The much-anticipated solo exhibition by leading West Australian artist Olga Cironis, Forest of Voices is presented in the form of an immersive sound installation in PICA’s First Floor Gallery until Sunday 10 January 2021.
The act of seeking and collecting mementos of human exchange is central to Cironis’ practice. To create Forest of Voices, Cironis invited people from diverse communities to anonymously share their personal experiences and stories of love.
“Forest of Voices is about listening to the ‘other’ as fragments of private intimate conversations that play all at the same time through small, suspended speakers,” said Cironis. “There are whisperings of desires, love, pain, loss and fear.”
“Together with recordings of the four elements, they create a delicate chorus of voices, a sound that from a distance is similar to the wind through branches.”
The work was created from more than 64 hours of recordings from individuals from around Australia, in particular WA. These included members of community groups from French, Palestinian, African and Latino backgrounds; key creatives from the Perth arts community, schoolchildren and strangers Cironis approached in the street.
“My art practise centres around exploring the impact that history and memory have on personal and shared identity,” said Cironis. “This installation is a timely reflection on shared vulnerability and the possibilities contained in social acts. Reflecting our environmental emergency and COVID-19 that has changed how we are in the world.”
“PICA is thrilled to have commissioned this significant new work by leading Western Australian artist Olga Cironis,” said PICA Director Amy Barrett-Lennard. “The journey of its creation has involved a great number of timely and meaningful conversations and the generous participation of many people.”
“We thank each and every one of them for their enthusiasm and candour and acknowledge the role they have played in creating this beautiful vocal forest,” said Barrett-Lennard.
Olga Cironis is a multidisciplinary artist who explores the murky undertones and impact that history and memory have on personal and shared identity. She examines the notions of belonging in today’s cultural globalisation – in particular, appropriated histories and accepted attitudes on belonging in the Australian cultural and social landscape.
Within her work are layers of research, collected stories, muted voices and cultural heritage. Cironis’ work is psychologically loaded with meaning, provoking and seducing the viewer, navigating them through history and inviting them to question our social and environmental connections.
By engaging viewers to become part of her work, Cironis questions the meaning of public and private space, gender and social norms that permeate our accepted actions. Her artistic investigations are founded upon her Greek, Czech and Australian heritage. These aspects are used to engage people beyond the familiar.
Olga Cironis: Forest of Voices
First Floor Gallery – PICA, 51 James Street, Northbridge (Perth)
Installation on display until Sunday 10 January 2021
For more information, visit: www.pica.org.au for details.
Image: Olga Cironis in the Forest of Voices installation at PICA – photo by Bo Wong