cabal was the first of two exchange exhibitions between artist-run galleries TCB Art Inc in Melbourne, and Aperto in Montpeilier. For this exhibition twelve Melbourne based artists — who together make up the board of TCB Art Inc — showcased diverse methods and material approaches within the Melbourne art scene. The exhibition’s aim: reveal something about the procedural logic of this group, who while exploring separate interests, collectively consider pragmatic and often poetic solutions to the production and transportation of artworks to Aperto. The exhibition featured works by Georgina Criddle, Adam John Cullen, Christo Crocker, Debris Facility, Ry Haskings, Anna Higgins, Matt Hinkley, Tamsen Hopkinson, Noriko Nakamura, Lucina Lane, Charles O’Loughlin and Kalinda Vary.


Kalinda Vary holding the work of Georgina Criddle, prints by Anna Higgins, floor work by Noriko Nakamura, painting by Christo Crocker, Sleeping bag by Lucina Lane.


Collaborative floor painting of the TCB Art Inc lino by Adam John Cullen and Kalinda Vary, painting (left) By Tamsen Hopkinson, painting (right) Christo Crocker, sculpture (pillar) Matt Hinkley


Posters by Charles O’Loughlin, window work by Debris Facility


Adam John Cullen: Resin, Germinated wheat, Emu egg and Merino wool


Adam John Cullen


Adam John Cullen & Kalinda Vary Colab

Sans titre-1 (2)

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Materials, commodities, stuff, it moves around from place to place, location to location, eventually settles. Forms a history of sorts, a material-cultural history of globalization, mining and trade.

Blend it up, carry it around, set it down, and bury it back in the ground.

They are a time capsule of a non-specific time or place, resting underneath the weeds, plants, sticks and trees.

Photos by Jessie Boylan –


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Burnout – Alaska Projects

Burnout at Alaska Projects, Sydney, November 2015

Skinned knees, heat, fumes, gum, donuts (x2) ice cream, empty hand bag, butts, blowjobs, scrapes, paint flecks, dividers, guides, markers, anxiety, triumph, passage and dead end. These objects, actions and materials are associated with car parks and their surroundings. The paraphernalia this urban space provides are cast: a record of rubber tiers, collapsible witches hats, council property taken from roadside construction at night, along with a dropped tub of Black & Gold Neapolitan Ice Cream. Burnout gives homage to the unheroic urban space with a dash of a romantic melancholy for good measure.

Burnout Alaska Projects Adam John CullenBurnout Alaska Projects Adam John CullenBurnout Alaska Projects Adam John CullenBrunout Alaska Projects Adam John CullenBurnout Alaska Projects Adam John Cullen

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Shepparton Art Museum (SAM)

The Sidney Myer Fund Australian Ceramic Award, 2015
Exhibition dates: 22nd Aug – 22nd November 2015
Photographs by Christian Capurro

Shortlisted artists:

Adam John Cullen
Penny Byrne
Ruth Hutchinson
Sanné Mestrom
Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran (winner)

Forever Stuff

A fleck of sand from a distant coastline was carried by a gust of wind and settles in a swamp across the ocean. There it sits. Over time it slowly sinks, deeper and deeper into the sediment.

A woman working in a field in the outskirts of Paris digs into a crust of gypsum, picking at it with her fingers. She has an idea. After the stone fragments mix with the water they turn into a paste. The woman uses this paste to make a vase for her home. She calls it ‘Plaster of Paris’.

A Saudi Arabian owned company buys a gypsum mine in France. As work begins to refine the raw material to produce Plaster of Paris, the fleck of sand that was blown from the distant coastline that’s has now become part of the gypsum is excavated by a miner from Kuwait. The stone is broken down and mixed up and packaged as Plaster of Paris and shipped to the port of Yokohama.

In an office in the outskirts of Newcastle, an office worker places an order for a few tons of Plaster of Paris on behalf of an American owned hardware company. The plaster, along with the fleck of sand, is sent by ship from a port in Yokohama to the port of Newcastle and then by truck onto Melbourne.

An artist purchases a bag of plaster in Melbourne containing the sand that settled in a swamp near Paris centuries ago. The artist blends it with an array of objects and materials collected over the artists’ life to make a vase. The work is taken to a gallery. There the fleck of sand sits within an artwork with a temporary meaning. An ancient history and an endless future, waiting for it’s next journey.


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Light the blue touchpaper and retire

‘Light the blue touch paper and retire’ was curated by the Brighton City Council Gallery (BACC) as part of their biannual emerging artist exhibition series, with artists Darcey Bella Arnold, Saskia Doherty, Matthew Greaves and myself. August 2015.


Empty plinths sit strategically on manicured grass, concrete bowlingball-esk shapes run the ridge of a staircase, modernist sculptures sit quietly along a winding path, rose gardens filled with an array of species gifted by the acquaintances of past councillors lie in-wait for the next season to bloom.

Walking the lawns of the council buildings for the first time, I noticed a few things; they are pristine, neat and ordered, strangely ordered but not strange as in; simply that they are very ordered, but strange as in; they are structured and seemingly has a purpose. But what their purpose is remains unclear. I would assume there have been many meetings solely dedicated to the lawns over the last 100 years or more. Now, no one remembers why a certain thing is the way it is, or why a certain thing is not that way, it now, simply, just is.

These objects are made from past decisions, failings, trials and errors. They’ve been re-purposed and for the mean time presented as ‘finished’, of course they aren’t, they will soon be moved along and become part of another project. They are past works, blended together, cut up and redivided to form a base to deliver a message. They are a plinth for a vase, an instillation, a grouping of materials in a gallery and a past thought. For now, they are a structured group, presenting a facade, you will never know what exactly they are made from, to be honest I don’t either, they are a visualisation of an idea, you can step back and watch it, if you feel like.
AJC_GERT7AJC_GERT8Adam John Cullen

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Kia Ora

A group show held at a house, Kia Ora, Brunswick, Australia. August 2015.

Rebecca Jospeh
Virginia Overell
Christo Crocker
Noriko Nakamura
Adam John Cullen
Jessica Au

Noriko Nakamura, Kia Ora

Noriko Nakamura

Christo Chrocker (windows) & Virgina Overell (Table)

Christo Chrocker (windows) & Virginia Overell (table)

Christo Crocker (window), Virginia Overell (table) & Noriko Nakamura (yard)

Christo Crocker (window), Virginia Overell (table) & Noriko Nakamura (yard)

Kia Ora-205

Rebecca Joseph (study), Adam John Cullen (lounge)

Kia Ora-147

Rebecca Joseph

Kia Ora-67

Adam John Cullen

Kia Ora-82

Adam John Cullen

Kia Ora-96

Adam John Cullen

Text by Jessica Au.

I remembered walking down the streets one evening in the early summer. The light over the narrow alleyways and terrace houses was dove-grey and pink. We’d been on our way back from a friend’s place, and people everywhere were opening their doors and spilling out onto the streets with glasses of white wine and smokes. In the distance, the beautiful grey dome of the exhibition building loomed ahead and I could smell the green of the trees and the sweet, muggy heat of an evening following a day of rain. It was all so beautiful I could see why you would not want to leave it. Here, within this circle, were all the people we knew.

Adrian was talking about Bayreuth, the opera house that Wagner had built, and how we would one day visit it together. Thomas Mann had gone to Venice to write on Wagner, Adrian said, the composer having died in that same city years before. While there, Mann had become infatuated with a young boy, nicknamed Adzio, who was staying at his hotel. Later, Mann would publish Death in Venice, about a writer who falls for a boy called Tadzio, following him unashamedly around the city and later dying on a beach from cholera.

I wondered if Adrian was trying to say something about literature and music, and about how it could still work out between us. But I was thinking that I had to end it, and soon, with as little pain as possible, if there was such a thing, because we couldn’t keep dragging this out any longer. Sometimes I thought that this gentleness of mine might ruin both of us, but I knew also that there was something cold and hard in me that wanted to survive.

It was a funny time in our lives. Suddenly, everyone we knew seemed to be married or getting married or having kids. We went to Erica and Ben’s house for dinner in South Yarra and played with their two-year-old son, Ezra, who, even at that age, had the uncanny ability to catch and spoke a smattering of French. Ben tossed the tagliatelle into a silver colander to drain, and I found myself picking at the cheese and wondering if I could really do this, this growing-up thing. I had a conviction in something, but it felt small and weak. I couldn’t work out if I knew too little or too much.

‘It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done,’ Erica told me as she passed me the wine, and I knew, already, what she meant, and believed her.

It wasn’t that he was a bad person, and it wasn’t that I didn’t think I might ever want kids, but if I stayed I thought I might begin to resent him for it. It seemed that he was always busy, always on the brink of something important, or between jobs, and I kept put everything I had to do off, thinking I needed to wait for a better time for us. I knew I would always end up being the one to give up—it was not his fault, though nor was it mine—and he would never know.

I ended up going to Venice on my own, at the end of summer. The Grand Canal was aquamarine and the pigeons were as thick as bats in St Mark’s Square. The stone was white and hot and you could smell the sewers everywhere. I ate sitting on the corners of bridges and fountains, or walking quickly down streets, too pained to get a table at one of the large, candlelit restaurants without company. On my last day, I went into a church, desperate to escape the heat. Inside, it was cool and quiet. I walked round the perimeter, remembering what I had read about churches: how they were designed in cruciform, with one end pointing east towards Jerusalem, the other west towards the end of days. In a dark grotto, someone had hung an image of the Virgin Mary, her familiar outline lit up behind a plastic shield, covered in dust. At her feet, were rows and rows of candles.

‘[T]hey’re on her as they might be on a hill, in a garden; they devour her, hit her, sleep on her; and she lets herself be devoured, and sometimes she sleeps because they are on her body.’ This was a line by Marguerite Duras on motherhood. I knew, of course, that this was not the only thing, but I thought that it was possible to feel both this joy and this violence. Duras also writes about what women might lose in the process of becoming mothers and wives: their own kingdoms of despair, meaning perhaps their own abilities to experience and take just for themselves. Their ‘youthful aspirations,’ she also says, ‘their strength, their love.’

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Monash University Research Colloquium


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