Get ready to do what you want to, whether that’s to shake, rattle, roll, grind, bump or exhale, when Melbourne based multi-disciplinary installation and video artist Martha Ackroyd Curtis brings SHE SINGS. SHE BREATHES. SHE SIGHS. to the Meat Market Stables this October. Using the mass of different mediums to bring you something that is a year in the making, this will be truly something. We sit down with Martha ahead of the exhibition.
First up, can you tell us a bit about your journey into exploring art, and in particular, using the mass of different mediums?
I spent part of my childhood and early teens in rural Victoria, which I think really helped with the development of my creativity, being around natural surrounds. I felt it was a free childhood; being able to explore native forests, climb trees, swim in dams and rivers, really, really special. I started my early art creations through clay, painting, drawing then came photography, digital arts, video, installation, and most recently using computer programs to layer sounds, samples and my own electric guitar jamming. In recent times my perception on how to use a large space, and transform it dynamically, has developed by encouraging myself to focus on a concept, be daring and brave, and learn what ‘works’.
Your upcoming exhibition is heading to the Meat Market this October, which encapsulates three ‘shows’ with one linkage… a walk-through of theatrical states of being. Can you tell us a bit about this?
I want each room to be unexpected ‘no predictability’, it is work that is made in ways that I have not done before. The linkage is the ‘theatre’ and the sense that this could be someone’s ‘life journey’, there is a sense of a poetic soundtrack influenced through the decades of music I enjoy listening too, and dancing to.
What the inspiration or influence behind the exhibition?
I had an idea last year about a show, which was kind of ‘3 shows’ or ‘3 parts’. A bit like some kind of electronic opera, with a big moments, heart pumping and sweaty, and still.
What are you hoping viewers take away from She Sings. She Breathes. She Sighs?
That art can go anywhere, be bold, brave, and just be you. Live life, love life, go for it.
We believe that you have included a rock soundtrack to accompany this show, influenced by your parents 1960’s ad 1970’s record collection, her own fascination with early rave culture, and queer music breaking on through to the other side. Why was it important for you to include music in this artform?
When I am making my art there is always music in the background, be it The Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, Lou Reed, Janis Joplin. The first piece of music I owned was a prize at my primary school disco, a Happy Monday’s record. In High school I obsessed with film as well, so collected film soundtracks, one of which documents the early years of rave, right back to the Hacienda, in Manchester, UK. I also listened to a lot of early Queer music which at it’s time of creation gave a sense of Pride to the LGBTIQ+ community, and of cause still does. This music helped carry the community through a lot. I recently saw John Grant perform, who is a contemporary electronic and instrumental musician and it was so powerful.
A year in the making, what has been the greatest challenge for you in creating this exhibition?
I think it has been a challenge, to get what is inside my mind- my imagination, and getting it right with the finished works. I also do other art related projects throughout the year so can trial aspects and if they work use them. For example the ‘optic’ videos for the upcoming exhibition I trialled this year with my other project: The Video’s Suitcase Walk.
And on that, what are you most proud of within this?
This exhibition is very FREE in terms of its expression, I have added humour, pride, a partay, elements of stillness and reflection. I want people to walk out of the exhibition and feel something be it; inspiration, courage, a smile.
Who should be seeing/experiencing this? Is it for anyone?
It is an exhibition created by a young individual but I don’t mind if cool grandma comes and checks it out. I would be thrilled!
SHE SINGS. SHE BREATHES. SHE SIGHS. will take over Meat Market Stables from October 12 – 18 October. Suss it here.