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In Conversation with c3 Award Recipient Amalia Lindo

We chat to inaugural c3 Award recipient Amalia Lindo about her work ‘Elast (i) city’ on display at c3 until Sunday 16 July. We discuss her creative process, how the c3 mentorship helped shape the final result, and how financial support can go a long way for emerging visual artists.

As part of the award you were provided with a fully subsidised exhibition. How important are savings like this for an emerging artist?

Exhibiting as an early-career artist is very financially straining. The expenses of working with video, photography and installation are costly and come with certain compromises. With c3 providing a fully subsidised exhibition, I could evolve elements of my installation that I couldn’t afford to do previously.

Tell us about the mentorship. How did it shape your final work?

The mentorship has been a great outlet for receiving ongoing feedback about my work throughout the year, both with Director Jon Butt and Gallery Manager Katie Paine. As this is my first solo exhibition after completing Honours, it has been a bit daunting creating work without the weekly critiques and discussion I had become accustomed to in my time at Monash. I found the mentorship provided an important transition for me from the comfortable formalities of art school into the ‘real world’. Katie also kindly offered to write a catalogue essay in support of my work. This essay kept Katie and I in constant discussion about both the research and the work itself, which, I believe, proved to be invaluable to the reading of the final work.

Is this the first formal mentorship you’ve undertaken as a practicing artist?

In addition to my mentorship with c3, I have also been undertaking an internship as a studio assistant to John Nixon, who was an influential mentor of mine throughout the course of my fine arts degree at Monash. As John’s assistant, I have had the opportunity to learn extensively about what it takes to build and maintain a career as an artist. This has been a valuable experience post art school and has continued my ongoing dialogue with John about my own practice.

Your use of the Gallery 6 space in c3 is very striking, with video works hanging at different heights and large photographic prints draped over other objects that gallery-goers have to tiptoe around. Did you have this layout in mind from the beginning? What decisions did you end up making that surprised you?

My honours graduate work was a large, multi-faceted video installation. Installation was an important focus for me during my Honours year as I felt that in previous years, I hadn’t put enough value on the importance of installation in the works’ interpretation. I had the layout for this show in mind early in the year. I felt it was important to consider the way the audience would navigate the space and thus opted to keep the work off the walls. My intention was to expand on my graduate exhibition structures by designing rotating structural mounts for each TV made from fabricated steel. The design of these structures was a lot more complicated than I originally anticipated, as I had to consider the weight and stability of each one. The structures were fabricated by the team at Webb Welding and I found they were incredibly helpful in finalising the finished product. And, thankfully they haven’t fallen…yet.

How do you source some of the home recordings in your filmic work? Do you shoot them or are some found objects?

For this particular exhibition, I sourced the majority of the recordings from YouTube. There are also certain segments that I shot myself. As this work considers our individual trajectories within a larger digital, cultural identity it was important for the selected imagery to exist somewhere within that space. Our presence in the ‘digital milieu’ is defined by the arbitrary accrual and consumption of digital material and I found that in the process of collecting the material for these films my attention was continually diverted away from the task itself.

Your work will be at Federation Square Big Screen as part of a curated exhibition later this year. Have you changed your approach for this work as you’re presenting in such a large space with heavy foot-traffic, or is it still in-line with your regular practice?

The content of the films will remain in-line with my regular practice as I think it will be interesting to present more personalised, private footage in such a public setting. However, it will mean returning to working with one screen and not having the freedom to include installation in the final work.

You’ve had a number of group exhibitions since 2015. Is collaboration your preferred method of working or being exhibited?

During Honours, we were required to collaborate with another artist. Prior to this, I was relatively closed off to the idea of collaboration. Last year, I had a collaborative exhibition with artist Samantha Barrow. The work we produced for this show really diverged from the work within our individual practices. It was, again, our continued dialogue that I found to be most valuable and as a result of this collaboration, Samantha and I will have another collaborative exhibition at c3 in 2018. While I have found collaboration to be a highly rewarding method of working, I find working on my own practice to be the real challenge.

What else can we expect from you in 2017?

Blindside will be the last exhibition that I am involved in during 2017. Following this, I intend on spending some time focussing on filming and am considering applying for post-graduate study in 2018.

See Amalia’s work alongside five other collections at c3 Contemporary Art Space until Sunday 16 July. Make sure to get in to see this great exhibition, as it’s the last chance to get your c3 fix until it reopens on Wednesday 16 August.