Bridget Currie is fascinated by meadows. The artist describes the archetypal meadow, characterised by grasses, wildflowers, insects and crawlers, as “a very horizontal space that’s layered and interdependent.” In this humble environment, she explains, “everything has its own ecosystem or niche. It’s intertwined and entangled, and many, many, many organisms form the whole.” Currie contrasts the non-hierarchical space of the meadow to the art-historical idea of ‘figure and ground’, where the landscape is relegated to a backdrop for a human focal point, rather than existing in and of itself.
In her exhibition, delivered as the inaugural recipient of ACE Open’s Porter Street Commission, Currie immerses visitors in a slow and attentive space, redolent of the meadow’s intertwined ecology. Organic sculptural forms are held on specially-designed furniture, including a chaise longue that invites visitors to sit or recline. An intimate four-channel sound work, played on individual devices, consists of instructional texts whispered in soothing ASMR tones.
There are also, Currie says, “a lot of slugs”—a recurring motif in her work. “Such a defenceless being,” she explains. “Just that pure sensitivity: their whole body is a mucus membrane.” Here, slugs writhe through Currie’s new film soft insides, along with hands, sculptures and babies. “The human brain, when it’s an infant, is not differentiated into ‘my’ personhood and ‘your’ personhood and exterior environment and the self,” the artist explains. “It’s still pre-self.” These boundaries between self and other—heightened, diminished, overlapping—lie at the heart of what the artist is gently teasing out, through an immersive work that seeps through our own bodily edges.
Bridget Currie’s exhibition is part of the SALA Festival.
Message from the meadow
16 July—4 September
This article was originally published in the July/August 2021 print edition of Art Guide Australia.