3 February 2023 - 23 April 2023
Artist(s): Arben Dzika, Arthur Nyakuengama, Corin Corcoran, Eilish Hazell, FAFSWAG, Kieran Butler, Roshan Ramesh, and Tom Bourke.
Location: Main Gallery
Infinite Pleasures explores the arcs, beats and spaces that house LGBTQIA+ communities. Through architecture, art, design, fashion, and music, this group exhibition brings together polyphonic textures and pluralistic structures that revel in the armatures we embrace our queer selves.
Infinite Pleasures considers how a culmination of civic, domestic and digital platforms can offer sensual, sensory, and experimental space for convalescence, play, and pleasure. The creative practitioners presented within this exhibition each consider the boundaries, limitations and futurities of queer spaces through sonic, virtual, and visual conveyance. Ranging from avatars and armour, furniture and text, sirens and dance, they build upon the past and imagine futures to yield pulsing portals of ecstasy and transformation.
Infinite Pleasures is presented through Midsumma Festival’s keynote program, Safe(R) Spaces.
Arben Dzika is a self-taught, interdisciplinary practitioner currently based in Melbourne. Through his practice he employs aesthetic codes of fashion, design, art and music as meditation on meaning-making and cultural relevance. His work also extends into the field of music as a producer and score writer.
Arthur Nyakuengama is an artist living and working in Naarm (Melbourne). They have recently completed their Honours year at the VCA, where they also studied their Bachelor of Fine Arts. Prior to studying art, they trained as a designer which has left them with an unshakable love of grids and typographic minutiae. They work with the material languages of queerness, drawing from homewares, fashion, and kink. Working primarily in textiles, they extract and manipulate potent features from queer dress into art objects which explore and expand upon their origins and functions. Their work has been shown in group exhibitions at Gallery 17, Trocadero Art Space, and Hares and Hyenas.
Corin Corcoran is a queer First Nations (Weilwan) multidisciplinary artist and designer based in Naarm. Corin's work re-contextualises and explores notions of trauma, healing, and raw expressions of the innate self. Utilising recycled, repurposed, used and distressed objects as a direct symbology of these themes, she creates beauty from that which is usually considered waste. She uses her art as a way to understand and explain past experiences of trauma and struggles with mental health, whilst drawing connections to Country through stories of dreaming and the contemporary Indigenous experience within Australia.
Eilish Hazell is an emerging queer artist, performer and self taught tattooist practicing in Naarm (Melbourne). Primarily, their work operates with the belief that tattooing is a transgressive and transformative experience with the subversive power to turn suffering and subjection into pleasure and excess. While the body becomes subject to social classification, Eilish uses body modification through performance as a means of deconstructing and re-inscribing identity. Since acting on the body allows for self-fashioning and self-narration in ways that oppose biological or sociological essentialism, Eilish explores the radical potential of tattooing as a means of personal queer liberation. They are interested in works of performance that facilitate an exchange of intimacy between performer and viewer, foster both physical and digital safe spaces and enable collective healing through acts of generosity and openness.
FAFSWAG is an arts collective of Māori and Pacific LGBTQI+ artists and activists founded in Auckland, New Zealand in 2013. They explore and celebrate the unique identity of gender fluid Pacific people and LGBTQI+ communities in multi-disciplinary art forms. Founded by Pati Solomona Tyrell and Tanu Gago in 2013, FAFSWAG are committed to social change; they challenge the lack of Indigenous LGBTQI+ representation in creative industries and they articulate through their art projects the fluid gender spectrum in Pacific culture. The collective's name is a portmanteau between fa'afafine (a Samoan word meaning third gender, or non-binary gender) and swag. Inspired by New York Ball culture, FAFSWAG's goal is to "celebrate Queer Brown bodies, contemporary Pacific arts, and cultural restoration."
Kieran Butler is an artist, designer, and arts worker. Their practice spans across fashion, graphic design, performance, photography, text, and textiles. Kieran seeks to examine the intersections of photography, environmentalism, and patchwork techniques within an ace-enby-trans framework. Their work reflects on themes of queer identity and familial histories. As accompanied by experiences of intimacy, vulnerability, self-awareness, love, desire, and grief. Ultimately, their practice seeks to contribute to the growing literature on ace-enby-trans lived experiences. Resources that were not readily accessible to them as a young person. They live and work on Wangal Land.
Roshan Ramesh is drawn to the world of the imagination and the realm of the mystical. Inspired by the rich visual fantasies of their Hindu upbringing, Roshan seeks to incorporate these influences into their work through a contemporary design lens. They are interested in how the use of soft edges and glowing colours can be manipulated to add wonder and mystery to an image. By blending and blurring the lines between different forms, Roshan aims to create a sense of fluidity and openness that invites the viewer to interpret the artwork in a multitude of ways. Through their work Roshan hopes to evoke feelings of magic and transcendence that is inherent to South Asian spirituality.
Tom Bourke wouldn’t say that his work is or ever will be one particular thing. Instead, he combines mediums to create a sense of atmosphere and space, the very thing that he as a queer person, has felt he lacked whilst growing into a true identity. Primarily utilising sculpture and sound, Tom's practice moulds and formulates a combination of materials to create an emotive and sensory experience, with a particular focus on the installation of work and other elements such as lighting design. In recent years, he has begun adding performance into his practice, which he sees as a therapeutic decision. As Tom says of performance, "I’m filling the space with these sounds that I have constructed, that act as a scream so loud it fills every inch of space in these walls, and help me reclaim that space I, and so many other queer people deserve."
Sonic performance by Tom Bourke
Friday, 3 February, from 7:10pm
Join us on the opening night of Infinite Pleasures with a sonic performance by artist Tom Bourke. Activating his installation Tension Denial within the exhibition, this performance acts as a cathartic score for the artist, demonstrating anguish and healing through queer reclamation in public space.
"Growing up Queer, I always felt as though I never took up any space due to the enforced censorship I pressed on myself to feel and stay safe. Even now as an openly and proud queer person, there’s times where I have felt so small and powerless. This performance is a release of emotion and memory, from soothing piano recordings, to aggressive anti-rhythmic noise.
Living as a Queer people, we are constantly reminded of the cruelty of the world. This performance is my way of healing; blurring out and screaming back to fill the space that we as queer people deserve"