Josee Vesely-Manning, Ultraviolet, 2018, Wellington St Projects, Sydney. Installation view.
The objects in this body of work form an imagined cosmology or constellation; some have been previously used as performative props, in workshops, in completely altered arrangements and many incorporate found debris and waste, rocks and crystals, in new spacey forms. The images are taken from old black and white photos of my family’s performance troupe, Circus Bezercus and in many ways the exhibition itself is a trace of this idealised past, a wonky origin story of my own and its own (memory, magic) trick.
Ultraviolet has something to do with nostalgia, demons and an end of the world sublime..and various shades of purple. That the title also refers to a b grade sci fi movie and pantone colour of the year is a happy coincidence and strangely related.
Josee Vesely-Manning Black Spring 2017, Installation view, Underbelly Arts Festival and LAB, National Art School, Sydney.
Technicians/Performers: Szymon Dorabialski, Suzy Faiz, Raynen O'Keefe, Miles Sharma-Constanze.
Sound: Miles Sharma-Constanze
“The primitive mysteries, revives rape, murder, incest, revives epilepsy, sadism, megalomania, revives demons, angels, dragons, leviathans, revives magic, exorcism, contagion, incantation, revives fratricide, regicide, patricide, suicide, revives hypnotism, anarchism, somnambulism, revives the song, the dance, the act, revives the mantic, the chthonian, the arcane, the mysterious, revives the power, the evil, and the glory that is God. All brought into the open on a colossal scale, and so salted and spiced that it will last until the next Ice Age.”
Taken from the eponymously titled Henry Miller novel this exhibition is a little less grandiose than this dense passage may imply. The Black Spring envisaged makes vivid an effluvia, particular atmosphere and relates specifically to climate; where the acopocalyptic is mixed with some sort of entropy and blank magic.
Josee Vesely-Manning Zarathustra 2017. Installation view, SCA Galleries, Sydney College of the Arts, Sydney.
In Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Nietzsche crosses into openly metaphysical and resoundingly visual metaphor to describe his larger project. Even the initial idea for the writing of Zarathustra and the concept of the eternal recurrence was inspired by an ecstatic vision: a walk in Switzerland on the lake of Slivapana where he caught sight of a “mighty, uprearing, pyramidal, rock”
Concurrently his extreme aural migraines, a vision of Zarathustra and absorbed in “recent readings in the sciences, touching on the indestructibility of matter” Nietzsche declared “ I am neither mind nor body but tertium grid!” (another dimensional entity!)
In this exhibition I recall this previous encounter and use a completely invented symbology to describe it. The irony, audaciousness and perhaps absurdity of using an 19th century European philosopher, especially from a text he himself described as “obscure and riddlesome and ridiculous” to inform my practice is not lost and although I have tried to distance myself from this lens, it has remained compelling.
failed space colonies
Josee Vesely- Manning Failed Space Colonies, 2015-2016. Studio detail, steel, bitumen, ceramic, concrete, neon flex, amazonite, clear quartz, moss.
A precocious student group is viewing this model in a future when the planet is anarchist, (possibly as imagined by Ursula le Guin) -Nietzschian Nihilist solar systems, Zarathustra Star, black holes and failed space colonies being a particular interest.
This rather grand title refers to the 1972 Kenneth Anger film and borrows themes of occult symbolism and associations with Lucifer as the light bringer, the morning star and somewhat misunderstood cult icon and fallen angel.
The films counter cultural drug and rock’n' roll tableau, imbued with Angers own homoerotic gaze and idiosyncratic style, is more of a slight trace or initial impetus. So although the sculptural objects may recall magical sigils and satanic motif, of more interest is the unique “Lucifer” colour chart that they form - perhaps informed by more demonic referents such as consumerist retail display and corporate logo.
Josee Vesely-Manning Magic Nihilism 2016. Installation view, SCA Galleries, Sydney College of the Arts, Sydney.
Magic Nihilism is an imagined universe, an unhinged architectural model and “order of things” that conceptually alludes to a present encounter with current geo-political and environmental crisis, global hegemony and the material ruins and waste of late capitalism (and its political precedents). Matter as both a physical and metaphysical referent with ambitions towards the other worldly whilst being firmly planted in the banal and everyday.
Michael Needham, Josee Vesely-Manning Foreverland 2012. Park Towers Housing Estate, Seventh Gallery and Emerald Hill Library Annexe.
This project began under the title I am an Artist/ I am not an Artist and was interested in exploring themes of social inclusion, ethnicity, displacement, gentrification, isolation and notions of “community” in the context of public housing estates. Not surprisingly, other outcomes soon emerged which raised more self referential questions of artist as ethnographer, site specific art works and its implications within cities (subversion for hire) the incorporation of the architectural and physical features of the blocks themselves and the often humorous, sometimes awkward and far more idiosyncratic encounters with the residents themselves.
My interest in nihilism within contemporary material culture was initially informed by my engagement, both as an artist and curator, with disused and disenfranchised urban spaces. I’ve organised exhibitions and events under bridges, in old foundries, car parks, vacant lots, in disused warehouses and shopfronts and other indeterminate zones, although the impetus in some of these earlier encounters was often more to do with lack of money and interest in spectacle than more theoretical contingencies.
I am an artist / I am not an artist
Michael Needham, Josee Vesely-Manning I am an artist/ I am not an artist 2010, 2012. Site specific installation and workshops with Park Towers Housing Estate. Assisted by the City of Port Phillip Cultural Fund, Arts Victoria and Gertrude Contemporary Studio 18, Melbourne.
For the initial few weeks of the project we installed a gold party shop party curtain in the central lift and conducted informal interviews with interested residents about what “art” they would like to see on the estate. These formed the impetus on many of the artworks and interventions (but also an interesting performative work in itself). The most dramatic intervention was a rainbow arc that we installed on the roof of this 30 story iconic building and the disused water feature of the rocks in the central courtyard, the estates own sculptural “readymade”, which, with interested residents, we transformed with gold leaf.
Josee Vesely-Manning Centrefolds 2010. Digital light jet print and polaroids. Wardlow, Melbourne.
Dirty magazines, Mad Max, old hot rods, road kill, Australia, summer and sex.
Josee Vesely-Manning Rude Flowers, 2018. A bastardised Australian version of "Rue de Flores" the street where Gertrude Stein and Alice B Tolkas lived in Paris, a small book of poems and prose to be published in late 2018.
Josee Vesely-Manning Planet Caravan, 2013. Caravan Studios and Gallery, Melbourne.
comic en jose
Josee Vesely-Manning Comic en Jose 2009-2012. Zine and blog consisting of collage, paintings, photos, poems and speculative text.