Using a mixture of found materials and artifacts that trigger the process of rearranging, Flemington’s installation constructs an imagined space through specimen gardens of obsolete objects. The exhibition will consist of a site-specific installation that draws from Flemington's personal collections, as well as those found at the AGSM and other local institutions. The constant organic rearrangement of these found objects will continue throughout the exhibition, continually creating new habitats and contexts. These specimen gardens suggest a vanishing world in which all the pieces - utilitarian and imaginary, familiar and strange – once had a purpose. Their rearrangement within the installation speaks to traditions of preservation and display, from cabinets of curiosity to natural history museums, where material traces are kept preserved and on display, and where passage of time is traced through the shifts between familiarity and strangeness, balancing between recognition and nostalgia.
David McMillan has been traveling to Chernobyl and Pripyat, Ukraine, since 1994 to photograph the 30-kilometre contaminated zone around the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant after a reactor meltdown in 1986 left the city uninhabitable. McMillan’s haunting images depict a city simultaneously suspended in time and undergoing constant change. As statues of Lenin and evidence of Soviet rule continue to adorn the walls of schools and government buildings, the growth of vegetation and crumbling architecture is gradually erasing the referents that have shaped the city's memory. Chernobyl and Pripyat are cities left in a state of constant flux, with time made tangible through the spaces re-photographed year after year. Meanwhile, photographs of found arrangements of objects and vegetation on the crumbling buildings’ floors create an aesthetic space between growth and decay, suggesting layered assemblages.
Barb Flemington, Studio Installation, mixed media, 2013, photograph by Kevin Bertram, image courtesy of the artist.
David McMillan, Lobby, Children's Hospital, Pripyat, 2012, inkjet print, image courtesy of the artist.