Hosted at Compendium Gallery, 909 High Street, Armadale VIC.
Exhibited from Saturday 10 December 2022 to Saturday 21st January 2023
(Closed from 18th December 2022 and re-opening 10th January 2023)
Text by Ashley Crawford
For just over a decade the NotFair (as in Not the Art Fair) has continued to reappear like a guerrilla army. With no central base it reconstitutes itself in shells of deserted buildings ranging from Richmond to Collingwood to the CBD. With its rag-tag brigade of brilliant but largely under-exposed artists it has converted an abandoned margarine factory and then a deconsecrated church in quick succession in Windsor. And now a foray in a tattoo parlour in Armadale. Somehow it works, launching careers and introducing new names into the scene. But it is an unusual beast.
Calling a show Glossolalia is a case in point. A rather archaic term otherwise known as Speaking in Tongues, it is a practice in which people utter words or speech-like sounds, often thought by believers to be languages unknown to the speaker in states of ecstatic belief, practised especially by Pentecostal and charismatic Christians who are presumably not under the influence of lysergic acid. But it has also been used to describe rock’n’roll lyrics (think Iron Butterfly’s ‘In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida’) and utilised by postmodern authors ranging from William Gibson to Blake Butler.
But if there is an elegiac tone to this exhibition it stems from its inclusion of the late and great Bernhard Sachs to whom the exhibition is dedicated. Sachs was a participant in the very first NotFair 12 years ago and was highly supportive of its mission throughout. But as a teacher he remained extremely wary of recommending his students to the NotFair curators, fearing accusations of personal bias. This wariness would finally break when he insisted NotFair get behind the youthful Darren Tanny Tan who is included in Glossolalia. Bernhard Sachs passed away earlier this year.
So why is this NotFair titled Glossolalia? All visual artists are as much storytellers as authors or filmmakers, the difference is that their language is often more obscure, abstruse or abstract than the average book or film (although there are, of course, exceptions.) And this exhibition has many moments where one can imagine David Attenborough directed by David Cronenberg or Gray’s Anatomy re-written by William S. Burroughs. But there are, to be sure, stories behind or within every drawing, painting, sculpture, photograph or any other media used. It is just that many come in the form of a glossolalia. A case in point would be Bernhard Sachs.
Main Gallery Installation
Back Gallery Installation