Chalk Horse Art Center in Para/Site Art Space—The Horn of Plenty: Excess and Reversibility

Bababa International, Marley Dawson, Jasper Knight, Julian Meagher, Kate Mitchell, Dougal Phillips, Christian Thompson, Oliver Watts

Jun 20 – Aug 02, 2009

Curated by Dougal Phillips

Para Site Art Space is honored to present The Horn of Plenty: Excess and Reversibility, curated by Australian curator Dougal Phillips. The exhibition showcases a group of contemporary artists from Sydney, and is part of an exchange programme between Chalk Horse Art Center, a contemporary emerging art space based in Australia, and Para Site Art Space in Hong Kong. This exhibition evaluates the meaning of contemporary life and economy through its metaphorical root in ancient mythology. The show includes video, performance, installation and wall drawings.

Since Antiquity the myth has existed of the Horn of Plenty; the cornu copiæ or cornucopia - the magical horn Zeus replaced for the goat Amalthea (who nurtured him), which endlessly overflowed with fruit, flowers and grain, and was forever full of whatever its owner wanted.

In 2009, we see a moment in which the bountiful and seemingly unending excess which has driven us for decades has flirted with the possibility of implosion under its own speculative gravity. Money, for a moment, has gone backwards, spiraling away as assets die and are black-balled or black-holed. Now and again we glimpse a kind of mythological zero point, where this excess is sucked back up into the Horn of Plenty. We see work disappearing: jobs evaporate, constructive labour disappears from sites all over, speculative gambits – architectural and game-based – empty out and are hushed. So what is the art (and the artwork) of disappearing capital? What has happened to work, and is there still room for play and for art?

In this exhibition project the artists jump into this reverse spin cycle: playing with, parodying, clowning and aping the hyperfast and hypertelic economies of labour and exchange. From installing a working nail service to acting as a human sundial, and from reinstating the logos of excess to reviving the icons of saving and spending from Antiquity, the objects and images in this exhibition look to collapsing the orders of work and play for an instant, so as to rethink labour, value and the reversibility of contemporary life.