A Connective Reveal

Audio descriptions: Artworks in the exhibition On Earth.

Robert Andrew 'Country Land

Robert Andrew, A Connective Reveal – Country, 2021, soil, aluminium, string, electro-mechanicals, 120 x 180 x 240cm. Courtesy of the artist and Milani Gallery, Brisbane. Photo: Louis Lim.

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A Connective Reveal – Country by Robert Andrew, 2021.

This installation artwork consists of a square pillar of packed soil on an elevated white rectangular floor platform, which is 10 centimetres high, by 240 centimetres long and 180 centimetres wide, with aluminium, string and electro-mechanical components. The pillar is 37 centimetres square and approximately 110 centimetres high. It was constructed in the gallery by the artist. The pillar of soil is largely grey, with light and dark variations and flecks of vibrant orange ochre, creating an irregular central line of thin horizontal bands from top to bottom, on all sides. The soil is tightly packed and smoothed on the outside, and the pillar positioned centre back on a metal square base.

The top of the pillar is an irregular shape of loose earth. Coming out from off centre of the pillar is a thin and strong piece of white string, stained from the soil, that is hidden within the work. The hidden string lies coiled through each layer of soil and attached to the inner base of the work. It extends out through the top of the pillar to a silver metal pulley on the ceiling and then down at sharp angle to a metal spindle at the front of the floor platform. The spindle is just above the platform, sitting between two square bases on either end, and being turned very slowly by a programmed mechanical motor.

At the base of the pillar is an ever-growing pile of fallen clumps of earth, increasing as the pillar slowly crumbles in real time as the string is pulled. The motor makes a mechanical whirring sound and vibration, and it will continue turning for the full duration of the exhibition. A rounded inner core is revealed within the pillar amongst the external collapse of the soil.

Robert Andrew is a descendant of the Yawuru people from the Kimberley region, Western Australia, and he also has European and Filipino heritage. He explores his identity through his artwork and practice-led research to investigate denied and forgotten personal and family histories. In this work he combines old and new to create visual storytelling, with the programmed electromechanical components generating erosion of the earth and exposing and creating new layers and residues.