This July, Artereal Gallery is proud to present a solo exhibition of new paintings by Sydney-based artist Kai Wasikowski.
Drawing upon Wasikowski’s experience of indoor rock climbing over the past 18 months, Climb, grip, hold explores the push and pull between environments typically deemed natural and unnatural. Conditioned with the desire to traverse between such spaces, Wasikowski considers how urges to feel more connected to a natural world are increasingly satiated by technology and the possibility for immersion in simulated environments.
Looking at the historical departure of popular rock climbing practices from colonial and environmentalist agendas in the late 19th Century to more contemporary depictions of climbing in pop culture, Wasikowski’s work finds its influences from the impact of Join Muir’s naturalist literature, the psychogeographic ecology of JG Ballard’s The Drowned World to the opening scenes of John Woo’s Mission Impossible II. Through constructed photography and mixed media, Climb, grip, hold conflates ideas from these sources to consider how seemingly distant social and political agendas are embedded in activities of everyday life.
By reflecting upon the unexpected connections between indoor rock climbing and certain themes explored in Wasikowski’s practice – ideas such as ‘nature’ as it stems from Western methodology and what it means to feel in or outside of it – Climb, grip, hold explores the potential for re-imagined ecologies to pull the Modernist notion of Nature from an organic background into the technologically and ethically riddled consumer foreground.