Merilyn Fairskye - 100

Exhibition: 19 August to 19 September, 2009

Merilyn Fairskye

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In this exciting new video work 100 Merilyn Fairskye continues her longstanding interest in the relationship between the still and the moving image. As in her most recent works, Stati D'Animo (2005-07) and Aqua (2007) time and duration are explored in different ways.

The title of the exhibition refers to the expected lifetime of 100 years of a replacement containment shell about to be built over Reactor 4 at Chernobyl in the Ukraine. Three new works feature projections on various surfaces. Filmed in diverse locations, the work explores some of the central challenges of contemporary life, such as the workable coexistence between people, technology and the environment.

In Fieldwork I each large screen panoramic image appears static until, over time, subtle movement becomes visible. The featured locations are, the Three Sisters at Echo Point (Katoomba, Australia), Menkaure's Pyramid at Giza, (Egypt) and Pripyat, looking across to Reactor 4 in Chernobyl (Ukraine). Each of these places is enveloped by myths (a false Dreamtime legend about three sisters was created in 1942 to boost tourism in the Blue Mountains), denials (a steel and concrete shell was built after the Chernobyl disaster to contain the radiation) and absences.

In Fieldwork II Fairskye draws a direct connection to one of the locations in Fieldwork I. Employing a handheld tracking shot from a taxi window she videos a long row of abandoned houses on the road into Chernobyl which are still contaminated by radiation. She slows down this footage significantly with a software program creating an optical illusion. We see an endless array of the toxic houses covered in snow, like ghostly white mirages awaiting a more permanent burial.

Aqua/ocean (a two screen diptych) depicts water, a recurring motif in Fairskye's work. People (surfers) are immersed in different bodies of ocean. A rainbow arches across an overcast sky. A boat moves in and out of frame. Suggestions and associations are set up between all of the works that trigger enquiry and reverie, a favorite methodology of the artist.

Fairskye's work has been widely exhibited within galleries and digital media events in Australia and internationally. She continues to be a forerunner in her technological exploration of the medium. Her practice has encompassed public artwork, video installations, films and photo-based works. She currently teaches at Sydney College of the Arts, where she is Associate Dean, Research.