October 7, 2006 - Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney - new exhibition by James Angus
October 7, 2006

new exhibition by James Angus

James Angus Shangri-La 2002, hot air balloon, Courtesy the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney, installation view, Sydney Opera House, Sydney © the artist, Photograph: Greg Weight

James Angus
13 September-26 November 2006

Museum of Contemporary Art
West Circular Quay, Sydney

The Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney introduces a major new exhibition by Australian artist James Angus.

James Angus is a prominent Australian artist based in Sydney and New York, known for his engaging and rigorously crafted sculptural objects. Working with diverse materials and themes, his sculptures reveal a preoccupation with form, surface, and the history of sculpture itself. Angus remakes architectural icons, ordinary objects and animal forms in surprising new configurations, subjecting them to physical distortions and shifts in scale that make them at once familiar and strange to the eye.

This exhibition brings together works from the past ten years, drawing from Australian and international collections. The most substantial display of Anguss sculptures to date, it also features a major new work that has been created especially, inspired by a 1920s Type 35 Bugatti racing car. An off-site presentation of Anguss colossal inverted hot-air balloon Shangri-La augments the MCA display, on view at the Sydney Opera House for the duration of the exhibition.

Anguss sculptures are seamless in finish and precise in their attention to detail. Constructed from plaster, bronze, timber and fibreglass, they range from modestly scaled objects to large and even oversized forms. Often situated directly on the gallery floor, protruding out of or leaning up against the wall, they are deceptively casual in their placement. Colour is also significant in these works, from the neutrality and timelessness of white to the use of bright colour or contrasting dark and light timbers. Each draws attention to the pure objecthood of the works of sculpture as sculpture, not an imitation of life.

Angus began to work with computer-aided design in the late 1990s, creating hypothetical constructions and manipulating space as though it were soft and borderless. Translating these ideas into real, physical form in his sculptures, a slippage is evident between the fanciful and the real a theme that is expressed in the doubling and repetition of objects, their looping and inversion. Thus a miniaturised skyscraper lies horizontal upon the floor as though blown over by gale-force winds; a soccer ball is impacted and flattened as though dropped from a massive height; and a teapot is turned inside out, its handle and spout marked by their absence. In developing his works, Angus consults designers and engineers, mathematicians and scientists, creating works that traverse multiple ideas and disciplines.

This exhibition is on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney until 26 November 2006. It will then travel to the Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane; Bendigo Art Gallery, Victoria; and the Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth in 2007-08. The exhibition tour is made possible by the Contemporary Touring Initiative through Visions of Australia, an Australian Government program and the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian, State and Territory Governments.

The exhibition is accompanied by a substantial catalogue publication including a curatorial text by MCA Senior Curator Rachel Kent and an interview between James Angus and Henriette Bretton-Meyer, Director, OVERGADENInstitute for Contemporary Art, Copenhagen. This is a joint publication by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney and Art & Australia. Enquiries: store@mca.com.au

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