Lives and works in Melbourne
Through critical investigation James Geurts draws out geographic and conceptual forms that are layered within specific sites of research. The artist examines how natural and cultural forces shape perception.
Geurts works across the disciplines of sculpture, drawing, video, photography and Land Art.
Exhibitions include: National Gallery of Victoria; White Cube, London; TarraWarra Biennial, awarded the ACME Studio residency London, Australia Council for the Arts, Gemak, Den Haag Netherlands; Centre for Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv Israel; The Sovereign Asian Art Prize, Hong Kong, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide; La Chambre Blanche, Quebec; and the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art.
SEISMIC FIELD / 2018
Seismic Field examines the relationship between geophysical forms and consciousness. Geurts intervenes the processes of scanning, polaroid photography and 3d mapping as site actions, disrupting the form and colour field, blurring the lines between geology and technological praxis. The works investigate seismic phenomena and cultural context, amplifying their perceptual and physical thresholds.
NATIONAL GALLERY OF VICTORIA
Floodplain identifies a series of sites and cultural institutions along the floodplain of the 242 kilometre Yarra River (Birrarung) to examine conceptually where the ancient river and the contemporary city collide.
Based on more than six months of field and archival research undertaken by James Geurts at the State Library Victoria and Melbourne Water, this project explores the impact of floods on the environment and their residue. Floodplain examines where the river has been significantly rerouted or widened over time, in order to influence the potential of future floods, and it draws out unique connections between the river and key cultural institutions situated within the Yarra floodplain.
This project suggests the natural power of great floods through a series of photographs capturing site-specific light installations. The neon sculptures by Geurts signal the high-water marks of historic Yarra floods, and represent the debris and residue left after the water has subsided.
His photographs, taken at the intersection of day and night, give form to the invisible force and breadth of floods.
TOPOGRAPHY OF WATER / 2014
Topography of Wateris a series of site and time-specific works on paper and Polaroid photographic works made at various water bodies around the world. This series of works was made at threshold sites, the meeting place of two bodies of water: Sydney Harbour/Pacific Ocean; St Lawrence River/ Saguenay River, Quebec, Lagoa de Obidos /Atlantic Ocean, Portugal, Halifax Harbour/Atlantic Ocean, Nova Scotia; Birrarung River /Port Phillip Bay, Victoria; Towamba River/ Twofold Bay, Eden; Tidal River/Bass Strait, Victoria; Upper Yarra Resevoir/Birrarung River, Victoria.
Drawing In, Drawing Out: Sydney Harbour/Pacific Ocean,was made on-site during the in and out going tides, drawing toward and away from the body consecutively, relating the five-hour tidal moment to breathing in and breathing out.This process is referred to as ‘psycho-topographical mapping’ – a practice associated with psychogeography and its exploration of place and perception. Frequently the works are developed across a number of media in response to a single site in what Geurts refers to as ‘expanded drawing practice’.He gains a sense of each place through extended periods of fieldwork, taking note of what the site reveals, hides and suggests over time.
Drawing : Psychogeographyworks involve modifying the developing process of large format Polaroid photography at each site. Geurts exposes the chemical layers of the film to extreme temperatures, humidity and salinity, whilst drawing out abstractions through his gestural intervention on the film’s surface. These gestures seek to align with the physical dynamics, atmosphere and psychological states suggested by the site. This process of combining drawing techniques to translate a sense of space and the movement of water bodies aims at an ‘expanded potentiality’ of experience that conveys both the shared and distinct features of the geographical locations in which he has worked around the globe.
In 2013 Geurts established an ongoingconceptual art project called the Embassy for Waterthat functions as a curatorial and critical umbrella for a water-based series of artworks and events. Embassy for Wateractivates the central role of water as a physical and imaginary presence in the interwovenwaterways throughout the world, with which the human water-body is a part.
Through this spatial multiplicity, Embassy for Waterdraws together particular water flows as part of an inescapably global water body that defies national boundaries. In collaboration with artist and curator Julie Louise Bacon (UK/AU), he devised an iteration of the Embassy for Waterthat formed part of Leeuwarden’s successful bid to be named European Capital of Culture 2018. This will result in a year-long program of art events in the Dutch city and the surrounding area.
- James Geurts, 2014