Dust was gathered from around Mildura - a town on the edge of Australia's red desert, and from previous exhibitions, to form a decorative installation in the corners of a gallery. A performance took place, in which the artwork was dusted. The verb 'to dust' is circular. It means both to cover with a fine powder and to remove dust from a surface. In this performance the decorative dust work on the floor of the gallery was dusted over with two sieves,whilst at the same time the long train of the costume swept up the dust.
Performance: To Dust
Almost always already
Dust gathered from Melbourne Artists Studios, glass shelves, shadows and reflections. 2014
An Ordinary Kind of Ornament
An Ordinary Kind of Ornament is an ongoing series of installations in which dust is transformed into ornamental carpets. Beginning in 2007, Hannah has completed more than 15 temporary editions of this work in Australia, USA, Hong Kong, and Singapore ranging in size from 2x3m to 5x7m. The dust used has been collected from streets, sheds, vacuum cleaners, studios, prison cells and museum basements. No adhesive is used in the process so accidental footsteps, curious fingers and insects can effect the work. For images of the deterioration see the 'Entropy' menu.
The objective of the work is to explore the possibility of preciousness within the incidental. By symbolically using the language of ornament - which simultaneously adds value and is functionally superfluous, it seeks to highlight the ambiguity of preciousness. The fragile and temporal existence of the work shifts the value of the object to the transient realm of experience and to focus on the preciousness inherent in the everyday.
An Ordinary Kind of Ornament, Philadelphia
Eastern State Penitentiary, Historic Site, Philadelphia. Dust collected from prison cell.
similar in its make up to dust, comes about at a greater, more dramatic speed.
It may remind us of the comfort and warmth of a hearth, or the terror and
devastation of a bush fire. Like dust, ash is the final trace, the last remains
of something which has passed, the remains of matter which have been
transformed towards nothing.
Now they are gone, I hold them, is an ongoing series which has been exhibited in
Melbourne and New York. The work uses ash from bushfires, and rain or melted
snow to clean patterns into the ash.
An edition of An Ordinary Kind or Ornament was
produced in Hong Kong using ash from Australian bush fires
and incense ash collected from The Man Mo Temple.
In 2013 Hannah was awarded the Australia Council for the Arts
SOHO studio in New York for 3 months. During this time she created 2 new
ambitious temporary wall works, hosted a salon series titled 'Use this space'
for local and Australian ex-pat artists to show works in progress, and had her
2nd solo show in New York thanks to Chashama.
On returning from New York, Hannah was awarded the Artecycle
Environmental Art Award for her work 'Emerging From and Disappearing
Towards Nothing'. The ephemeral piece was created by collecting dust, ash and
dirt from the historic Incinerator complex which now houses the Moonee Valley
Council gallery. You can view at the bottom of this page an interview that
expands on the production and content of the work.
In September Hannah will give a lecture at Punkt in Kristiansand, Norway, followed
closely by a 2 month residency in November and December at Nordisk Kunstnarsenter Dale
Click on the image above to see Hannah talking about her work for Artecycle
Throughout her practice Hannah employ's worthless materials,
decoration, absence and temporality to question preciousness. Materials such as
dust, ash, dirty water and grime are resurrected from detritus into decoration.
Some installations however use even less than this, they employ absence, processes
of taking material away, working with nothing. The removal of materials through
washing, scrubbing, erasing, pricking, cutting and sweeping are actions that
allow absence/non-material to be equally as important as the presence of
Installations such as The Wonder of Rare Experience are created by hammering pins and nails into the wall to make small holes which create a complex ornate patterns.
The visual nature of
the work is extremely subtle. Standing in the middle of the room you cannot see the work. The viewer must move towards,
away and pass closely alongside the wall in order for the pattern to be
revealed, in this way the work also the work is
An important aspect of Hannah's work is its temporary nature. Her ephemeral installations seek to honour the passing of
time and yield to the fluidity of a work coming into being and disappearing.
This concept is closely linked to the Japanese philosophy and aesthetic Wabi
the scientific understanding of entropy. Wabi Sabi is the acceptance of growth,
decay and death as an integral part of living. In all things it acknowledges
the march of time and the transient nature of our lives and of the material
world. In this, deterioration is affirmed as an inescapable part of life which
should be accepted and embraced, whereas permanence is considered to be only an
illusion. Entropy also explains the measure of disorder within a system and
within these fleeting works entropy highlights the artwork not as a fixed
object, but a process which is vulnerable to the effects of touch, weather and
most importantly the unavoidable process of time passing.
'Almost Always Already' 2015
Dust collected from artists studios.
The Poetry of Transformation
The Poetry of Transformation is a series in which the
material is lifted from an object then reconstructed in a decorative form on that same object. Examples of this are: pealing paint from furniture, cutting the paint into patterns and repositioning it around the item; sanding furniture then using the dust to create patterns on the furniture.