A&D's Bonita Ely presents Plastikus Progressus at Documenta 14
- When 8 Apr - 17 Sep 2017
Pireos 256, 18233 Athens, Greece
A pioneer of environmental art UNSW Art & Design longstanding lecturer in sculpture, performance and installation and now Honorary Associate Professor Dr Bonita Ely's major work Plastikus Progressus has been selected to feature in the prestigious documenta 14 event at Athens School of Fine Arts.
One of the most recongised international platforms for contemporary art, ideas and culture documenta is one of the most influential global gatherings of artists, curators, activists, critics, educators and scholars.
Plastikus Progressus takes the form of a futuristic museum display set in the year 2054, addressing issues of water pollution and effect had on ecosystems, wildlife, and human health.
The work consists of a central sculptural diorama, contextualised by photographs, works on paper, and a touch screen wrapped around three walls. Visuals elements convey a story that begins in 2000BC, documenting the rise of homo sapiens and their use of warfare and invention, and ends in the year 2054, a date selected based on the poem by Lau-Tzu, Tai Te Ching, that foretells the destruction of the world by those who tamper with it.
As part of this cautionary tale of environmental degradation and the impact of human activity, Ely highlights specific dates including: 1907 (when the first synthetic plastic – bakelite – was invented); 2017 (documenting the pollution of river systems in Greece, Germany, and Australia and unfiltered run-off into the world’s oceans); and finally 2054 (where spectators are confronted by machine-monsters, which Ely constructed with vacuum cleaners, gathering trash off the streets of Sydney and mangroves surrounding the Cooks River).
Bonita Ely’s work is represented in national and international collections and has been selected for prestigious national and international events. Recent public art projects include; Thunderbolt for the celebrations of the 10th Anniversary of the Sydney Olympic Games at Sydney Olympic Park, and Lake Thunder, a public sculpture commission for the 4th International Sculpture Symposium, Hue, Vietnam (2006) and Longevity: Scissors and Sickles, public sculpture commission, 3rd International Sculpture Symposium: Hue, Vietnam (2002). Recent solo exhibitions include The Murray’s Edge (2009) at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, at Bellas Milani Gallery, Brisbane, Queensland (2009), The Cleveland Street Project, Performance Space, Sydney (2006) and Outside Inside: Fragments in Place, Museum of Art, Brigham Young University, Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.A. (2003–04). In 2010 she was invited to exhit in the group shows, In the Balance, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, the Australian Experimental Art Foundation, Adelaide, and at Campbelltown Arts Centre, NSW.