Museum of Contemporary Art, purchased with funds provided by the Coe and Mordant families, 2011
multi-channel digital video, colour, sound, 13 CRT televisions, synthetic polymer paint on wooden pallets
H 188 W 440 D 220cm
Justene Williams creates still and moving imagery in her ‘lens-based’ practice. She interrogated the camera as ‘a machine for making images’ in her earlier works, which blurred the objects under the camera’s gaze, exploring different ‘marginal’ or suburban archetypes, and now, more recently, creates works that play across the boundaries between performance, portraiture and fashion.
Crutch Dance is part of a recent cycle of work that pushes lens-based imagery into painterly and sculptural realms. This work relates closely to a group of moving image works that the artist has undertaken where she creates overwhelming environments constructed from detritus, photographs and suburban props, and in the case of Crutch Dance, Williams has used a treadmill. Using similar props, she then creates costumes in which she wears for the camera.
The bizarre environments that the artist makes become the stage for increasingly odd actions built around repetitive, collaged movements – running, dancing, ducking and weaving like a punch drunk 3-dimensional painting. The figure, camouflaged against the backdrop, disappears in and out of vision accompanied by jerky movements akin to a Futurist or Cubist dance.
The work itself has a sculptural presence – it is displayed on teetering accumulations of television monitors, placed on top of hastily painted wooden pallets. The monitors remind us of their own obsolescence – they are big, bulky, black boxes that are disappearing fast – as opposed to stylish, thin plasma screens.
Justin Patton, Justene Williams, Sarah Cottier Gallery review, Frieze Magazine issue 140, 1/6/2011
I use wastefulness left in the world as a tool in my creative work. I try to respond to the symbiotic relationship that exists between humanity and its material environment.
Justene Williams, 2011