Artist-run – a prolific, vibrant and ever-changing group of artists, collaborations, projects, spaces, events, Super 8 film screenings, exhibitions, artist studios, performances and publications.
Directors & Co-odinators – Jeanelle Hurst, Russell Lake, Adam Boyd, Zeliko Maric
Exhibiting artists including Hollie, Adam Wolter, Gary Warner, Linda Wallace and many others.
Red Comb House – 1982
Edmonstone Street, South Brisbane
355 George Street, Brisbane
Excerpt from the catalogue essay Ephemeral Traces – Brisbane’s Artist-Run Space Scene in the 1980s, University of Queensland Art Museum, April 2016
Courtesy of Peter Anderson Archives
“Of the five artist-run spaces that provide the focus for this exhibition, One Flat is the most difficult to define. The activities that fall broadly under this banner were diverse and not linked to a single physical space, or even a single name. Although there are common threads, ‘One Flat’ is a short-hand way of describing an evolving mix of collective activities that assume a variety of forms, from studio and gallery spaces to publications, events and ephemeral and performative modes of collective art production. From 1982 to 1988, many artists were involved in these activities, although, for the bulk of this time, the core collective comprised the trio of Adam Boyd, Jeanelle Hurst and Russell Lake.
The group functioned in diverse ways, producing ‘works’, exhibitions and performances in various gallery spaces, as well as initiating gallery, studio and publication projects that provided space for their own art work and the work of others. However, as the nature of the collective’s practice is considered as a whole, such a distinction between the creative production of ‘art works’ and ‘art infrastructure’ is one that is difficult to sustain.
The story of One Flat begins with the setting up of the Red Comb House Studios in a former office and warehouse complex at 190 Roma Street in February 1982. The first events were organised almost immediately as a lease was signed: at first, film and music events and then a large group exhibition, Produce Art, in March 1982. However, the focus of activity at Red Comb House was primarily studio-based, with the building occupied by artists for well over a year.
In mid-1982, the collective, with the additional involvement of Gary Warner, opened One Flat Exhibit in Hurst’s small flat at 19 Edmondstone Street, South Brisbane. While Warner moved to Sydney shortly after the gallery opened, he continued to contribute to the project, exhibiting in the space and facilitating exchanges from interstate. The first One Flat newsletter for 1983 provides as list of the 1982 activities, which included around 20 exhibitions, installations, performances and talks.In around May 1983, the One Flat collective moved the centre of its operations to 355/353 George Street in the CBD and established One Flat Exhibit George Street Branch.
Here the mix of activities seemed to become more fluid, and while formal exhibitions were staged, to the casual visitor, the site seemed in a constant state of flux. Significantly, it was here that the Midnight Cabaret series took place in mid-1983, with these somewhat anarchic events lending weight to Szulakowska’s identification of a strong Dadaist strain within art practice in Brisbane at this time. In addition to regular One Flat newsletters, two more general publications with some links to this group were initiated during this time: Art Walk and Art Wonder Stories.
One Flat’s core collective of Boyd, Hurst and Lake, with the addition of Zeliko Maric, Adam Wolter and various ‘guest artists’, also presented work at other sites, such as the One Flat collective exhibition at the IMA in March 1984. By late that year, the One Flat collective had rebranded as O’Flate. In this new guise, they occupied a studio space a 242 Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley (in the building now occupied by the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Art). Working as O’Flate, activities were primarily focused on collective art production and exchanges, with work exhibited in exhibitions such as Brisbane Hot (IMA, 1985), Queensland Works (University Art Museum, The University of Queensland, 1985) and Know Your Product (IMA, 1986). The collective project culminated in an experimental National Art Safari (1986) that toured across Australia, after which members of the group began to develop individual projects. The collective work of O’Flate and new media experimentation using Telecom’s Viatel ‘on-line’ system (a pre-Internet online network) during the National Art Safari fed into Hurst’s work on new media and artists’ networks under the title of Future Stock Compatibles, including the curatorial projects Outdoor Art Drive-in (1986), and subsequently the major city-wide art project InterFace: City as a Work of Art in March 1988.26 ephemeral traces includes a number of works that were presented within the InterFace project, including Jane Richen’s large billboard, and Jay Younger’s Blue Kingdom.
Peter Anderson, Curator, Writer, Ephemeral Traces – Brisbane’s Artist-Run Scene in the 1980s