Eleanor Duffin and Susan Jacobs share an interest in the transformative possibilities of materials as well as the latent potential of both site and context. Their two-person exhibition at Sarah Scout Presents brings their various material experiments into focus, through sculpture, drawing, sound and installation as they respond to the gallery’s domestically scaled spaces and architectural features. Antwerp-based Irish artist Duffin returns to Australia for this collaborative exhibition following a residency at Gertrude Contemporary in 2013, while Melbourne-based Jacobs will leave Melbourne directly afterwards as the sole Australian artist invited into this year’s 32nd Bienal de São Paulo, titled ‘Incerteza Viva’ or Live Uncertainty.
Oscillating between the domestic and the alchemical, Eleanor Duffin’s works are predominantly sculptural in nature and are characterised by the tension between materiality and form. Duffin employs a process of speculative questioning that draws influence from disparate ideas and anecdotes within anthropology, literature, metaphysics and scientific history. For this exhibition she continues her interest in the mineral properties common to both clay and the human body, and in particular ‘geophangia’; the ancient practice of consuming clay. Taking as her starting point a fictional text titled The bird with the human tongue Duffin will create new work comprising sculptural forms of unfired clay that gesture towards disembodiment.
Susan Jacobs’ works evolve through contingency, between material experimentation and discursive research. Spanning drawing, sculpture, video and site-responsive installation, her practice considers the nuances of physical forces and material properties in relation to psychological and spatial dynamics. For this exhibition she presents a series of layered graphite drawings made cumulatively between 2013-16, framed under slumped glass. Through numerous layers, erasures and re-workings, they suggest traces that are both physical and vaporous. Alongside these drawings is a new sculptural work that acts as a personal memorial to a combination of elusive sensations; a heightened awareness of ingestion, loss and inertia.