SANJA PAHOKI To The Centre of The Earth and Back (Iceland)

Exhibition dates
11 October to 10 November 2012

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Sarah Scout is delighted to present To The Centre of The Earth and Back (Iceland) by Sanja Pahoki, the artist’s first solo exhibition with the gallery.

In July of this year Pahoki travelled to Germany and Scandinavia, undertaking a road trip through Iceland. This was the artist’s third visit to Scandinavia since her first studio residency in Iceland in 2008, and To The Centre of The Earth and Back (Iceland) comprises photographs taken on these recent travels.

The exhibition continues Pahoki’s exploration of the passage of time and her navigation of the distance between memory and reality. Whilst continuing the artist’s love affair with Scandanavia, the exhibition also puts truth to the adage ‘you can never go back’.

In Berlin, ‘for old time’s sake’, Pahoki visits the Berlin Zoo, expecting to find a memorial to Knut, the popular polar bear who died in his enclosure of a brain haemorrhage in 2011. Instead she finds Knut replaced by two brown bears, or as one of her photographs suggests, by people in bearsuits – as if no one might notice the difference. This disjuncture between nature and artifice that pervades Pahoki’s photographs is heightened by their installation against the highly keyed colour of the gallery walls, painted by Pahoki for the exhibition.

To The Centre of the Earth and Back (Iceland) calls to mind the opening lines of L.P. Hartley’s 1953 novel The Go-Between: ‘The past is another country: they do things differently there’. However, even while traveling through faraway places in her search for inspiration, Pahoki concedes she can only photograph what is actually there.

Sanja Pahoki uses everyday mediums to make observations around anxieties from everyday life. She completed her Master of Fine Art in 2006 at the Victorian College of the Arts (University of Melbourne) where she currently lectures in the Photography Department. Pahoki has exhibited widely both nationally and internationally including exhibitions most recently at The Substation and Lowrise Projects in Melbourne. She was a committee member of Kings Artist Run Initiative and studio artist at Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces (2007/08). In 2008 Pahoki attended a studio residency in Reykjavik, Iceland and in 2010 she returned to Scandinavia to undertake an Australia Council studio residency in Helsinki, Finland. Her most recent trip to Iceland took place in July of this year; her first visit during the middle of Summer, a time of almost perpetual daylight in Iceland.

THIS IS BEFORE THAT

Sanja Pahoki and Kiron Robinson

23 June to 16 July

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Sarah Scout is delighted to present This is Before That – an exhibition comprising new work by Melbourne based artists Sanja Pahoki and Kiron Robinson.

Both artists share an ongoing interest in existential issues such as the nature of self and the role of anxiety in everyday life (and death). They have studied together, exhibited together, worked together and their work is often conflated by its audience. For this exhibition, however, they have produced two very distinct and discrete bodies of work.

Robinson’s ongoing project ‘Used hours/wasted hours’ is a tabulation of the past 14 months of the artist’s life during which every hour of each day (other than the six hours Kiron deemed absolutely necessary for sleep or rest) has been accounted for. This accumulation acts as a totally subjective assessment of how each given day went according to the vagaries of how the artist was feeling. As with much of Robinson’s practice, this work explores the potential for quantifiable values to be attributed to our existence. It proposes shifting notions of worth and desire and acknowledges the never-ending doubt and failure inherent in such a way of being.

Pahoki’s photographs – landscapes taken while the artist was on residence in an island in Helsinki juxtaposed with studio portraits – also record the passing of time. ‘I have loved and I have been loved’ is about what connects us to this life and what gives it meaning; about having a consciousness of time passing, of people coming and going, being there and now – here. The work extrapolates the dialectic between darkness and light and, in turn, continues the artist’s personal navigation of the distance between melancholy and anxiety.

Sanja Pahoki uses everyday mediums to make observations around anxieties from everyday life. She completed her Master of Fine Art in 2006 at the VCA and has exhibited widely both nationally and internationally. Pahoki was a committee member of Kings Artist Run Initiative and studio artist at Gertrude Contemporary Artist Space (2007/08). In 2008 she attended a studio residency in Reykjavik, Iceland and, late last year, she went back to Scandinavia to undertake an Australia Council studio residency in Helsinki, Finland.

Kiron Robinson’s art is characterised by an ongoing concern with doubt. He received a Bachelor of Fine Art (Hons) from the VCA in 2004 and is currently undertaking his PhD at Monash University. Robinson has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Australia and throughout Asia, including projects in Singapore, The Phillipines and Japan. A major exhibition of his work, Encounters with the Uncanny, will be presented at Gippsland Art Gallery–Sale in July this year.

Pahoki and Robinson both currently lecture in the Photography Department at the VCA, and have participated in numerous exhibitions together, including Doubt at Conical in 2006, Polar at the Margaret Lawrence Gallery in 2007 and Hevy, which will open at Conical in August this year.

Text by Nell