Darren Sylvester: Carve a Future, Devour Everything, Become Something is the Melbourne-based contemporary artist’s first large-scale solo exhibition in a public institution. Bringing together works spanning the entire twenty years of his career, this exhibition is a timely and unique opportunity to review Sylvester’s practice and reveals his continued discussions on desirability, authenticity and mortality, all presented in a high-gloss finish.
Sylvester is a truly multidisciplinary artist who works in staged photography, sculpture, video, installation, performance and music. Everything he creates is the result of a detailed process of planning and research, with handmade sets and props photographed in studio to resemble high street fashion campaigns and sculptural fabrications that twist subjects ranging from fast food design to an astronaut space suit to the moon itself.
Sylvester’s practice is controlled, autodidactic and constantly evolving. It represents a detailed knowledge of and interest in pop culture, pop music, advertising, cinema, fashion, our relationships with each other and perhaps most significantly, our place in the universe.
Hopes and dreams, work conundrums, loss and longing, fear of death – these are subjects that appear time and time again. Aspects of his work appropriate and transform well-known products as ‘readymades’ as a way of looking at the ways we live with, and are shaped by, branding. NGV audiences will remember the artist’s pulsating dancefloor For you, 2013, presented as part of the Melbourne Now exhibition, that enabled people to dance within a stylised ‘make-up compact’.
Sullivan+Strumpf acknowledge the Indigenous People of this land, the traditional custodians on whose Country we work, live and learn. We pay respect to Elders, past and present, and recognise their continued connection to culture, land, waters and community.