synthetic polymer paint on wall
Museum of Contemporary Art, purchased with funds provided by the MCA Foundation, 2016
Emotional Wall with Everything Else was initially commissioned by Shepparton Art Museum in Victoria as one of a series of wall-painting projects at a busy local café. Before beginning the work Agatha Gothe-Snape sat in the café ‘opposite the wall, watching how the wall and the space around it was used … I half-listened to conversations about fashion, party outfits, work meetings, occupational health and safety, family dramas, creative projects and work politics.’
Four of the wall colours were selected by the artist from the Lüscher Colour Test. This psychological test, published in 1972 by Swiss psychotherapist Max Lüscher, claims to objectively measure a person’s psychological state through their responses to specific colours. The selection of colour in this work could thus reflect some aspects of the artist’s personality and mood at the time of making the work, while the response and interaction of the public also involves a level of aesthetic, and possibly emotional, choice. The dark blue section, on the right of the wall, is inserted by the artist as a contemplative space, an invitation to the viewer to ‘to pause and reflect upon those bigger, existential questions’. The white cursive phrase ‘Everything else’ can, for a local audience, evoke the word ‘Eternity’ famously written with chalk in copperplate font by Arthur Stace on footpaths in and around Sydney from the 1930s to the 1960s.
The bold flat colours also relate visually to the tradition of abstract painting, including movements such as minimalism, colour field, and developments such as monochrome painting. However, Gothe-Snape also diverges from this abstract tradition towards conceptual art, where the idea took precedence over aesthetic concerns. This is evident in the inclusion of text on the wall, the relationship to the instructional drawings of early conceptual artist Sol LeWitt and the introduction of ‘readymade’ colours drawn from Lüscher’s diagnostic kit. Gothe-Snape has stated that ‘the exploration of abstraction has been the role of a heroic male artist’ and coding the colours to the stereotypical female domain of emotion could be seen as a way to ‘feminise the picture plane’.
 Agatha Gothe-Snape, quoted in Elise Routledge, ‘Shepparton Art Museum: Drawing Wall project #9’, unpublished project description, http://www.thecommercialgallery.com/artist/agatha-gothe-snape/exhibition/122/emotional-wall-with-everything-else (accessed June 2016).
 Agatha Gothe-Snape quoted in Susan Gibb, ‘Conversation with Agatha Gothe-Snape’, Society, August 2011, http://www.welcome-to-society.com/Mother (accessed June 2016).
I wanted my drawing wall work to directly respond to its own context – its reality as a wall within a busy, thriving café in the Eastbank Centre. … I thought of all these conversations as small unfolding dramas … being played out against the backdrop of the wall. The fifth navy blue panel offers a space of contemplation where everything else can be considered. It invites the viewer to pause and reflect upon those bigger, existential questions that the busyness of life often subsumes.
Agatha Gothe-Snape, quoted in Elise Routledge, ‘Shepparton Art Museum: Drawing Wall project #9’, unpublished project description, http://www.thecommercialgallery.com/artist/agatha-gothe-snape/exhibition/122/emotional-wall-with-everything-else (accessed June 2016).
If these walls could talk… what would they say? Agatha Gothe-Snape may have the answer. Watch this installation timelapse of the work as it appeared in Primavera at 25 at MCA in Sydney, December 2016.
The artist collaborated with signwriter Will Lynes on the typography of this work.
Born 1980, Sydney. Lives and works Sydney
Agatha Gothe-Snape’s practice takes many forms, including improvised and procedural performances, dance, works on paper, collaboratively produced objects and PowerPoint slide presentations.
Gothe-Snape was commissioned to produce a major procedural piece for the 8th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art in 2014. Her work has also appeared in Art as a Verb, Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne (2014); Trace: Performance and its Documents, Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane (2014); Melbourne Now, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2013); Reinventing the Wheel: The Readymade Century, Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne (2013); Contemporary Australia: Women, Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane (2012); Power to the People: Contemporary Conceptualism and the Object in Art, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne (2011); and Primavera, MCA, Sydney (2010).
Gothe-Snape has been exhibiting since 2006 and her work is held in a number of public collections in Australia, including the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; Campbelltown Arts Centre, NSW; University of Western Australia, Perth; Griffith University Art Collection, Brisbane; Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne; Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne; and National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.