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UNSW Galleries

Lisa Sammut: How the earth will approach you

Where
UNSW Galleries
UNSW Galleries
Corner of Oxford Street and Greens Road, Paddington NSW 2021
When

Wednesdays to Fridays, 10am to 5pm Weekends, 12pm to 5pm Friday 28 June to Sunday 24 November

Working across sculpture, video, and installation, Lisa Sammut’s practice oscillates between notions of cosmic perspective, belonging, connection, and time. ‘How the earth will approach you’ brings together recent works that explore the cosmos as a framework for understanding the dynamics, relations, and dimensions of our personal and social worlds.

Sammut draws on historic astronomical diagrams, illustrations, and manuscripts observing omens in celestial phenomena. Works also borrow from the visual language and performative qualities of GIF animations that document the movements and behaviours of comets. The exhibition brings human and cosmic worlds into close relationship, taking shape in the knowledge that our fate is intertwined with the events and laws of the universe. It considers human life in connection to transitions and cycles in the cosmos: the circular, orbital, elliptical, and eclipse.

Looping between the earthly and otherworldly, works incorporate objects, light, and moving image, with suspended structures intended to be viewed as drawings in space. Sammut has recently turned towards the medium of handmade glass, creating intimate, hand-held objects that speak to ideas of expanse and magnitude. Conceived as ‘cosmic eggs’, the glass sphere has become a recurring motif in Sammut’s installations, where it reflects, flips, warps, and distorts its surrounding environment. Overlaying celestial phenomena and human narratives, Sammut investigates themes of otherness, power, and agency, using the metaphorical qualities of interplanetary movement to reconsider the role of the individual, and the sway of the collective.

Curated by Catherine Woolley

Works in this exhibition were developed during a residency at Canberra Glassworks in 2023, supported by an Arts Project grant from Creative Australia.

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