Updated: Sep 11, 2019
: 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; # 003.
every project quietly reveals itself _ everyday materials are suddenly seen and transformed from simple function into an embodied relationship between that function + their otherwise hidden aesthetic potential.
This is one of the aspects within the making process that is continuously surprising and continuously renewing.
In the early stages of addendum; I was working with various versions of archival and file boxes as the main materials for the eventual installation work _ retrospectively I can of course now name this as the bridge extending between recent work and this new work. I knew this at the time, saw that I was ‘borrowing’ from Scribe and the Archive I had made for Artshouse in 2015 – but bridges between works are often a necessary point of departure.
After a long conversation ON the work with photographer – Devika Bilimoria, I described the aesthetic I was looking for as being connected to the administrative stationary of legal documents, court case files – “documents of proof”, and SAW the previously unseen potential for the making of what I was describing lying all over my studio floor. Hundreds of emptied swing files – in and of themselves not the object I was seeking, but the diverse and often beautiful materials they were made of could be used to make them. And so the clear making processes began. Along with this now deep fascination with the many types, colors, textures and print qualities of the humble swing file, came the realisation that I had already thrown out so many excellent examples, not year knowing their value to the project.
With this, an unexpected layer of the project began. Across several month I had the pleasure of sitting alongside many filing cabinets with artists and organisations going through and selecting the “gold” within their filing systems, the exceptionally aged, gorgeously colored, unmarked on at least 2 surfaces, perfect files for my work. The conversations and points of connections that occurred through this new process have been another unforeseen but deeply pleasurable layer to this work.
These layers have confirmed for me a long held belief that our task as artists is to be open and receptive to the work, able to see its next stages, skilled to bring forth its designs and curious to meet it.
addendum; has been a slow and continuous process and the time involved has been a necessary agent for enabling the slow reveal of its elements and then the time for the very long making processes. It has been necessary time, given the content. It has been necessary time in order that the new processes and aesthetics for this work begin as I could not name them, I needed to just be with the ideas and in the work, open to when they would announce themselves – and then proceed.
In the installation room that will be open to the public from next Friday, will be hundreds of hand cut, folded, assembled folders – an organizing system for the “documents of proof” I described in February. The re-purposing of the materials that were already present, already such a part of the unintentional archival process of the last 30yrs was so obvious when I saw it, but unimaginable up until that moment.
These are the processes that continue to renew my energy to continue making work, to continue listening, seeing and being with my work and the work of other artists.