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  • Leisa

Addendum; #001




: addendum; plural noun: addenda

In September 2019, Abbotsford Convent's 2019 Artist in Residence, Leisa Shelton will launch a major new work - addendum; for which she will collate, publicly display and then burn her full performance archive of 30 years continuous arts practice in Australia.


addendum; # 001.

This project has not been a long term intentional work. I did not begin years ago, keeping, collecting or gathering documents ON or around my work with the view to build an Archive. In fact it has been the opposite. With each move of office, studio, storage space I have let go of reams and reams of material. What have remained are the diverse bodies of single documents, notes, images etc, which I could not discard. For many and various reasons I could not throw them in with the thousands of other pages going into the Recycling bin.

The documents that remain I value. I have held, and I have carried them across 3 states, 14 studios/offices, 30 years.

I have been surprised at what is absent as much as what is present.

The decision in this 30th year of practice to now gather, collate and archive what remains is entirely responsive to the experience of my current work SCRIBE -

through which I have heard hundreds of people describe in exquisite detail the connection they have had with a live work and how aLIVE the work is IN this embodied archive AND a recognition that as I enter the later stage of my life, questions of legacy and what I want to leave in the world are now at the centre of a lot of my thinking and decision making around current practice.

As an artist I am more interested in creating mechanisms that can enable the memory or residue of the work we make to remain a living, continuous history, passed along by those who were there through the telling, re-telling and sharing of the experience with others.

As Australian artists our work exists within a contemporary culture with complex relationships to HIStory and a continuous denial of the deeper histories and cultural practices of passing on and sharing knowledge through oral practices of our first nations people. These ways of holding and releasing knowledge, of trusting the next generations to keep it alive and enable it to remain a living, breathing body of practice interests me and is at the heart of this current work.

It is not an act of dismissal or devaluing, it is an attempt to give this work the highest value and respect by actively trusting that if it has mattered, it matters in those who engaged with it and will continue to resonate through them – August, 20th. 2019 / Abbotsford Convent.

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