Wona Bae & Charlie Lawler
September 29 - November 5, 2023
Throughout most of human existence, we have lived in a complex web of relationships with all other species in addition to the air, water, and soil - an eco-centric view. We have recognised our reliance on the world around us. However, in the past couple of hundred years, this perspective has shifted. We have created a world that revolves around us, for us - an anthropocentric view.
Artists Wona Bae (South Korea) and Charlie Lawler (Australia) have added another chapter to their long career of poetic and conceptual installations that articulate the many connections between nature and the human condition.
In botany, there's a survival strategy plants use called serotiny, which simply means ‘Later’. In the Australian bush, this is exhibited by plants that retain their seeds until release is triggered by the heat of fire.
Testament to the resilience of nature, and in homage to the humble seed, one of the great innovators of the environmental world. For ‘Late’, the artists reimagine a serotinous seed-like form. Mapped within its charred spiked structure are climate data points relating to the Gosper’s Mountain mega-fire that raged for 79 days on Sydney’s northern fringe from late October 2019 to January 2020.
The humbling magnitude of Australia’s black summer bushfires serves as a reminder of how these natural systems, which have slowly adapted over millennia, stand in stark contrast to the ongoing human-induced climate emergency and the effects of decades of stalled action on climate change.
Responding to Passage's unique gallery setting, the scale and positioning of the work creates a deliberate tension with the flow of the room. Like the elephant in the room, partially obstructing the entrance, 'Late' challenges the viewer to navigate their way around the work, both metaphorically and physically.
Images by Document Photography
About The Artists
Artists Wona Bae (South Korea) and Charlie Lawler (Australia) are a collaborative duo based in Melbourne, known internationally for their installations and sculptures that navigate the visceral and symbiotic connections between people and nature.
Their installations are often site-specific and create a dialogue with the surrounding architecture or space. Their artworks deconstruct and distort familiar natural forms and present new landscapes to be considered and explored. Bae and Lawler present the natural world as active and central in an era of polarisation, inequality, inaction and apathy. Their work combines installation, sculpture, relief, sound, and photographs documenting ephemeral interventions.
The artist duo have exhibited extensively internationally and within Australia such as Gujung Art Centre, South Korea, See You Soon Gallery, Tokyo, The National, AGNSW, Sydney, Heide and NGV, Melbourne.