition: To Do are punctuated by wooden uprights that separate… Continue reading Exhibition: To Do performed as a musical score

Space with a phoneme of its own

1971 reconstruction of El Lissitzky's 'Prounenraum'. Van Abbemuseum, The Netherlands

When someone a couple of years back asked what sort of art I make, I hesitated. Easy to answer if one makes either painting or sculpture; difficult, if one makes neither. Worse, still, if one makes a spatial art that is not ‘installation’. For which reason I asked, in response, ‘Do you know of installation’?… Continue reading Space with a phoneme of its own

The Daimler Art Collection has recently upgraded its website and is now a more user friendly database of the collection with selected works. Sculptuations by Gail Hastings in the collection include: Missing walls: bureaucracy at work (2007) and Difficult art decisions: wall six (1998). Both sculptuations were exhibited in Minimalism and Applied II, as well as other collection exhibitions.

Added to the Art Index: Encyclopaedia of Time in Art: pp. 10-12; Encyclopaedia of Time in Art: pp. 25-27; Encyclopaedia of Time in Art: pp. 28-30; Encyclopaedia of Time in Art: pp. 31-33; Encyclopaedia of Time in Art: pp. 34-36. Added to exhibitions and events: Art 1996 Chicago (1996). Added to the Library Index – Chicago Tribute review, 1996

Created taxonomy archive pages that can be sorted – e.g. if, when looking at a sculptuation that is in a public collection, one clicks onto ‘public collection’, it will open to a holdings page that lists artworks in public collections. Taxonomies include: sculptuation sizes; sculptuation placement; sculptuation editions; sculptuation holdings; exhibition years; and exhibition types. The sculptuation archive taxonomies can only be accessed if one is logged in.

Image: Gail Hastings, Exhibition: To Do, 2014, acrylic on plywood, plywood, watercolour and lead pencil on paper, 185.4 x 225 x 225cm (photo: Sofia Freeman)

Exhibition: To Do

Closing Launch: Saturday 3 May, 4-6pm

with the work’s spatial score performed by clarinetist

Megan Clune

starting 4:45pm

open Wednesday-Saturday, 11am-6pm
148 Abercrombie Street, Redfern, NSW, Australia, +61 2 8096 3292

Gail Hastings’ Exhibition: To Do is a ‘to-do list’ for making art not yet done, a task-at-hand still at-hand, except for the construction of storage shelves that await the art, aligned in the gallery along the Earth’s cardinal axes.

The height, width and depth of each of the four storage shelves that comprise Exhibition: To Do have been determined by the thickness of the plywood used (18mm) and the repeatable pattern of spaces this thickness makes.  ‘The ubiquitous need to create space for a desired event through a ‘to-do’ list in which a disarray of tasks can be put into productive order’ forms, here, a composition of solid and non-solid intervals that implicate a spatial weft and warp of patience and breath.

Clarinetist Megan Clune will perform Exhibition: To Do‘s score of spatial intervals.

My thanks to Mick

We were squabbling over how best to cut the piece of wood when, with jigsaw in hand, I decided to ignore Mick and get on with the job as I always do — uncomfortable with and annoyed by his audience. Then Mick made a last ditched effort and said, ‘leave the line standing’. Standing? Line? …

Leave the line standing, 2010

A review of Gail Hastings’ ebook Missing by Isobel Parker Philip entitled The pure potential of a page is published, today, on The Art Life.

Hastings uses the term ‘sculptuation’ to define her practice. This is a term that marries ‘sculpture’ with ‘situation’ so as to shift focus away from the individuated sculptural object and towards the spatial scheme it delineates. […] We dip in and out of the space of the work; interpreting it from afar as distanced observers while simultaneously occupying territory contained within its circumference. Whether consciously or not, we are implicated in the work. We inhabit its topography. Can an e-book be enlisted to perform the same function as these object-based works? Can its screened images — floating inaccessible in the data cloud — coerce the viewer into the same tidal pull as their physical counterparts? […] Why should a virtual book ape the form of a physical book? Surely it can possess its own architecture and pioneer its own pathways. Hastings’ work not only recognizes the possibility of such an architecture, it lays the foundations.

Isobel Parker Philip, The pure potential of a page, 25 April 2014

Missing: four sculptuations by Gail Hastings with a foreword by the art historian Richard Shiff will be released tomorrow on iBooks, Saturday, 26 April 2014.


A review of Exhibition: To Do by Chloé Wolifson can be found on the Arts Hub, Saturday 19 April 2014.

Delicately rendered in watercolour with ruled pencil lines emerging from the edges of the translucent wash, these pieces depict the To Do list in question. One such reminder, the instruction: ‘Build racks in which to store the art after the exhibition’, speaks volumes about the established systems of the art world, and the particular approach artists must take when they create work which sits outside the conventionally commercial.

Cholé Wolifson, 19 April 2014.

Corner caretakers, 2014, one of the four sculptuations in the ebook Missing purchased through iBooks, is also mentioned.

Corner caretakers, 2014, and Space of a five page plot, 2014, are two of four sculptuations that comprise the ebook Missing: four sculptuations by Gail Hastings, 2014 available at iBooks. Both are now on view at The Commercial Gallery, Redfern, along with the sculptuation Exhibition: To Do, 2014.

The Commercial

Images 1-4 Gail Hastings, Exhibition: To Do, 2014, acrylic on plywood, plywood, watercolour and lead pencil on paper, 185.5 x 225 x 225cm; image 5 exhibition installation view; images 6-7 Gail Hastings,Corner caretakers, 2014, watercolour and lead pencil on paper in plywood frames, 12 components, each 55 x 46.5 x 1.8cm (Corner caretakers is a sculptuation from Gail Hastings’ eBook, Missing, 2014)

The four walls that make up Gail Hastings’ Exhibition: To Do are oriented within the gallery along the Earth’s axis — coordinates and a rudimentary geometry shared by all. Each wall bears geometric patterns of shelves — small units of space — made of intervals and intersections described and located along xy and z axes. The pattern of spatial intervals has been determined by the material thickness of the wood used — 18mm; wherein solidity and space play interchanging parts (e.g. solid, space, space, solid, space, space, solid, space, space, solid …) along the height and length of each object. In these ways, Hastings has eliminated extraneous moments of decision-making, lending a sense of givenness to the exhibition but also its need to be made. […]

Gail Hastings’ forthcoming exhibition is entitled Exhibition: To Do and will open at The Commercial on Friday, 11 April 2014, 6-8pm.

An excerpt from the exhibition record reads:

Space is generally thought of in its ideal form — as empty. Notions, such as needing space to breath, space to move, space to be free and outer space (uninhabited) point this way. In being empty, space is thought of as missing something, something that can fill it. It is why space is spoken of with such potential.

The conundrum, then, is how does one retain this potential when one makes art that creates space — an aesthetic space that is not missing something but is, instead, a something: a concrete thing?

Some time ago I was in a cafe in Melbourne, in St Kilda, enjoying a cup of coffee when I could not help but overhear two conversations on art taking place on either side of me. . .

Corner (2013), a sculptuation that spatially embodies a room’s corner, has been acquired by the National Gallery of Australia (NGA). Comprising ten components, the two watercolour components that bracket the sculptuation’s space are from the ENCYCLOPAEDIA OF ART ON PEDESTALS. Within the watercolour floor plans someone struggles to move a pedestal around the corner from storage  (first watercolour—opening bracket) to the exhibition room (second watercolour—closing bracket) along a blue striped path. At the corner the work of art falls out from this everyday art world trajectory (of moving pedestals from storage to exhibition rooms and back again) to take place in our space, the breathing space of the actual room, without a pedestal. More of Corner (please login).

Corner joins four sculptuations by Gail Hastings already in the NGS’s collection, from the 1996 limited edition 36 pages about time first exhibited at Art 1996 Chicago art fair on Navy Pier. Detailed images can be found of Encyclopaedia of Time in Art: pp. 28-30 and Encyclopaedia of Time in Art: pp. 31-33 on the NGA’s website.