SHAKE IT UP

A re­bel­lious streak, fear­less­ness and cu­rios­ity for other cul­tures fuel the enig­matic art of Lauren Brin­cat.

VOGUE Australia - - News - By Jane Al­bert.

A re­bel­lious streak, fear­less­ness and cu­rios­ity fuel the enig­matic art of Lauren Brin­cat.

It was early win­ter when Lauren Brin­cat walked pur­pose­fully – and fully clothed – to­wards the ocean at a beach in Au­gusta, Western Aus­tralia, then dis­ap­peared un­der the icy waves. Brin­cat didn’t have a death wish; it was all in the name of art. For years she had been cap­ti­vated by the idea of the in­vis­i­ble line that de­lin­eated the meet­ing of the In­dian and South­ern oceans and she was fi­nally cre­at­ing a video per­for­mance piece in which she walked through that in­vis­i­ble bor­der. It only oc­curred to her later that she could have been at­tacked by sharks or suf­fered hy­pother­mia, but dan­ger has al­ways held an ap­peal for this young Syd­ney artist, whose star is very much on the rise.

Not long af­ter the work, Walk The Line, was com­plete it was pur­chased by the Art Gallery of New South Wales, along with Brin­cat’s 2016 Syd­ney Bi­en­nale work, Play It As It Sounds. It’s not only a dream come true, but also a vin­di­ca­tion of sorts for a woman who was pun­ished as a child for not be­ing aca­dem­i­cally bright.

A first-gen­er­a­tion Aus­tralian, Brin­cat grew up in western Syd­ney to Euro­pean-Egyp­tian par­ents. She was al­ways mildly em­bar­rassed by her sit­u­a­tion – week­ends spent with her grand­par­ents who grew veg­eta­bles on the river­bank, hav­ing to turn the lamb spit for hours with her great-un­cles. When the fam­ily moved to the north­west­ern sub­urbs she was acutely aware of her oth­er­ness. “That was the first time I felt quite dif­fer­ent and it was a bit em­bar­rass­ing. Now I ap­pre­ci­ate so much my cul­tural mash,” she says.

Like her art, Brin­cat is some­what enig­matic. She is fas­ci­nated by the world around her and what hap­pens when you don’t sim­ply fol­low life’s rules. Dur­ing a year-long res­i­dency in Mex­ico City, for ex­am­ple, she cre­ated the video Walk in Traf­fic, in which she strode down the middle of one of the city’s busiest streets, car­ry­ing he­lium bal­loons. “I like to do works that in­volve risk, be­cause some­thing real comes out of push­ing your safety zone; there’s some­thing quite em­pow­er­ing about it,” she says.

Brin­cat ma­jored in paint­ing at the Syd­ney Col­lege of the Arts and to­day her work – from video to per­for­mance, in­stal­la­tion and sculp­ture – is held in nu­mer­ous col­lec­tions, in­clud­ing the Mu­seum of Con­tem­po­rary Art (MCA) and the Mu­seum of Old and New Art in Tas­ma­nia. She doesn’t like to put her­self in a par­tic­u­lar artis­tic box and finds dis­cussing her work dif­fi­cult. “Art is like eat­ing food, it’s such a ne­ces­sity for me, it fu­els the next thing …”

One sub­ject that does fire her up is the un­der­rep­re­sen­ta­tion of fe­male artists. It in­spired a re­cent work in col­lab­o­ra­tion with artist Bree van Reyk at the MCA, Molto Echo, in which one male and six fe­male drum­mers cre­ated near-deaf­en­ing mu­sic, cel­e­brat­ing the pres­ence of fe­male artists and chal­leng­ing visi­tors to take note. Brin­cat hoped the work would shake up the sta­tus quo. She cites her gal­lerist Anna Schwartz and 2016 Syd­ney Bi­en­nale artis­tic di­rec­tor Stephanie Rosen­thal as much-needed role mod­els in this area.

Brin­cat plans to spend part of the next 18 months trav­el­ling with her hus­band and daugh­ter Beatrix to Mex­ico City, and pos­si­bly Helsinki. She finds trav­el­ling in­spires her cre­atively. “I en­joy be­ing jolted into an­other cul­ture and feel most in­spired when I’ve trav­elled and come back. Oth­er­wise it be­comes quite still.” Lauren Brin­cat’s next solo show will be held at Anna Schwartz Gallery, Mel­bourne, in late 2017.

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