Simone Slee makes work that has its origins in sculpture, producing installations, photographs, videos and objects that have a performative outcome or potential. Failure, humour and vulnerability continue to emerge as key concerns in her practice; her sculptures fail and fall over, others exist for just a moment as sculptural-thought-bubbles in space. Indeed, space – private, public and institutional – provides the context in which her sculptural gestures are performed. Through this practice she has invented a neologism ‘abfunction ‘to describe the unexpected or surprising functions and effects of objects or actions in art (in contrast to concepts of multifunction or dysfunction). While earlier works derived from the deployment of her own body in relation to space, time and objects, Slee’s practice over the past decade has constituted a negotiation of the problems and questions raised by sculpture – and Modernism – more broadly. Such questions as ‘How can a sculpture stand up?’, ‘What shape should a sculpture be?’ are posed and then tested in Slee’s work, generating effects of absurdity, embarrassment, instability and endurance.
SIMONE SLEE completed her PhD in 2017 at the School of Art, Faculty of VCA and MCM, University of Melbourne, where she is also the Head of Sculpture & Spatial Practice. She attended the Staedelschule, Frankfurt am Main (2004–06), after being awarded the Anne and Gordon Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarship (2004). She has a Masters of Arts (Research) from RMIT University (2002), a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art (Sculpture) from the Victorian College of the Arts (1995), and Bachelor of Applied Science (Landscape Architecture) from RMIT (1988), Melbourne. Simone has exhibited throughout Australia and internationally in India and Germany. In 2012 she presented a solo exhibition, How long, at the India Art Fair, New Delhi, India. Her work, Houses that are happy to help with at least one of the possible problems of art, (2010) was exhibited at Atelier Frankfurt, Frankfurt am Main and recent exhibitions include at the Margaret Lawrence Gallery, University of Melbourne (2015); Centre for Contemporary Photography (2013); Horsham Regional Gallery (2012); Melbourne City Square (2010); Portikus and the Museum Giersch, Frankfurt am Main (2005) and the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (2003).