Miriam Austin: Andesite
Opening: 9 December, 12 – 8pm
9 December 2020 – 30 October 2021
Bosse & Baum, London
The exploitation of the
earth gives birth to two children: the widow Annie Kelly, raising her children
in a tent in 19th-century New Zealand, and, beneath the ground, the blind god
Adoh, whose hundred unseeing eyes are witness to a dark future.
Andesite, Miriam Austin’s
third solo show at Bosse & Baum, is set at the threshold between these two
worlds: the mythical subterranean city of Selvaga, in which organic
technologies are manufactured, promising reprieve from ecological crisis; and
the real, ancestral story of Annie Kelly, Austin’s great-great-grandmother. The
works in Andesite continue a conversation with the dead, opening up the psychic
and earthy spaces of extractive industry, colonial settlement, and matrilineal
In Selvaga, floppy machines
harness the energy of Alset, the rider who moves through time and slips between
zones. Ehusea is a figure of technological sacrifice, vulnerable yet
protective, aggressively reaching towards a post-carbon future. Andesite does
not resolve the question of whether the disaster has already occurred: the
fragile products of human ingenuity are in permanent conflict with geological
scales and processes.
The ravaged New Zealand
bush, Annie Kelly’s terrestrial zone of colonial settlement, provides a space for
the exploration of the legacies of imperialism, seeking to establish forms of
dialogue that pose questions about intimacy, inheritance and responsibility.
Considering the politically sensitive issues surrounding the appropriation and
co-option of myths from non-Western cultures, Andesite aims to establish
alternative grounds for understanding and representing kinship. The project
brings decolonial, feminist perspectives to an exploration of representations
of intimacy and relatedness, working to imagine new ways to live together in an
environment threatened by ecological and geopolitical disaster.
The works in the exhibition
emerge from a series of experimental practices and a body of research that have
opened a form of ancestral communion within which new narratives, histories,
protagonists and landscapes - real and imagined - coalesce. Spanning sculpture,
installation, drawing and performance - and incorporating materials linked to
specific sites and histories: volcanic black sand, obsidian, opals, turban
shells, silicone, plastics & ground glass - the works trace stories that
depict diverse forms of relatedness that cut against dominant approaches to
landscape, environment and kinship found in patriarchal Western societies.
Andesite is haunted by figures that raise urgent questions about care and
responsibility, reimagining the nature and limits of the familial and expanding
them to include a vibrant network of human and non-human agents.