1. Right Now at Kings

    Lots of things are happening at Kings Artist Run in next few months. The first of our Limitless City exhibitions opened last night with Sophie Neate’s elegant and deceptively simple work, Of Turning and Sincing in the Front Gallery, Marcia Jane’s mesmerising Ribbon 1&2 in the Middle Gallery and Austrian/Australian new media superstars, Botborg’s Connection to the Photosonicnerokinaesthography in the Side Gallery.

    Check out what else is coming up:



  2. Matthew Berka’s Contemporary Idyl: Urban renewal and the fiction of Nature.

     Even in Arcadia 



    ‘Et in Arcadia Ego’, which translates to ‘Even in Arcadia, there I am’ is the title given to one of Nicolas Poussin’s most famous paintings. In the picture three men dressed as Arcadian shepherds and a woman in classical robes stand in an idealised landscape around an unknown stone tomb. The presence of death, as symbolised by the tomb, has led scholars to argue that the ego in the phrase refers to mortality - Even in Arcadia, there I am – even in a setting of pastoral perfection, something sinister lurks[1].

     Karkarook, Matthew Berka’s 42 minute filmic rumination on a recently created suburban nature reserve in Moorabbin, an outer coastal suburb of Melbourne offers us a contemporary parallel to Poussin, minus the shepherds. In the constructed world of Karkarook, as far from reality as Poussin’s vision, we find an ambiguity that alerts us to an enduring contemporary illusion; every new cultural development reveals a type of mourning for an allegedly lost or unspoiled state, while at the same time there is the hope of finding it again - the fiction of a better life.

    Consider this: there was a sand quarry that was used for most of the twentieth century to mine sand for roads, constructions, industry, and that for a range of reasons, the sand quarry was no longer needed[2]. The obvious solution to the social and aesthetic problem of the abandoned quarry was to fill it in. Few urban nature reserves preserve land as it was before settlement, so the fact that the transformation of the disused mine into ‘man-made nature’ is actually a pre-fab solution, as newly formed ‘wildernesses’ spring up across contemporary cities in what were once industrial zones, somehow fits perfectly into a larger conceptual framework indicative of a contemporary society fuelled by cycles of collapse and renewal. The fact that this new ‘wilderness’, Karkarook (meaning ‘sand’ in the Boonwurrung language) has emerged out of a contemporary necessity, and may therefore be no more permanent than any other of our impulses, is indicative of the contemporaneity in which we live. The present, that shape of time between the past and the future, allows for the coexistence of both rupture and continuity. So it is perfectly logical that although we may long to be connected to nature in order to balance our non-natural, increasingly technology-focused contemporary condition, our tangible engagement with nature is, for the most part, like the neo-classical figures in the Poussin, polite, controlled and without lasting meaning.

    The sublime in nature is therefore replaced by the much gentler, more controllable idyll.

     Paradoxically, the idyll, that idealised pristine place of peace and tranquilly, is conceived, or dreamed into being, by the very culture that it is designed as an alternative to. The pastoral tranquillity of nature, the idyllic landscape, exists as a precise counterpoint to the city and holds at its core the contradiction that any contemporary manifestation of the idyll cannot be encountered without an acute awareness of it’s opposite, the anti-idyll. When we stroll around the lake in the urban nature reserve we are acutely aware of the city beyond its perimeter. Yet we marvel at the speed of the regeneration: here there was an exhausted resource and now there are green hills, here there are children riding bikes without fear of traffic. And here within the confines of the bustle of the city time stands still, and fish are waiting to bite at the food scraps on the ends of hooks left dangling from jetties by people who don’t have to think about what is happening in the office. The idyll exists as compensation for reality.

     If Karkarook, the place, is ultimately predictable, Karkarook, the film offers something subversive: a detailed examination of a place we were only ever intended to encounter slightly.

     In Berka’s film the pleasant-ness of our prescribed encounter with nature is replaced by an altogether unexpected level of inquiry. The eye of the camera lens seems to find endlessly fascinating accidental encounters. As if in a reverie we watch the light fade from the landscape, or contemplate the abject nature of slime growing on the reeds beneath the water. The process of filming becomes an end in itself as slowly we realise that our encounter with Karkarook, and that of the camera’s, are the same. Our encounters occur simultaneously. The intensity of the camera’s investigation paradoxically signals the possibility, or hope for a profound encounter, and equally an absence of direction or purpose. The camera records the same way that the eye sees, mechanically.

     Underwater, at first, the camera has nothing to focus on, leaving us is in a void of yellow, then rushing reeds, some rubbish, then absence, then literally rupture as the camera is pulled to the surface and the device is revealed, the camera has been tied to a rope and lowered into the lake. Throughout the film cinematic devices are played with only to be abandoned; the camera pans slowly across vistas as if to uncover something, panoramic views fail to reveal splendour, anticipation is built, yet no event occurs. Experimenting with non-narrative film and video Berka has in the past produced films that are entirely abstract such as the 2013 Long Tape Exposures for Karkarook which was made by immersing videotape into the lake at Karkarook and exposing it to the overhead high-voltage electricity pylon thereby allowing his materials (water, electricity and videotape) to form the work. Equally, minimalism forms an important component of his practice as subject matter, process and form coexist without hierarchy.

    there is no implicit narrative in Karkarook, yet the suggestion of story is there. Not only the meta-narrative already discussed that is the construction of the site itself, but through structural devices found within the film. Water is a recurring motif throughout the film, present even in its absence as the shaping force that formed the eroded dry mud banks of the quarry. However it is the closing scene with the children in the rain throwing stones from the slippery embankment that is perhaps the clearest indicator of water’s connection to body. The drips of water running down the children’s faces place us within the site, for water as Susan Stewart points out is our element, we imagine entering back into it as we enter into memory, we immerse ourselves in it, and it is the great metaphor for the passing of time[3]. Water is both form and formlessness. It is the symbol of life and also the harbinger of death.

     It is fitting that the only inhabitants of this contemporary manifestation of the Arcadian idyll are children whose engagement appears slightly reckless. The symbolism of youth passing through an artificial landscape of fabricated nature is as achingly sad as it is matter of fact. Berka encountered the children by accident one day while he was filming; their inclusion is of course deliberate, albeit stemming from coincidence. If the making of the film occurs without pre-determination, is unscripted, but rather forms as a material process through the action of filming, looking and refilming, and through this process driven practice the film forms itself, there exists the obvious implication that another, different film may equally have come into existence, if it were desired. The camera takes in and processes Karkarook in much the same manner as the weekend visitor, for the idyll is of course a kind of non-place, somewhere to pass time, nothing more, and nothing less.

     Julia Powles


    [1] Panofsky, E: ‘Et in Arcadia Ego: Poussin and the Elegiac Tradition’ in Meaning in the Visual Arts, University of Chicago, Chicago. 1983.

    [2] For a detailed history of Karkarook and sand mining in the Moorabbin region see: Kingston Historical Website: http://localhistory.kingston.vic.gov.au/htm/article/294.htm

    [3] Stewart, S: ‘What Thought is Like’, in The Open Studio, Essays on Art and Aesthetics, Angus and Robertson, London, 1992, p. 105.


    1. Matthew Berka, Karkarook, 2014, High Definition video, SOund, 42min.

    2. Nicolas Poussin, Et in Arcadia Ego, Oil on Canvas, 1637-1638



    KINGS Artist Run is looking for two enthusiastic and dedicated people to join our committee.

    APPLICATIONS DUE: Midnight, Friday 4th of July, 2014


    Last year KINGS celebrated 10 years as a leading Australian Artist Run Initiative, and will continue to present innovative and engaging projects, exhibitions and events in 2015 and beyond.

    KINGS functions as a collective of artists, writers, curators and academics and the committee members play a vital and very active role in our organisation. The current committee is composed of artists and curators dedicated to building an exciting and vibrant future for KINGS.

    Ideally, you will have experience in some of the following areas:

    • Liaising with artists
    • Assisting with install, deinstall and openings
    • Project and event management
    • Fundraising / grant applications
    • Web design and development
    • Media and publicity
    • Cleaning toilets :)

    However, passion, commitment and a hard working nature are key skills for KINGS committee members!

    Please send your application in a single pdf file to info@kingsartistrun.com.au with the following:

    • A cover letter that outlines why you would like to join KINGS, including the areas you would like to be involved with as well as your previous experience.
    • A one page CV.


    Level 1 / 171 Kings Street

    Melbourne, Victoria 3000


    Phone: +61 3 9642 0859

    Email: info@kingsartistrun.com.au

    Exhibition Hours: Wed - Sat 12 - 6pm

    Image credit: Madé Spencer-Castle, performance documentation of the Charles Yves Singers, KINGS Artist Run, 2014.


  4. Trophy Shop: Harry Hay, Mary Barton, Simon Gardam, Lillian Addie

    30 May  - 21 June 2014

    Opening: Friday 30 May, 6 – 9pm
    Harry Hay, Mary Barton, Simon Gardam, Lillian Addie
    Trophy Shop
    Trophy Shop brings together the work of four painters dealing with intuition and subjective responses to paint as a medium. These paintings are made with no preconceived image in mind, but evolve as a critical response to the painter’s own marks. Indeed, it is an impossibility for these painters to imagine what to paint, as any ideas are met with the resistance of the material in its actuality.Ultimately, the painter should feel used by their medium, rather than use it, and left with little choice as to how the painting appears whilst remaining attentive and critical. Ideally, the painting paints itself and exists as a kind of transcript of the painter’s mental process and dialogue with the medium.

    These four Melbourne based painters completed their respective bachelors of Fine Art at RMIT University in 2012, where they participated in exhibitions and travelling scholarships. Since graduating, the group have undertaken various activities, projects and courses, from honours degrees at RMIT University in 2014, to artist residencies in Finland, and establishing the Trophy Shop studios in Preston, which also act as an exhibition space. They have exhibited regularly at and since art school, in solo and group shows, be they in Victoria or interstate.

  5. Kings Artist Run is proud to present the premiere screening of video artist Matthew Berka’s major new work Karkarook, a breathtakingly beautiful, nuanced examination of location, history and politics.

    Focused around a site of urban renewal, Karkarook takes viewers across an immersive encounter with place that challenges our ideas about nature and authenticity.

    Curated by Julia Powles.


    For the two nights of the screening Kings Artist Run will be open late, so drop in after work, relax in the bean bags, nibble on a pastry and enjoy the art. At 9pm each night there will be a brief introduction and curator talk.


    Kings Artist Run

    1/171 King Street, Melbourne, 3000.

    P: +61 3 9642 0859

  6. Recent Opening Night shenanigans…kewl



  7. 2 May - 24 May 2014

    Opening: Friday 2 May, 6 – 9pm

    Darren Munce
    Gestural Currency

    Alice Duncan, Ben Sendy-Smithers and Isobel Taylor-Rodgers
    Strategic Memory Protection

    J.F Payne
    Blue movie

    Air And Lack Thereof, 2014, Oil on Wood-detail
    Darren Munce
    Gestural Currency

    “The term “gesture” is a seductive one, suggesting a sensual affinity between aesthetic expression and the variability and subtlety of physical movement. If pressed to explain gesture, many of us would compare it to language, while perhaps qualifying the analogy by noting that gestures are more organic—and more ephemeral—than either speech or writing”. - Jane Van Slembrouck, reviewing Migrations of Gesture

    Gestural Currency is a series of abstract paintings that employ gestural mark making as a medium for exchange. In this series, Darren Munce takes a hueristic approach to each work, solving problems through experimentation and evaluation. The aggregation of marks stimulates each investigation to present a combination of physical action and aesthetic result.

    Through a general dissatisfaction with the incomplete, initial position, Munce employs destruction as a creative tool; embracing the uncontrolled gesture to lead the work away from the known and inspire new directions. This aggressive notion of destruction, crucial to Munce’s process, evades the artist’s habit to protect the favoured elements that often restrict a painting’s development. Munce’s carefully crafted paintings evolve through a series of gestures, shifting from the deftly controlled to the accidental. The result is a series of works that operate in strange harmony; a consolidation of disparate elements into a unified whole.

    Alice Duncan, Ben Sendy-Smithers and Isobel Taylor-Rodgers
    Strategic Memory Protection

    Strategic Memory Protection, through mixed media manifestations including video and installation, will examine the claiming of an event by acquisition of its readily distributable, physical manifestations; such as the photograph, the souvenir or artist book.   People may choose to acquire these mementos of such ethereal phenomena as art, place or knowledge. When they do it may be as proof, a token of sorts. It may be, more personally, a fetish object, one through which a sacred sentimental connection is maintained. And in a more utilitarian way, these objects may function as an insurance scheme against not being fully present in the moment or losing memory of the event.

    Strategic Memory Protection is an exploration into the relationship between acquirer and acquired, the authentic event and the stand in and the function of the souvenir as insurance policy, ready protection against a dissatisfying or forgotten event.

    Image (21)
    J.F Payne
    Blue movie

    “To the maggot in the cheese, the cheese is the universe. To the worms in the corpse the corpse is the cosmos”- Brother Theodore

    Chemical processes can teach us much about the world we live in, through slow observation and consideration of such processes we can interrogate our own condition and positioning in the world as finite mortal beings. To view the world as a set of material substances undergoing a process of transformation and decline is to view the world in terms of the corporeal. Art in this regard should serve as no exception, and is not exempt from the ebb and flow of such material destruction.

    The exhibition “Blue movie” focuses on this transition of material substance towards no particular goal or outcome. The audience is invited to view a short performance in which an Oxidized patina shifts tonally from Black (Iron ore) to Verdigris blue.





    4  - 26 APRIL 2014

    Opening: Friday 4 April, 6 – 9pm
    dudproject #1
    Sam Fagan, Channon Goodwin, Fountain Gate (Aodhan Madden & Ellen Fairbairn), Lou Hubbard, Alison Ingamells, Annabelle Kingston, Nina Mulhall, Jimmy Nutall,
    Kiron Robinson, Madé Spencer-Castle & Lyndal May Stewart.
    Curated by DUDSPACE.
    Friday 4th April 6-9pm
    Saturday 12th April 2-3pm
    Thursday 24th April 6-Late
        this dudproject is supported by The City of Melbourne through the Arts Grants Program



  9. 7 FEBRUARY – 1 MARCH 2014

    Opening: Friday 7 February, 6 – 9pm
    Charles Ives Singers (David Palliser, Victor Meertens & Alexis Ensor)
    Subject to Sound
    Formed in 1992, The Charles Ives Singers have become a Melbourne Underground Institution. The group consists of renowned visual artists David Palliser, Alexis Ensor & Victor Meertens & Breadman (above). They released their first recording (cassette) as Those Naughty Rays, Yarraville 001, in 1992 & first performed live at The Toff on The Town in 2008, curated by Marco Fusinato. They do not rehearse or plan a gig as they rely on the stealth of being alive… They approach sound out of love for it. They are totally ready to fail in concert & sometimes come close. To be untrained in sound construction they consider a blessing. They view amateurism as a gift & intuition as their illogical ally. But as the man said, ”See them before they get better”. They play a mix of homemade & customary instruments with Victor performing free stream of consciousness vocals, his monologues often integrating daily news with touching personal observations with David P. on sax & percussion; Alexis as the cigar-box guitar virtuoso… It’s almost like driving a car on familiar roads & terrain but blindfolded. David Palliser was the heart of the legendary People With Chairs Up Their Noses. Alexis is one of the most important chroniclers of the Melbourne 80’s visual arts scene through his photographic archive. Victor cut his solo performance teeth during his Australia council fellowship year at Kuenstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin 94/95. The Charles Ives Singers present an exhibition of new work as well as a series of live performances. Together they make mayhem an appellation.
    David Palliser is represented by Block Projects, Melbourne.
    Charles Ives Singers’ Performances:
    Friday 7th of Feb, 8pm. (Opening night)
    Thursday 13th, 8pm.
    Thursday 20th, 8pm.
    Thursday 27th, 8pm.
    David Attwood, Rebecca Baumann, Marco Bruzzone, Shannon Lyons and Thomas Rentmeister

    Art historian Ursula Panhans-Bühler once used the term ‘impure minimalism’ to describe the sculptural works of German artist Thomas Rentmeister. For Panhans-Bühler, Rentmeister at once adapted the pictorial and stylistic vocabulary of Minimalism and at the same time dirtied it through the use of common and inexpensive materials. Panhans-Bühler’s terminology eventually evolved into ‘dirty minimalism’, which has in turn become a kind of catch phrase that currently follows Rentmeister around the world regularly popping up in the catalogue essays and press releases that accompany the exhibition of his work.

    Co-curated by West Australian artists David Attwood and Shannon Lyons, Dirty is a reflection on and extension of the notion of ‘dirty minimalism’. The exhibition will present the works of a group of artists who employ the tenets of Minimalism in conjunction with historical, social, cultural and political content. These artists strive to evade the art historical readings of Minimalism’s Modernist heritage (as in its cold austerity, internal inflection and material objectivity) by infusing their work with external reference, reveling in disorder, politics, humour and the abject body.

    The exhibition Dirty draws on a selection of protagonists working within the field of ‘dirty minimalism’ in Australia and beyond, bringing these convergent practices into conversation. Exhibiting artists include David Attwood, Rebecca Baumann and Shannon Lyons who live and work in Perth, WA and Marco Bruzzone and Thomas Rentmeister who both live and work in Berlin, Germany.

    Exhausted Ideals 4
    Bianca Tainsh
    Exhausted Ideals

    Detachment is a necessary evil.  Emotion impairs good judgement. The enemy is calculating, cunning and cold.  One year to learn the game.  One year to beat the corporates.

    In a bid to save a doomed lake in Queensland artist Bianca Tainsh joined forces with a throw together army of locals called Friends of Lake Weyba.  With the aim of using creativity to power a feel-good form of activism the Friends found themselves in a battle where promotion and public popularity could just vanquish the big dollar clout of a cunning development company.

    Exhausted Ideals uses video and installation to revisit a year of unexpected outcomes and personal trials.  Utilising documentation Bianca re-presents her project through the eyes of the media, and examines what began as a political agenda but became a game in which lies, defamation and deceit versus arts shows, photo comps and the charms of a good-looking environmental scientist.

    Bianca Tainsh is a Melbourne based artist who’s interdisciplinary practice reflects on the implications of contemporary life and examines commodification, technology and the environment. Many of her projects discount conventional expectations of artistic practice in their function, and often in their intent to elicit public action and involvement.  Bianca has exhibited in solo and group shows both nationally and internationally, and she recently participated in a residency with LIA in Leipzig, Germany.



  10. kingsari:

    29 NOVEMBER - 21 DECEMBER 2013

    Opening Night 29 Nov, 6pm


    The Greek word “Menis’ is one of the first words in the Iliad and it is variously translated as a kind of all consuming ‘wrath’ or ‘rage’ that transcends reason onto a…