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10.05 - 09.06

Louise Haselton is a visual artist who employs a range of presentations. Her practice explores the inherent qualities of everyday materials, seeking connections and relationships between seemingly disparate materials and objects gleaned from the world around us. Haselton was awarded a Bachelor of Visual Art in 1990 from the University of South Australia and, in 2002, a Master of Fine Art (Sculpture) from RMIT University, Melbourne. She has undertaken several artist residencies, including Sanskriti Kendra, Delhi, India; Phasmid Studios, Berlin, Germany; and Blackstone Art Centre, Papalankutja, Western Australia. She has held solo exhibitions at the Experimental Art Foundation, the Samstag Museum of Art, the Contemporary Art Centre of SA, and GAGPROJECTS, Adelaide. She has participated in numerous group exhibitions, notably the pleasurable, the illegible, the multiple, the mundane, ArtSpace, Sydney, curated by Talia Linz; and Fabrik: conceptual, minimalist, and performative approaches to textiles, Ian Potter Museum of Art, Melbourne, curated by Jane O’Neill. In 2019, Haselton’s practice was the subject of the SALA Publication published by Wakefield Press, titled Act Natural. This publication was accompanied by a major solo exhibition at the Samstag Museum of Art.

Louise Haselton’s playful works seek to awaken a sense of wonder in those that encounter them. Her sculptures, installations and prints often bring objects and materials into unexpected dialogues, their meeting orchestrated by the artist as a form of conversation. The convivial atmosphere of these ‘conversations’ is generated by the startling juxtapositions of natural and man-made elements that each bring their own personalities to the encounter. As curator Gillian Brown has observed: Haselton’s aesthetic decisions take into account the inherent qualities of each element, looking not to transform but to expose them as they are, acknowledging their agency. 1This feeling of agency energises her free standing and wall mounted sculptures which possess a finely tuned sense of balance. This principle is central to her enquiry, with materials of different weight and qualities brought together in harmony. Haselton selects her elements by foraging discarded objects in the neighbourhoods surrounding her home in Adelaide’s inner west, or by sourcing materials (ranging from semi-precious stones to velvet, felt, leather) online, or through specialist shops, as well as discovering unlikely treasures in two dollar emporiums. Her assembly of these quotidian materials and unlikely objects happens through a slow, careful process of selection, the artist living with the items for months, or even years, at a time. In the final work the object may stay in its found state, or it may be altered – for example through a process of binding with wool or casting in bronze.


Haselton’s art draws on rich cultural history and is influenced by her reading and travels; for example in 2009 her first-hand research of objects created by the Angami and other Naga peoples in the remote north-east of Nagaland in India led her to make Scrutineers, 2011, now in the collection of the Art Gallery of South Australia (fig. 5). Haselton was attracted to the Naga peoples belief in animism - that not only humans, but also animals, plants, rocks, and natural phenomena possess a spirit or soul. Haselton has also drawn on early twentieth century sculptural traditions, in particular the work of Constantin Brancusi and Alexander Calder, and the Italian Arte Povera movement, with its respect for humble materials. For her forthcoming exhibition at GAG Projects Haselton has bought her reading of Adolf Loos’s polemical text Ornament and Crime (1908) to consider the tension between her gravitation towards minimalism and her attraction to adornment, recognising that these poles exist on a continuum. Her work Tracce (Traces) after Fausto Melotti, 2024 a pair of wall-mounted powder coated steel structures, re-imagines Fausto Melotti’s 1975 earrings as a large sculpture.


At the heart of Haselton’s practice is a certain paradox – a playful game of revealing and concealing. Her assemblages hint at underlying complexities, and the 2 connections between systems. One of those systems is ornament, as just discussed, another is language. It is perhaps no coincidence that the artist’s first degree was English Literature. When Haselton first became an artist, her early work (completed as part of her Masters at RMIT in 2000-2002) incorporated text. Haselton’s interest in the internal logic of language continues in her recent explorations, where the form of language – its minimal symbolic letters – are made strange, untethered to their function.

Haselton’s majestic survey exhibition of twenty-five years of her practice like cures like at the Samstag Museum of Art in 2019, revealed the ambition and quality of the artist’s work. A major monograph Act Natural by Gillian Brown and Leigh Robb, published to coincide with the exhibition, made a case for Haselton as one of Australia’s most compelling sculptors. Haselton’s work was recently curated by Talia Linz into the pleasurable, the illegible, the multiple, the mundane (fig. 7, Artspace, Sydney, 2021). In 2023 Haselton was the recipient of the prestigious South Australian Arts SA Fellowship.

Words by Maria Zagala,

Associate Curator of Prints, Drawings & Photographs

Art Gallery of South Australia


Louise Haselton acknowledges the assistance of Arts SA with this exhibition

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