single-channel digital video, colour, sound
Museum of Contemporary Art, anonymous gift, 2011
Lauren Brincat’s video Hear This depicts the artist alone in her studio during a residency in Berlin, speaking on a telephone to her mother back in Australia. The telephone is made from watermelon wedges that the artist slices and consumes as she speaks, literally eating her own words in a forlorn yet comical representation of homesickness. As the video progresses the watermelon soaks Brincat’s clothes and dirties her hair and face, creating a disquieting and awkward performance.
Sound plays a significant role in Hear This, as in many of the artist’s works. The soundtrack acts as an emotive device, drawing on both personal and cultural recollections. Unassuming noises such as the cutting of a slice of melon, or a seed falling onto the wooden floor, take on greater importance in the video, emphasising both the solitude of the figure and the intimacy of the performance. Brincat’s other video works often document repetitive actions performed by the artist – walking, eating, talking, rowing a canoe. Acknowledging performance art of the 1970s as an inspiration, Brincat describes her works as pushing ‘physical and cognitive limits’. Previous works have seen the artist hold onto the edge of a diving platform above a swimming pool for as long as possible, play a drum kit raised metres above the ground, or walk for a distance in a field of fog.
Brincat also frequently uses inanimate objects as totems. Everyday items take on deeper significance to reference wider concepts including personal memories, particular sentiments or emotions, and art-historical events. In Hear This, the watermelon, an expensive luxury brought during a cold winter in Berlin, takes on wider connotations of home, childhood, summer and Australia.
Updated and approved August 2016.
Hear This was captured in Berlin during winter 2011 … it was my first European winter and I was extremely homesick. I bought a watermelon from the local supermarket. It was imported from Costa Rica. It sat in the studio for about two weeks. It was my reward. I decided to call home with it, but found myself eating my own words.
Lauren Brincat, 2012.
Born 1980, Sydney, New South Wales. Lives and works Sydney.
Lauren Brincat’s practice encompasses diverse media, from video and performance to sculpture and installation. Influenced by her formal training in painting, the artist considers herself to be ‘a painter despite not using a brush or paint’.
Brincat has exhibited widely, including the solo exhibitions It’s not the end of the world, Anna Schwartz Gallery, Melbourne (2013); Shoot from the hip, Anna Schwartz Gallery, Sydney (2012); and Shine on you crazy diamond, Museum of Old and New Art, Festival of Music and Art, Hobart and Next Wave Festival Federation Square, Melbourne (2010). Her work has been included in group exhibitions such as LANDSEASKY, Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul, South Korea (2014); The Space Between Us: Anne Landa Award, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (2013); Contemporary Australia: Women, Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane (2012); TarraWarra Biennial 2012: Sonic Spheres, TarraWarra Museum of Art, Healesville (2012); and Tinnitus: A Symposium on Art and Rock ’n’ Roll, Department of History of Art and Architecture, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts (2012).
Brincat’s work is held in a number of collections, including the Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth; Chartwell Collection, Auckland; Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart; and SCEGGS Redlands Collection, Sydney.Learn more