Nostalgia for the Future
Fiona Amundsen, Stella Brennan, Julian Dashper, Mikala Dwyer, Guy Ngan, Jim Speers
Curated by Stella Brennan
5 - 27 November 1999
The tarmac is empty, the departure lounges silent. The air is stale. There are no lines or officials at the turnstiles. Inside the plane stewardesses keep up appearances, but alarm grows with every vacant minute ... A Boeing-full slipped through the present into the minute just gone, jetlagged into the gap between memory and sensation; as the moment hits the wet electrics of your brain. First class and economy passengers thrown together in some vintage fight-or-flight situation, alpha males jockeying for position. The end is not clear—I cannot recall whether the passengers perish or simply drift into disappearance—lost in thanatoid space.
Nostalgia is a false memory of the past that makes the future bearable. Stella Brennan's paradoxical title—Nostalgia for the Future—promises nostalgic pleasure yet snatches it away. The show encompasses retro notions of the future embedded in things as disparate as foyer decor and civil engineering. Mikala Dwyer's Iffytown evokes an ideal future cityscape rendered in brightly coloured PVC pipe, perspex. and a Danish designer lamp; Jim Speers' dethroned Honeywell lightbox triptych provides benificient corporate efflorurescence; Julian Dashper conflates Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock, and decor with Floral Poles, a painting made of readymade canvas. Two pieces refer to Artspace's environs: Fiona Amundsen's deserted morning-after photos of the Southern Motorway, built in the 1970s just behind Artspace, and Guy Ngan's early 1970s ultra-moderne aluminium mural, which originally hung in the Post Office downstairs.