Chloe Bussenchute: Show Stopper

Reflex is the most recent exhibition at M16 Artspace, being a selection of kinetic and interactive sculptures by Canberra artists. Despite being tempted by Friday night offerings of a different variety (pub, dinner, pub) I rallied myself and made it along to the opening. My efforts were not wasted: for the most part my expectations were pleasantly surpassed. But then, lurking in a far niche of the gallery was a piece that reminded my why I go to these shows, the most exquisite construction/contraption of the bunch, entitled Water 6.30am.

Two old-world projectors beam delicate images onto opposing walls – each a window onto an early morning view, one a lake, and one a river. Machine arms then introduce an element of shadow play, manoeuvring pieces of text so that they may intervene with the projector’s throw. All together, the elements of this work create a determined sentimentality; Retrograde technology (complete with whirring noise, flickering imagery) paired with simple, disarming poeticism. What it was that makes this artwork so achingly perfect is difficult to put into words (and I don’t even have an image), but watching the crowd fall into a reverent hush as they approached was testament to the fact that others felt the same.

After being totally taken by this piece I was fortunate enough to meet its maker, Chloe Bussenchute, who is making a return to the art game following a hiatus attending to the higher purpose of motherhood. She is now firmly locked into my list of ‘ones to watch’ and I am excited by the notion that even in a town the size of Canberra, there are still incredible artists out there who I haven’t yet discovered, producing artworks that near perfection.

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