Haroon Mirza in collaboration with Jessica Aszodi, Chess Boughey, Julie Cunningham, Alexander Garsden, Sarah-Jane Lewis, Tom Mclean, James Rushford, Freya Schack-Arnott and Carolin Schnurrer
Haroon Mirza: The Construction of an Act is the first solo exhibition in Australia by acclaimed London-based artist Haroon Mirza, bringing new commissions into dialogue with re-presentations of recent work to provide a choreographed experience of the artist’s diverse interests and applications across the last decade.
Mirza’s extensive and varied art practice – encompassing sculptural assemblage, immersive installation and live performance – has its origin in music; in the rhythm, syncopation and sampling techniques informed by the artist’s experience as a DJ. Mirza likens his methodology to that of a composer, arranging both the aesthetic and acoustic properties of materials and space into new audible, visual and haptic forms. His diverse artworks are linked through the medium and manipulation of electricity, and share an interest in modes of perception that go beyond the ocular-centrism inherent to the visual arts.
Continuing the analogy of the artist as composer, Haroon Mirza: The Construction of an Act has been conceived as if the gallery was itself an instrument, with the exhibition forming an overall score. Mirza has considered ACCA’s vast architecture as a reverberation chamber, in which a disparate ensemble of works come together to form a conceptual and sonic whole. Sculptural assemblages, indicative of the artist’s early work, engage in a complex dialogue with their use of everyday materials – from showerheads and buckets, to simple LED lighting strips, outmoded electronics, found footage and musical instruments – while more recent audio and moving-image works incorporate disciplines as wide-ranging as science, technology, politics and theology to explore the complexities of human experience, as well as to question moral and political issues of our time.
As a new commission especially for the exhibition, Mirza has constructed a residency studio within the gallery, as a space for local and international collaborators to undertake week-long residencies, culminating in a live performance within the exhibition, as well as sonic and performative residues. Working with James Rushford (composer), Jessica Aszodi (singer), Alexander Garsden (guitarist), Freya Schack-Arnott (cellist), Julie Cunningham (choreographer/dancer) and Chess Boughey (dancer), Mirza’s new commission illustrates the turn towards experimental, open-ended and collaborative working methods that have become a hallmark of the artist’s recent practice; blurring the boundaries of artistic authorship and transparently revealing the complex process of art and exhibition making. Haroon Mirza: The Construction of an Act thus opens as a studio and a stage set for action: the nature of which will be revealed in the process of its eventual enacting.
Born in London in 1977, Haroon Mirza graduated with a BA in Painting from Winchester School of Art (2002); an MA in Design Critical Practice and Theory from Goldsmiths College (2006); and an MA in Fine Art from Chelsea College of Art and Design (2007). His work has been widely exhibited internationally to significant critical acclaim, including the award of Silver Lion for a Promising Young Participant at the 54th Venice Biennale in 2011, the Nam June Paik Art Center Prize in 2014, the Calder Art Prize in 2015, and the Collide International Award in 2017 which has led to a two-month residency at CERN, Switzerland in 2018.
Curator: Annika Kristensen
Haroon Mirza: The Construction of an Act is presented with the Melbourne International Arts Festival