January 25 - March 5, 2023
Eduardo Wolfe-Alegria interprets his memories and encounters through a lens of surrealism, drawing from tropes of mythology and fantasy to create imagery that is at once anthropomorphic, psychedelic and camp. “Opening Ceremony” is an installation that interprets the grasses and fields of Walbunja country or the Southern Tablelands where the artist lived for five years on a remote property.
Due to the weather phenomena of La Nina effecting most of Australia, this area endured increased rainfall and abnormal temperatures. It was during this time Wolfe-Alegria observed the fields near his property erupt with life, transforming what was normally dry grassland into a sea of psychedelic plants and colour. Some of the plants were introduced species or exotics, some native species like Australian orchids and lilies, as well hundreds of different types of fungi.
However, it was the influx of yellow dandelions that entranced Wolfe-Alegria and led to the creation of “Opening Ceremony”. Like a field of lemon drops, Wolfe-Alegria watched the bright petals of the dandelion unfurl each morning and hug itself closed at the end of its day. Seeing this enmasse allowed the artist to observe the dandelion’s beguiling rituals and ceremonial devotion to the sun; however, its unrelenting spread became a persistent reminder of the environmental imbalances it brings with it.
Though the dandelion is a sweet small flower, it is hard to ignore that such a weed can cause negative effects on Australia’s native flora, and its embodiment of colonial tropes and the Anthropocene. The dandelion is tough, persistent, and competitive, drinking much of the water its neighbouring plants need to survive. Its root systems grow deep and can withstand most extermination methods, and if a broken root remains, it will regrow with an unrelenting speed. Wolfe-Alegria’s dandelions tower in scale, dwarfing the foliage growing below. Their monstrous mouths gape with teeth like petals, exploring the dark undercurrents of the unassuming flower.
“Opening Ceremony” celebrates daily ritual and ceremony as a poetic reminder of the interconnectedness of life. Conversely, Wolfe-Alegria's dandelions help us see how changes in our climate, such as La Nina, can affect and even sometimes encourage the survival of the incessant. Amplifying the inhospitable environment that introduced species inflict on native land.
Installation Images Photographed by Document Photography
About The Artist
Eduardo Wolfe-Alegria is a painter, sculptor and drawer. He holds a Master of Fine Art, from Sydney College of the Arts and has exhibited at Airspace Projects, Hazelhurst Regional Gallery, Gaffa Gallery and The Bearded Tit. He also teaches Illustration and drawing at UTS. Eduardo draws from tropes of fantasy and mythology to reinterpret his environment, creating imagery that is at once metamorphic, psychedelic and surreal. Laced with a distinctly queer sense of camp and humour his fantastical artworks seek to remind us of our connection to the natural world, with its seen and unseen forces.
Artwork Details Photographed by Tanja Bruckner