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DAN ELBORNE

Displayed below is a chronologically ordered selection of projects from the last four years. To view more individual projects use the 'drop down' menu under "WORK" at the top of this page.

 

Five Hundred, 2016.

Slipcast earthenware, glaze, custom decals. 500 x .303' bullets, 2016.

Five Hundred symbolically represents my Dutch Grandfathers service during the Indonesian War of Independence (1945 – 1949). Directly after serving in WWII, he was one of a small portion of five hundred men initially drafted from Holland to the conflict in Indonesia. Each of the five hundred bullets are individually made and considerate of a balance between contemporary art practices and traditional methods of art making. The objects are cast from .303 bullets: the standard issue ammunition given to Dutch soldiers during my Grandfathers service in Indonesia. They are also cast using earthenware: the material traditionally used for the creation of Dutch “blue and white” delftware ceramics. The floral design has been produced using photographs of hand painted detailing on original delftware plates acquired by my Grandfather for his military service.  

My process and materials allow the work, as a whole, to utilize military style uniformity and broad historical relevance, while individually the objects represent notions of violence and fear as well as preciousness and fragility.

Five Hundred explores an intentional contradiction between the conceptual basis and historical relevance of the work against its visual appearance. By employing the brutality of military related forms against the delicate nature of the topic itself, I can somewhat communicate the harsh realities of war, as well as the sensitivity of memories related to it.

Photography: Grace Yu.

 

IN DEFENSE, 2016.

Handbuilt recycled/locally sourced clay, glaze, (individually) 135X3.5X3.5cm, 2016.

In Defense is a responsive protest toward the Australian federal governments (Friday, May 13th 2016) "black Friday" announcement to defund 65 previously supported arts companies and organisations.  This news follows a trend of continual attacks on the Australian arts sector since 2015, where arts funding has been severely cut alongside funding reallocations away from small-medium arts organisations and individual/emerging artists. 

In Defence presents wieldable objects reminiscent of medieval defensive measures; drawing loose parallels between an era of unfairness and brutal action alongside the nature of our current arts funding situation. 

For more information on this news follow this link.

You can also keep up to date with arts related news, events and calls to action through organisations such as NAVA

Photography: Dan Elborne

 

WHERE THEY BURN BOOKS, 2016.

Slipcast Royal Copenhagen porcelain, glaze, gold lustre, book ash, 100X18X15cm, 2016.

Where They Burn Books was created during the Project Network Symposium (session II) at Guldagergaard International Ceramic Research Centre, Skaelskor, Denmark (January - February 2016).

 

Primarily acting as a memorial to the 1933 Nazi book burnings, where over 25,000 volumes of text were deemed “Un-German” and subsequently destroyed: ‘Where They Burn Books,’ references the power, resilience and preciousness of knowledge, which is made increasingly apparent through the act of burning books for the purpose of oppression.

By strengthening these ceramic objects through the firing process; they stand as martyrs to freedom of speech, and in a contemporary context, they celebrate current societies unprecedented access to text and information.

Displayed amongst the installation are dark forms, which were created from the compressed ashes of every book used to produce this work.

The title acknowledges the writing of nineteenth-century German Jewish poet, Heinrich Heine, who’s play Almawnsor (1820-21), was burnt in 1933 Germany. Within his play Heine wrote: “Where they burn books, they will also ultimately burn people.”

Photography: Ole  Akhoj

 

GOLD, 2015.

Handbuilt Limoges porcelain, glaze, gold lustre, variable dimensions (collective average 11x7x10cm), 2015.

Gold was produced at the AIR Vallauris residency program, Vallauris, southern France (May-June 2015).

This series was created using Limoges porcelain, imprinted with pieces of pavement from the ‘old centre’ of Vallauris, and finished with copious amounts of gold lustre. Goldappeals to a historical obsession with mining valuable natural minerals, often to the detriment of the environment and respective natural habitats. Through my choice of materials and process, this series questions what constitutes modern ideas of value.

Photography: Dan Elborne.

 

REMAINS, 2014 - 16.

Porcelain coated animal bone, glaze, gold lustre. Variable dimensions. 2014 – 16.

My environment and cultural experience provide the conceptual references for my art practice. The intersection of the personal with overarching historical events further informs the work.

Clay, as a material, enables me to respond to issues related to monumental moments in history often associated with tragedy and trauma. This interest has subsequently led to research on inhumane acts carried out under the guise of scientific experimentation.

In response to this; through the use of an experimental process, Remains represents the animalistic behaviours of mankind; highlighting the glorification of brutality within historical events and contemporary culture.

Photography: Grace Yu.

 

ARBEIT MACHT FREI: WORK MAKES YOU FREE, 2014.

Handmade porcelain tiles, custom glaze, timber, metal. 251.5 x 109 x 111cm. 2014.

This project is a response to my 2012 visit to Sachsenhausen concentration camp, Germany. Exploring experiential connections between objects and their wider artistic and cultural histories, this work acts to memorialize both the Holocaust and its victims, initiated by physical contact with objects related to that history.

I chose to re-create the object that most affected me from this trip, an autopsy table, which remains in the pathology lab of the camp. The table maintains an illusion of sterility and stillness, a seemingly objective display embodied in the human sciences, and yet expresses the brutality, ugliness and suffering of innocent men, women and children.

The proportions of the table are situated between that of the original and my memory of being in contact with it, allowing the work to find a middle ground between replication and personal perception. The table is also cold to the touch, mimicking the conditions felt during my visit to Sachsenhausen, while also symbolizing the overarching nature of the work. By addressing multiple senses through the creation of an experience relative to my own, I introduce viewers to a space constructed for contemplation.

I have individually handmade each porcelain tile as a means of bringing the physicality of the body into an event shrouded by inhumane atrocities and trauma beyond understanding. Regarding my choice of material, porcelain personifies the preciousness and fragility of both personal and collective histories surrounding The Holocaust.

By creating this work, I am not suggesting that I could emulate the tragedy and horror of The Holocaust. Instead, I intend to empathetically address my limited experience of an event that affected, and continues to affect, so many.

Photography: Grace Yu.

 

ONE DROP OF BLOOD, 2013.

Handmade porcelain, glazed. Varying dimensions. 2013.

This project is partnered with the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Australia.

One Drop of Blood is a representation of the white blood cell equivalent to one drop of human blood. These cells have the purpose of attacking disease and infection. One drop containing a number that ranges between seven and twenty five thousand (this number often indicating the seriousness of whatever the body is trying to expel).

One Drop of Blood contains individually handmade porcelain cells, mimicking a high ranging white blood cell count. This projects scale and installation aim to overwhelm the viewer, while the use of porcelain connects it with preciousness and fragility, both of which echo major elements relating to the personal memory behind this work. This is overarched by ‘One Drop of Blood’ acting as a tool for raising awareness to Breast Cancer Research.

In the tradition of artist's like Felix Gonzalez-Torres; viewers are invited to take portions of the work away with them in exchange for a donation to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. This participation is intended to emulate my mothers dropping white blood cell count during chemotherapy, while raising funds toward breast cancer research.

Photography: Ben Tupas.

 

HUMAN CONDITION: SERIES I, 2013.

Slip cast porcelain, glazed and decorated with hand-drawn decals. 13.5 x 17.5 x 13.3cm. 2013.

Inspired by a range of cultural and spiritual beliefs relating to human death.

Photography: USQ Photography.

 

Background photograph by Alec Shultz.