Adele Sliuzas

Green rats, fungal blooms and other curious things

Adele Sliuzas is an emerging South Australian artist, curator and writer. Attempting to draft a brief summary of Adele’s prolific practice is bit overwhelming…where to start? Adele is adamant – her writing is her art practice. Her engagement with arts writing, commitment to ‘developing dialogue about contemporary art practice’[1] and quirky aesthetic sensibility inform everything she does. Writing, sound and the visual arts intersect in her exhibitions, installations and performances. Dynamic and interactive, her practice incorporates collaborative projects, internships, mentoring others, and contributing to discussion groups, artist talks and symposia. Her enthusiasm for artist run initiatives (ARI) – from spaces to zines – is infectious.

Adele graduated with a Bachelor of Visual Arts degree majoring in History and Theory from the School of Art, Architecture & Design, at the University of South Australia (UniSA) in 2011. While still a student she sought out opportunities that would enable her to extend her art practice and gain curatorial experience. Adele was one of the founding members of the Green Rat Collective that brought together several art theory and history students with the common goal of placing ‘arts writing at the forefront of artistic practice.’[2] One of their projects in 2012 involved staging a performance and installation titled Blood, Sweat and Theory in the foyer of the SASA Gallery. Each day one of the group would sit at a small wooden desk typing incessantly on an old manual typewriter. The familiar staccato sound reverberated through the space and the unedited stream of consciousness musings about art and writing accumulated on scrolls of white paper that unfurled across on the floor.

In 2012, amongst other things, Adele held the position of Curator of the Carclew Foyer Gallery; and participated in the inaugural Emerging Curators Intensive at 4A led by Qiu Zhijie. She was selected for the Arts SA Emerging Curators Program that culminated in the exhibition Take Care; and she curated the exhibitions The Beginning of the End at Format Gallery and Disappearance at Paper String Plastic Gallery.

As a SASA Gallery intern in 2012 and 2013 Adele co-curated, with Sundari Carmody, Madeline Reece and Ursula Halpin, the SASA Gallery’s Project Spaces. The curatorial model they established was impressive and, attesting to its success, the program of experimental new artwork is on-going.

In 2013 Adele undertook a mentorship with Christine Morrow and Fulvia Mantelli and was subsequently invited to curate a major exhibition at the Australian Experimental Art Foundation (AEAF). Bloom-space, launched in May 2013, included artwork by Roy Ananda, Julian Day, Will French, Lisa Harms and Carla Liesch. Adele wrote that the exhibition ‘explores the territory that blooms in the instant of encounter. Like an underground fungal bloom, affective relations silently grow between artworks, spaces, artists and viewers.’[3] Things proliferated in the gallery space, yet simultaneously they seemed to be in the process of dissolution or poised on the brink of collapse. A text on paper fragmented and its meaning became increasingly allusive the more one read it; dioramas of tiny objects were submerged in stagnant water and partially obscured by algae; two wooden ladders, upturned and splayed, unsettled the space around them; a damp mound of dirt was carpeted with green grass; a flat plane made of octagonal components hovered at an acute angle with minimal apparent means of support; and two electronic keyboards pinned precariously to opposite walls by steel rods emitted an incessant and monotonous noise. Adele extended Bloom-space with a ‘buddy’ program whereby interstate artists were matched-up with local artists who helped out with the install and introduced them to the local scene. The pairing of Riley O’Keeffe and Julian Day resulted in an extra performance staged at the exhibition launch in which, starting from silence, each artist depressed single keys of two electric keyboards with metal weights, slowly and deliberately building up layers of sound until they created a discordant cacophony of sound.

As well as actively developing her own practice, Adele has brought critical attention to other emerging artists and curators. She has written numerous catalogue essays and reviews for arts publications including Fivethousand, db magazine, Artlink and the zine Pointblank. She also initiated the Critical Reading Group and meets with others interested in arts writing once a month at AEAF.

Along with Sundari Carmody and Alex Lofting, Adele is a founding Director of Grid Projects the newest ARI in Adelaide. Grid Projects, is ‘committed to promoting South Australian emerging artists through exhibitions, events and publications’[4]. It has already made an impact. The first project for 2014 titled Grid Festival involves collaborating with other ARIs in Adelaide. It will present and celebrate only emerging and unrepresented artists in order to offer ‘an alternative viewpoint to the Adelaide Festival including the Adelaide Biennial and Adelaide International, and Adelaide Fringe.’[5]

Most recently, Adele has been appointed the position of Assistant Curator at the Jam Factory – a great opportunity for an emerging South Australian artist, curator and writer with so much curiosity and drive. Green rats and fungal blooms…what will she bring to our attention next?

 

Dr Mary Knights

Director SASA Gallery, UniSA, January 2014

 


[1] Adele Sliuzas, Adele Sliuzas website, www.adelesliuzas.com/about-me, accessed January 2014.

[2] Adele Sliuzas, Adele Sliuzas website, www.adelesliuzas.com/about-me, accessed January 2014.

[3] Adele Sliuzas, Bloom-space, AEAF gallery floorsheet, Adelaide: AEAF, 2013.

[4] Sundari Carmody, Alex Lofting, Adele Sliuzas, ‘The Grid Festival’, www.gridprojectsari.com, accessed January 2014.

[5] Sundari Carmody, Alex Lofting, Adele Sliuzas, ‘The Grid Festival’, www.gridprojectsari.com, accessed January 2014.