Artist interview Sarah Goffman – The University of Sydney
Can you tell us about your process, how you change a discarded utility object? Is there a time for you when his transcendence is complete?
S: Sometimes I start with the object I want to copy, and then I have to find or create the appropriate form that it can be transcribed into. But other times, I find the material and it will designate its format. Finding the right container or material is a big part of the process, and then cleaning it up and bringing it back to its original design sometimes takes longer than the actual decorating process! There’s a fantastic moment when I’m in the studio where a piece I’m working on suddenly takes on decorative elements and transforms. It’s pretty magical actually, and it often is when the color has been applied. Often times, it is only when I have installed the work in showcases that I can say is ‘full’.
Can you tell us about your previous exhibitions where you have integrated museum collections? What was the response?
S: In 2005 I made a version of the Art Gallery of New South Wales Scholars table. I was so in love with it; it was the first time that I had made a direct and as precise interpretation as possible of something that I loved. Except that I had heard that at the beginning of the gallery, the roof was leaking terribly and the water was running along the walls, so I took an aquarium and I installed the works there, submerged in the water. . The works were mostly plastic, so I was highlighting their immiscibility in water.
In 2017, I made an exhibition, I am a 3D printer at the Wollongong Art Gallery responding to their Mann-Tatlow collection (given Asian art), installed in the windows where the “real” works are generally housed. Taking up all the space, I was able to make a great simulation of what was traditionally exhibited there. The answer seemed good; I remember someone who told me that he had been there while a father was showing his child, but did not understand that what they were seeing were not the actual objects but copies of them . It really did me good, not that I cheated on them, but my items were good enough to simulate the real thing!
Sarah Goffman: Applied Arts is the second project of the Penelope Gallery, the space dedicated to contemporary art projects at the Chau Chak Wing Museum. The exhibit will be on display when the museum reopens, after the Sydney lockdown.
Katrina Liberiou is Assistant Curator, University Art Collection, Chau Chak Wing Museum.
This article is a preview of our upcoming issue 27 of Muse Magazine.