Joe Felber: Kontaktraum Ausländer

The Contemporary Art Centre of SA (CACSA) has undertaken a number of spatial and experiential projects to highlight the capabilities and limitations of their heritage cottage gallery in the residential suburb of Parkside. Previous projects have seen works squeezed into the confines of their unique ‘white cube’ or have been painted from floor to ceiling utilising every crevice of the space. These exhibitions have forced gallery visitors to engage with the physicality of the gallery as well as the depth of each artist’s practice on a different level.

Joe Felber’s presentation is no exception with guests invited to walk over his site-specific, floor based painting while participating in a sonic component triggered by floor sensors throughout the gallery. A collection of works that span a thirty year career culminate in an exhibition that explores nomadic experimentation, human identity, and his experiences as a ‘foreigner’.

While the Australian government deliberates over its policy on immigration and multiculturalism in both a historical and contemporary state, Felber’s exhibition is a timely example of an individual interpretation of this political debate. Felber immigrated to Australia in 1980, bringing with him a number of influences and interests that have been developed and realised through exhibitions in Australia and beyond since the 80s. Felber’s practice focuses on assemblages of materials, painting, performance and music.

For CACSA Felber has focused on the human interaction with sound in the public space. The floor painting offers layers of information interconnecting and overlapping; a geometry of shapes, colours and text is strewn on the floor uniting cultural dialogues through images and text. The convergence of imagery is an investigation and mapping of Febler’s artistic interests and many travels. Echoing throughout the gallery you can hear an edited score of Luigi Nono’s avant-garde compositions -another influence of Febler’s – further expanding the enquiry into human experience through art, sound and space.

Migration, displacement and homeland have been articulated in this exhibition through the eyes of an explorer. Although not politically driven the work reveals a deep connection and concern for shared experiences and understanding. The use of installation demands that you participate in reinforcing the notion of the work as transitory and presents only fragments of a much larger composition.

This exhibition is an experience-orientated, multi-sensory and carefully curated show. Viewers can engage with numerous musical and philosophical influences in Febler’s work highlighting the possibility of a shared spirit in both space and culture.


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