Bilateral (Adelaide)

eaf bilateral
Photo by Lara Thompson

for more installation photographs of Bilateral, see ChaosGeneration.

Bilateral, 2002, Exhibition/Residency/Events, Experimental Art Foundation, Adelaide.

[The following review of my show BILATERAL, by Ken Bolton, is from PLANET_EAF,, the Experimental Art Foundation’s online version of its newsletter, Oct-Dec 2002]


25 October to 16 November 2002 : LUCAS IHLEIN Bilateral

Sydney-based artist Lucas Ihlein’s stay at the Experimental art Foundation took the forms of an exhibition, a residency (effectively a “live-in” exhibition), numerous outreach extensions of the show-and-project, and special events that took place simultaneously in different registers: the purely social, the social conceived and judged as exchange and reciprocity, and as a system viewed as or by “Art”.

As an exhibition Bilateral took the form of installation: much of the installation was made up of works produced (as installation in some cases) for previous incarnations of the project: installations in Singapore, Hong Kong and Perth. Many of the works recorded the experience of those places – the learning processes involved in adapting to them, the frameworks of thought they gave rise to – from preconception, prejudice, cliche’, through to a measure of understanding.

An effect of Bilateral, then, was to foreground these things in general terms as well as specific – and to promote a degree of selfconsciousness about one’s own behaviour or about one’s city’s attitudes and the degree of sophistication, tolerance, complacency or ignorance this might evince. The viewing of (the) art was also cast as an experience much less neutral than the gallery cube normally implies. That is, the viewer’s presence relevantly carried signifiers of social class and caste (as it always does, but not usually to the art’s point); the art itself (inviting viewer participation, with the artist present, mediating the experience to a degree) was very much a social situation, with unstated social obligations and codes in place.

Ihlein produced a 3 colour silkscreened poster catalogue/invitation for the exhibition and produced new work in response to the live-in experience at the EAF and in response to Adelaide. Associated events included a film night (“Film” Films? Fine!) that, as well as the films, involved the staging of a Fluxus performance event, Albert M Fine’s Piece for Fluxorchestra and Ihlein’s Event For Touristic Sites – a kind of “action”. At this last volunteers (and people who joined in on the spot) wore T-shirts at a public tourist site (and on the occasion of the annual Adelaide Xmas Pageant) baldly proclaiming the truth of national stereotypes (All Australians are arse-lickers, All Germans are efficient, All Mexicans are loco, All Taiwanese are shifty sort of thing). Naturally, collected like this, they rendered the very formula ridiculous.

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