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Gothe-Snape, Agatha - 2011.29-31

Agatha Gothe-Snape

Every artist remembered 2011
paint pen on Fabriano 300gsm hot press watercolour paper
180 x 140 cm (sheet); 182.5 x 143.5 cm (frame) each
Purchased 2011

For Sydney-based artist Agatha Gothe-Snape the meeting of artistic process and social context is a centripetal force. She pursues this in her practice across a range of media, including but not limited to performance, PowerPoint slide shows, workshops, texts, visual scores and collaboratively produced art objects. Her ongoing project Every Artist Remembered 2008– typifies this.

Procedural in nature, each iteration of the projectbegins as a public conversation between Gothe-Snape and an invited artist, staged in an exhibition context. To stimulate the dialogue, Gothe-Snape asks that the artist name – alternating in turn with her – every artist that he or she can remember within a two-hour timeframe. There is no restriction on who may be recalled, though there must be an association with the artist named directly before; this can be linguistic, personal, historical, geographic, gendered, aesthetic etc. Gothe-Snape uses a black pen to write each artist’s name in block letters on a large sheet of white watercolour paper pinned to a facing wall. Where the name lands on the page is up to her discretion and intuition. The final shape of each drawing provides an impression of the conversation’s variables: the number and type of names remembered, the tenor of the conversation and the mood of the room.

Three drawings from this series are held in the Monash University Collection. They were made during conversations with Australian artists Laresa Kosloff, Callum Morton and Mikala Dwyer.[1] In the Kosloff drawing, the names of two early pioneers of abstract art, Hilma af Klimt and Kazimir Malevich, are prominent in the centre of the page, appearing as catalysts for every name around them. The drawing is also notable for the high percentage of women represented. Meanwhile in the Morton drawing, names eddy across the page in a flurry of recollections, and they stretch back in time to recall Old Masters such as Brueghel, Velázquez and Bronzino. In the Dwyer drawing, the names gather and swell, moving progressively upwards from the page’s lower limit, with names such as Luke Parker, Mary Teague, Ben Terakes and Vernon Treweeke reflecting a mutual embeddedness in Sydney’s contemporary art scene.

Observing these drawings after the event, each named artist is reinscribed through the act of reading, new connections are traced, names discovered and names missing are projected into the gaps. Every Artist Remembered demonstrates that history is a construction, a constant negotiation of the relation between bodies, time and space. Within an institutional art collection, these drawings also disrupt the creation of a canon, securing a spot for artists who might have been forgotten, left out of history’s official writing or been practising outside of the collection’s acquisition policy. Every Artist Remembered brings forth the lived and fleshy reality of being an artist, with all the varied influences that entails.

Susan Gibb is the Executive Director of Western Front, Vancouver.


[1] These conversations occurred in the second iteration of the project, alongside five others (with Barbara Campbell, Ron Robertson-Swann, David Haines and Joyce Hinterding, Domenico de Clario and Ian Milliss) during the exhibition Power to the People: Contemporary Conceptualism and the Object in Art at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) in 2011.

From the series
Gothe-Snape, Agatha - 2011.29
Agatha Gothe-Snape

Every artist remembered (with Mikala Dwyer) 2011
paint pen on Fabriano 300gsm hot press watercolour paper
180 x 140 cm (sheet); 182.5 x 143.5 cm (frame)
Purchased 2011

Gothe-Snape, Agatha - 2011.30
Agatha Gothe-Snape

Every artist remembered (with Callum Morton) 2011
paint pen on Fabriano 300gsm hot press watercolour paper
180 x 140 cm (sheet); 182.5 x 143.5 cm (frame)
Purchased 2011

Gothe-Snape, Agatha - 2011.31
Agatha Gothe-Snape

Every artist remembered (with Laresa Kosloff) 2011
paint pen on Fabriano 300gsm hot press watercolour paper
180 x 140 cm (sheet); 182.5 x 143.5 cm (frame)
Purchased 2011