Shaking Up the ARI Archives – October 2019 Featured Find – “Pope Alice is Dressed by EMU – PALACE Shop 23 Brisbane Arcade City” – [Atomic Art Exhibition- Spring Hill Gallery September 16 1980]
While present day artist-run archives today often exist as digital archives on independent ARI websites, artist websites and across varied social media platforms in the public domain ARI archives from the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and early Web 1.0 archives are often hidden and exist and are cared for as artist files in private artist archives.
Each month we feature a ‘new’ archival find and bring it to light on this living archives site in the hope that knowledge about this artist ephemera may help nuance a period of cultural history and illuminate the network of artists and collaboration surrounding the ephemera item and the event’s it documents.
If you have a memory or insight to share about this month’s featured and recovered archives find ( or indeed any of the ‘at risk’ ephemera items shared on this site) please add your memory into the comments thread below.
During a trip to Tyers this month where some of my own artist archives and records are stored with family I was thrilled and delighted to find this 1980 ‘atomic art’ invitation to an event organised by one of Australia’s many leading queer artists Luke Roberts at the Spring Hill Gallery in September 1980.
Atomic science during the period 1940-1980s (in Brisbane) was a profound influence on design, art, writing and other creative forms when the threat and concerns of nuclear war were predominant in the minds of citizens in Western Societies during the Cold war era.
From 1979 to 1980 Luke Roberts was a co-director of E.M.U experimental art space located in the five ways in Woolloongabba. Artist Georgina Pope found the space for artist studios and during the two years it operated it was a hive of artist-run activity with artists Luke Roberts and Ross Wallace and an enclave of followers, rebels and precursors including artists, writers, actors, designers and writers engaged with the tumult of Brisbane’s emerging punk and post punk cultural ecology. Artist Scott Redford is an artist who springs to mind. Ross has shared a memory or three here you can read…
Seven years earlier In 1972 the Spring Hill Gallery located at 12 Downing Street, Spring Hill and also known as the Young Artists Gallery was established in an old workers cottage, the image of the house and gallery was used as a logo on artist ephemera the gallery produced. Varied artist files and manuscripts from this artist-run gallery can be located at the Fryer Library here :
This month’s featured archives find is a digital copy of an offset printed a4 tri fold brochure , a 1980 gallery invitation to an exhibition, fundraising and media event organised by Artist Luke Roberts with artist’s from the Spring Hill Gallery including Jill Robertson and Lothar Stritthof.
Collage, word play, neologism, gender bending, pseudonyms and absurdism and a locally inflected unruliness are common characteristic used in 1970s and 1980s artist-run ephemera production and in art practices. The invitation features a series of fictional and non-fictional quotes from local and international art world celebrities and imaginary characters. Robot Wireless for example was a performance poet nom de plume devised by Brisbane artist Robert Whyte author of From inside the Asylum, 1980 ( https://catalogue.nla.gov.au/Search/Home?lookfor=author:%22Robot%20Wireless%22&iknowwhatimean=1) and his partner at the time Cernak like Roberts was and is a visual artist of local renown with a long and keen interest in alchemy and allegory see this archival record for example:
Spring Hill Gallery Invitation September 1980
By Paul Andrew
Provenance: Paul Andrew Artist Archives (Tyers/ Melbourne – retrieved Oct 2019)