The opening weekend of the Soft Core exhibition at Shepparton Art Museum, 2-3 February, will feature an engaging and related ancillary work by Melbourne artist David Cross, which will create a performance context to the exhibition.
Visitors will be invited to participate in the work, Trio (Red, Yellow and Blue), which features inflatable, pump-powered small-scaled sculptures that encourage the audience to interact with their surroundings and strangers in unique ways.
"I want people to be aware of the complex way of dealing intimately with strangers which activates a new way of communicating, not by appearance or language but in a haptic and multi-sensory way," said Cross.
The human component to Cross' sculpture echoes a recurring theme of anthropomorphism present in many of the sculptures within the Soft Core exhibition.
Soft Core is an exhibition of newly commissioned and recent work by 13 Australian and International artists whose work questions the multi-faceted meaning of softness.
Exhibition curator Micheal Do references the work of Soft Core artist Koji Ryui in particular who appears to imbue everyday and often found objects with a distinct sense of life, personality and possibilities.
"Many of the sculptures within Soft Core address us directly. This idea of anthropomorphism refers to the uncanny sense that inanimate objects can come to life and physically interact with the viewer," Mr Do said.
Soft Core presents artistic practices that explore the many facets of -softness' - from large-scale inflatables to forms made from soft materials, to materials that simply look soft. The artists are making works that demand attention.
This exhibition includes works by 12 preeminent Australian and International artists including international superstar artist Tony Oursler; Michael Parekowhai, arguably New Zealand's most celebrated artist; Patricia Piccinini, who famously designed the Skywhale hot air balloon; and Mikala Dwyer who courted controversy for her ritualistic excrement-based performance in 2013.
In the 20th Century, artists began to disassemble the notion of traditional sculpture by adding and subtracting constructions, incorporating found objects and designating everyday items as art. These adaptive and divergent methods of form making continue today in a generation of artists who define sculpture in the negative condition: not bronze, not stone, not the macho force of the blast furnace.
The materials in this exhibition encompass air, inflatable nylon, unfired clay and plastic bags – materials that have been co-opted for their versatility and their mutability between function and emotion. Some of the works require activation – such as electricity or inflation to become whole while others inhabit their softness quietly.
The exhibition is accompanied by a comprehensive soft-form catalogue featuring newly commissioned writing on each of the exhibition artists by significant institutional and independent writers including Justin Paton, Lisa Slade, Anna Davis, Jason Smith, Russell Storer, Georgina Cole, Francis E Parker, Vanessa Berry, Robert Leonard and Victoria Lynn.