Reviews

Rating : 3 stars

Review: Only the Penitent Shall Pass, Rosny Farm (TAS)

Swiss dancer Nicole Morel delivers tactile engagement with Andrew Hustwaite’s installation.
Review: Only the Penitent Shall Pass, Rosny Farm (TAS)

Andrew Hustwaite's Cloud Umbrella (2019). Photo: Rosny Farm Arts Centre.

Clarence Council, partnering with Dark Mofo, presents the seventh in a series of unique offerings in the Barn at Rosny Farm. Melbourne-based artist Andrew Hustwaite presents an intriguing installation, and for a feature evening event, he is joined by Swiss choreographer and dancer Nicole Morel, alongside local and interstate musicians.

Warmed by the fire pots in the courtyard, we enter the stone solidity of the 200-year-old barn. Navigating through the smoky dimness, the sloping floor leads the eye from one end to the other. First the musicians, Richie Cyngler, Sab Evans and Michael Goodfellow explore their responses to the space, while patrons sit or lie back on the long central matting.

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The space is promoted as an anarchic playground with things to spin, push, turn and climb. Occasionally someone will crank a wheel or wind up a device setting off a cacophony of movement within Hustwaite’s machine-like kinetic sculptures. Any sound they emit is masked by the music, but the wind and visual disturbance they create as they spin is delightful. Intriguingly random kinetic patterns emanate from manipulated structures hanging from the roof and the wall. In the lowest corner a structure, composed of tetrahedral modules and resembling a playground frame, entices children and adults to climb to its summit up in the rafters. There are no restrictions to how the audience can engage with the installation and many take advantage of the offer.

Enter Morel, and the interior is then formalised into a performance space with the audience standing around the edges. As we wait for the prone figure to move, we notice new tactile elements of fur, fabric and metal, but it is only the dancer who can play with them.

In the first of her explorations, Morel evolves from a reptilian position into a curious insect-like creature. Fluffy propellers – which the program ensures us are not toxic despite being impregnated with heavy metals from a disused factory – circle above her head. The program indicates that anyone donning this wearable is meant to look ‘ridiculous’, but Morel wears the device with grace and the subtleties of her torso activate the machine in intriguing ways. Similarly, there is a strong relationship between the geometric structure hanging above and Morel’s focus on articulating various points of contact with the floor. This connection promises much for the rest but is the strongest section of the work.

The next manipulations seem more forced with props placed in ways that make for awkward transitions. The rotor blade, which we saw used quite inventively in a video in the foyer, is merely used to run up and down the length of the space. On to the next prop, and the interaction is even more predictable.

From this point on, Morel’s explorations move her back around each sculptural piece. Transitions between the music tracks do not always correlate with a change in mood or exploratory theme and there is an increasing sense of repetition until the final section which reengages with the now mobile structure above.

3 stars out of 5 ★★★

Only the Penitent Shall Pass
Installation by Andrew Hustwaite (Melbourne)
Choreographer/Dancer: Nicole Morel (Switzerland)
Musicians: Richie Cyngler, Sab Evans, Michael Goodfellow
15 June 2019 (exhibition 1-30 June 2019)
The Barn at Rosny Farm, Rosny Park TAS
Tickets $15 for performance, exhibition free.

Lesley Graham

Tuesday 18 June, 2019

About the author

Lesley Graham has been active in dance and dance education for over 30 years, and has previously written for The Mercury and Dance Australia.