fine print

An Introduction to Commons

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In 2022, fine print focused on opportunities for reciprocal forms of learning, and sharing skills and knowledge in an informal, hospitable format. Through a number of programs across the year, we sought to create space for conversations around our work and the ways we work, with learning equally shared between participant and presenter.

Our COMMONS program began with a mentorship with Hester Lyon, a curator and writer based in Broken Hill. fine print guided Hester through the research and presentation of a major exhibition at the Broken Hill City Gallery that reframed and transformed the way their Collection is presented. This relationship informed Issue 28: COLLECTIONS, as the issue has informed our conversations with Hester.

returning to a subject through a lifetime is an exhibition in two parts. As part of a broader investigation of the archival, part one features Hannah Bertram’s monumental installation, Temporarily Unavailable, taking the Gallery’s building as an architectural archive. part two refocuses interest in artistic practice in the Broken Hill City Gallery Collection, negotiating the terms of the archive through the work of artists and historians whose outputs emerge from sustained engagement with Broken Hill and the Far West of NSW; its stories, people, and landscapes across many years.

returning to a subject through a lifetime represents the multiplicity of artistic processes in Broken Hill, acknowledging that the political, cultural, metaphysical, and lived experience of the Far West cannot be represented in fixed and resolute imagery. It turns to the processes through which artists work—returning, gathering, sharing, storytelling, documenting, archiving, serialising—to present a portrait of sites over time and through lesser represented perspectives.

At the centre of Hester’s thinking has been an interrogation of the very idea of what a collection represents, and the systems of value used to acquire, maintain, and conserve objects. returning to a subject through a lifetime asks: if the collection is an archive of artistic process in the past, how can the exhibition build an archive for our future?

COMMONS continues with COMMON ACCESS, expanding on Issue 29: ACCESS with a conversation around access and inclusion practices in arts and culture today; and COMMON CULTURE, presented alongside Issue 30: MONOLOGUE and inviting dialogue around care and culture with POC artists and arts workers.

Image: returning to a subject through a lifetime, installation view, Broken Hill City Art Gallery, 2022.