Sumer is pleased to present the inaugural exhibition of its 2022 program: Journeys in the Lifeworld of Stones (Displacements I–X), a major body of recent photographic work by Athens-based artist Andrew Hazewinkel, created between 2010 and 2020.
Journeys in the Lifeworld of Stones (Displacements I–X) focuses on a selection of cultural artefacts now owned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Met). And includes archival material from the John Marshall Collection held at the British School at Rome. (Marshall was a scholar of Greek and Roman sculpture, who between 1906 and 1928 acted as the European agent for antiquities to the Met.)
At the lower margin of the photographs are digital reproductions of photographic negatives dating from the late 19th and early 20th century. These archivally-sourced images represent ancient objects—objects which were created as expressions of profound human emotion: love, celebration, loss. The inclusion of these images’ is key to Hazewinkel’s work, as is the knowledge that these images, and others like it, aided the acquisition of cultural artefacts by some of today’s largest universal museums, particularly at a time when New World institutions scrambled for Old World cultural legitimacy.
In each of the large, chromatically sumptuous and physically immersive photographic compositions that comprise this series we see the artist’s own photographs of those artefacts he first encountered as images in the archive, as they stand in the galleries of the Met today. By bringing together these two associated representations, and including related archive cataloguing data and accession numbers in the works’ titles, he highlights the moment when these ancient objects—originally connected with specific places and lives of others—became institutionalised. His materially grounded perspectives position this as a process of decontextualization, which for him is associated with the sense of loss that emanates from the displaced cultural artefacts that comprise the archaeological collections of universal museums.
Journeys in the Lifeworld of Stones (Displacements I–X) juxtaposes the truncated, flattened histories these objects now tell with photographs of grand landscapes, seascapes, sunsets and flora from the Mediterranean regions where the objects were originally made. By doing so he sheds light on the meanings, knowledge and understanding that are lost by their presence elsewhere; the body of work speaking to the current, nuanced, international discourse responding to the sometimes narrow perspective on the important matter of the repatriation of cultural objects.
Hazewinkel is interested in the contemporary social afterlife of ancient objects, stories and archetypes and the future-shaping roles they may play. This body of work weaves together his interests in the entangled relationships between materials, memory and the body, and the personal and social tensions that reside between damaged ancient figurative sculpture and our own soft ephemeral bodies.
Andrew Hazewinkel has presented work at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Art Gallery of New South Wales, National Gallery of Victoria, Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne, Ian Potter Museum of Art—the University of Melbourne, Perth Institute for Contemporary Art and The British School at Rome. In 2015 he was sole Australian representative at the 31st Ljubljana Biennial following which details of his project were presented at the Boghossian Foundation Villa Empain Brussels. He is currently working toward an exhibition with the Finnish Institute at Athens and a large sculptural commission for Melbourne. He lives and works in Athens, where he is Creative Research Fellow at the Australian Archaeological Institute. His work is represented in national, institutional and private collections in Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand and further afield.
A digital version of the catalogue for Journeys in the Lifeworld of Stones (Displacements I–X), including documentation of all ten photographs, P.G Johnston’s essay, titled "Presence Elsewhere", and a suite of artwork-specific artist notes composed by Hazewinkel during the development and making of the work, can be downloaded by clicking on the link below.