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Climate Anxiety Ark - Paul E Mason


Saturday May 07 - Friday November 18, 2022
10.00 - 5.00pm


Eureka Centre Ballarat


Museum Entry Applies


03 5333 0333


Paul E Mason’s sculptures comment on the legacy and continuation of the global colonial project and its contribution to environmental destruction.

Paul exploits the language of the museum through meticulously crafted sculptures that take the form of reliquaries and hand-cranked audio automatas and dioramas. These works could be viewed as nostalgic follies, but this is a ruse to provoke an encounter with powerful social themes.

He exposes the museum as an apologist for colonisation, as a repository for humanity’s deepest truths and its most fantastical discards. He presents its cloistered artefacts as alternately a source of unequivocal truth or frivolous, illusory spectacle. In this way he exposes the privileging of Western knowledge systems over Indigenous ones, through the classifying and claiming of the natural world and the cultural realm beyond Europe and its colonial strongholds.

He draws on the symbolism of the extinct thylacine or Tasmanian tiger – a taxidermied museum icon of Australia. In these sculptures the thylacine is presented alternately as an obsolete by-product of environmental exploitation or a DNA-resurrected harbinger for nature’s violent, and perhaps inevitable, reclamation of the Earth.

These sculptures remind us that colonisation’s impacts are ongoing, as reflected in our everyday lives and in the political and economic climate of the Australian nation and our increasingly globalised world.

Image: Paul E Mason, ‘Great Southern Gabion’ 2020, 45 x36 x20cm, brass, aluminium, gold leaf, nylon, coastal ironstone, Maralinga gravel, diorite, chert, turquoise, mudstone, lapis lazuli, graphite, stainless steel, obsidian.

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