Sarah Clarke and Nicole Beaumont formed their collaborative practice Clarke Beaumont while studying at Queensland University of Technology in 2008. Currently showing at Boxcopy is their exhibition, She'll Be Right.
At a recent panel discussion held at Boxcopy and chaired by local Brisbane emerging artists Catherine and Kate, Clarke Beaumont conceded they are more content practicing as a duo. “Sarah and I pull each other back when needed, we don’t feel comfortable working solo and for us working alone is much more difficult”, concedes Brown. In developing their dual art practice Clarke Beaumont believe the process is completely focused not unlike that of solo art practices however they are able to use each other as sounding boards to form or broaden boundaries within their practice. Clarke Beaumont therefore challenge solo artists and the processes that go along with that tradition.
The video performance based installation, She’ll Be Right, sees Clarke Beaumont investigate interpersonal relationships using popular screen based culture reenacting clips from Muriel’s Wedding and The Castle. It is the artist’s first five-channeled artwork. For Clarke Beaumont reenactment is a process by which the artists establish an increased perception of contemporary society based on an internal dialogue within the individuals’ psyche. The role as performer is inherent to both artists Beaumont acknowledging her preoccupation with drama and Clarke having studied drama at Queensland University of Technology.
Humor is central and key to this work contributing significantly to the viewers understanding of the issues considered, failure, insecurity, conviction and anxiety. The comical aspect to the performance is highlighted with the use of props and deliberate in giving authorship to the viewer. Instead of a bottle of expensive Moet in the scene from Muriel’s Wedding a bottle of the cheapest champagne was used, as too was a portable clothesline unlike the Hills Hoyst used in the original scene.
Repetition, layering and looping emphasis this internal dialogue Clarke Beaumont hope to impart to the viewer and impart a sense of interrogation to the audience. Crucial to this process is the audiences existing empirical knowledge of Australian contemporary society.She'll Be Right, looks not only at who we are as individuals but simultaneously considers our identity as a collective through the distinctive Australian flavor embedded within the work, considering the concepts the ‘Aussie battler’ and the ‘under dog’. Whether this installation translates across cultures is yet to be seen.
Although the duo’s intention is to release ownership of the work to the audience and allow the viewer to make sense of their own experiences and histories it is inevitable that the artists guide the viewer in some way to address the issues discussed. What is impressive however is the subtle, discerning and distinctive manner in which Clarke Beaumont execute these ideas proving their undeniable and intuitive knowledge of contemporary Australian culture.
Contrasting from a commercial gallery Boxcopy represents emerging artists giving them a platform to present their current work based on materiality. Clarke Beaumont stated they are not necessarily making art for commercial gain, to sell but they are making art for a different system, for materiality.
More on collaboration...
On Saturday the 6th of October before the official opening of She'll Be Right, Boxcopy hosted a panel discussion about collaboration related very closely to this current exhibition. For an artist run initiative directed and managed by a group of volunteers the number of people present was impressive to say the least, mostly young female followers.
The panel discussion about collaboration outlined how the practice is not bound solely to dual or group artist partnerships but these alliances interface with other groups of artist in a communal and open manner. As Catherine and Kate acknowledge “something doesn’t always come from nothing, something always has to come from something” and it is therefore the tension and confrontation, the borrowing or appropriation of the collaborative process which can give these artists a depth and honesty that may not exist so fully in the solo artist work purely for the fact there may be less questioning.
There is an alternative currency to She’ll Be Right that sets it apart as new, honest, relevant, unpretentious and contemporary. Through humor and the absurd Clarke Beaumont reflect social constructs and behaviors of our current social fabric.
Influences for Clarke Beaumont's Art Practce:
Pipilotti Rist in Conversation