Photos: Silversalt, Josh Raymond, Fiona McGregor
Water Series was an accumulative exhibition. With photomedia of two prior works in place from the beginning, each live work then left an installation which contained traces of the performance. These took the form of materials affected by the body, and water – mainly salt. Also tattooing and infusion detritus in the case of Water #2.
All three live works used objects and sculptural elements, such as the fountain and gutter in Water #3, the table and latex bladder in Water #1, which transformed over the weeks of the exhibition as the water evaporated, creating patterns with salt.
The choice of materials was largely determined by a desire for the work to leave as little behind as possible. The distillation of ideas was echoed by an imperative of minimal environmental impact.
During the course of research, including travel through the outback to the desert around Kati Thanda (Lake Eyre), in a rare time of flood, I came to see salt as an opposite of water. A substance used to preserve life, but also one which kills, particularly in the context of the Australian landscape. The salt used in Water Series was sourced from Mildura, at the junction of the Murray & Darling Rivers. The harvesting of gourmet pink river salts alleviates the destructive effects of salinity.
Two of the installations also contained trace videos. These, with the corpus delicti of the materials, archive the body only recently here, and its duress in these extended encounters with water. Struck by it, marked by it, consuming and expelling it to excess.
Long after the last performance, the imprint remains.
**Shortly after my trip to Kati Thanda, the site was returned to the traditional owners, the Arabana. I acknowledge elder Reg Dodd, for his generous hospitality, and all traditional owners of these lands, past and present.**