What do you do?
I guess at the moment I’m making sculptures. I’ve just finished my honours year at the South Australian School of Art. I make sculpture with materials that I feel a strong aesthetic attraction to. And I’m really interested in particularly kind of feminist and girly and feminine aesthetic tropes that I like to work with in the work but I’m more interested in their gestural possibilities in a sculptural format.
What inspires you?
Umm, pop culture, definitely. There’s a cartoon from the 80’s (called Jem) that I started watching sort of at the start of my honours year and it slowly filtered its way into my final paper and body of work. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jem_(TV_series). There’s an interesting cyber-punk element to the tv show amongst all these girly themes. So I was really interested in those kind of collapses between girly and feminine topics…and stuff, and things that could be feminist. Which then draw me to different materials that I feel could be plucked out of those kinds of TV shows and tropes. Probably, as derivative as it sounds, grabbing holographic material after watching a TV show that’s exclusively about holograms [laughs]; so, you know grab that, and pink, and glittery plastic.
Do you have a favourite piece?
There was one piece from my third year I really liked. It was called…well I’ll get to that. It consisted of a porcelain vagina that I sculpted from a picture from a pornographic magazine, and I was playing around with it and I turned it upside down, and realised that the hood became quite a nice turret I suppose, like a balcony almost. And, I had this broken glitter globe that had a little fairy in it, only about a cm tall, but there was this little fairy just hands on her hips sitting in her little kingdom and with a little stick, I knocked her off, and glued her to the turret, put the vagina straight on the wall and put a round frame over the top and then I called it, Kingdom..
What was the creative process behind Kingdom?
So from lots of different pictures and drawings I would eventually make a hand built sculpture of a vagina and fire it and then I would fire it again with a little clear glaze on the lips to attempt a kind of realism and then put it in contrast with something that’s not real, like a fairy and something that’s so small and not to scale at all. It was lucky, the vaginas in the fire ended up shrinking to almost life size, so that was a fun happy accident. I remember purposely making them 10 to 20 percent bigger so that when they did shrink it could almost not dwarf it, not make it look like a caricature because I was trying to attempt that realism that I had been searching for, I just didn’t make an effort to [laughs] until I realised, maybe it is important that it actually does look like a real vagina because I’m going to be putting it with other objects and turning it upside down, so it’s a little bit unrecognisable again. So, I was also interested in also looking at the vagina as not just a didactic image, and that it could be represented in different ways. Which sort of gave way to my more sculptural practice this year.
Is that a common theme that you find in your work?
Maybe it’s more so other people that are familiar with my work, they’ll say ‘is this one a vagina, Lauren?’, you know, and sometimes I say ‘well yes, it could be’ because there are obvious vaginal connotations in some of these works, the way that they fold or the way that they’re wet looking, or they might be pink, but, you know, uber pink, or uber shiny, or uber wet. These kinds of almost camp images of the vagina or a hyper femininity that I like to play with.
When do you find yourself being most creative?
I think when I’m buying my materials, or looking at materials, or playing with materials, like I find it very difficult to sit down and plan an art work. I feel like I’m a bit more open to planning ideas or open to sitting down and thinking about it once I have materials that are really like ‘BAM’, I want that one that one’s really gorgeous and, I need that. Whilst they’re all different materials, I like them to read as one object. I’m interested in a lot of abstract paintings and the idea of composition and problem solving and balancing. So, I think of that when I’m making sculpture, it’s almost like a painting than a sculpture.
What do you hope happens in the next year?
I’d like to have another exhibition, do some volunteering maybe hang out with some high school kids and help out, and I’d like get a studio space.
What tools do you use?
Textile materials, forms of plastic, porcelain, clay, random objects: figurines, plaster animals, and toys, cases and frames, and bells jars, and more…
What constitutes as your first piece?
I feel like this piece that we’re standing before is one of my first pieces, I’ve called it Only the Beginning so I guess that’s appropriate; and Kingdom was almost the pre-cursor, so I’ve sort of fine-tuned what I was looking at. I’ve called it Only the Beginning after a Jem song because it’s the first Jem song I’d ever heard, and my favourite Jem song.
Where can we find your stuff?
The SASA gallery which is in the Kaurna building at the UniSA City West campus, until the 18th of December.
You can contact Lauren Abineri via: