Christopher L G Hill with Gian Manik and text by Eva Birch Continuously Changing Shape

16 – 30 September 2023

Christopher L G Hill’s practice explores the intersection of anarchist practice and the precarity of art making and exhibiting. In this exhibition titled Continuously Changing Shape, cardboard cut-outs are placed on a painted surface created in collaboration with Gian Manik, which openly and playfully examine the human condition. These works sit on top of towels and milkcrates, among other stuff, which further extends and meanders around the framework of humans. Presented alongside the installation is a text by Eva Birch, which offers possible readings of the exhibition and Christopher L G Hill’s ongoing practice.  

Do you guys ever think about dying? [1] : brief notes on the “baroque” for the occasion of Chris L G Hill’s show Continuously Changing Shape
—Eva Birch

“Baroque” is like “broke” but refuses the indignity of it. Maybe the most unbaroque thing is the new design for the Centrelink Service Centres. They’re made to look like they’re full of nature, with panels of bright blue sky and bright green leaves. They scream: humans are just animals. This is the lie that the baroque counters. It tries to bring back Eros. It screams back: humans are tainted with symbols. Like what is evoked by looking at a particularly ornate church in Italy. Or like when Barbie says, “Do you guys ever think about dying?”

Chris’ images in this show are baroque. One is a truck with bunnies on it and another a medical illustration of the vein system of the human body. Both of these images take excess back to it’s first home: necessity. Jacques Lacan, a French psychoanalysis who died in 1981, says in his seminar on feminine sexuality: “The baroque is the regulating of the soul through corporal radioscopy.”[2] X-raying someone could be a really aggressive love poem, like, look! I found your heart!    

The baroque does not produce stories, but rather “storyette[s].”[3] “Storyette:” a feminine, diminutive story aka gossip aka a true story. Like in 2014 when you used to be able to print out poetry book PDFs at the Moreland Road Centrelink. Like, I know that’s true, because it was told to me by someone I loved.

[1] Barbie, directed by Greta Gerwig (Warner Bros. Pictures, 2023).
[2] Jacques Lacan, On feminine sexuality: The limits of love and knowledge, trans. Bruce Fink (New York; London: WW Norton & Company, 1998), 116.
[3] Ibid., 107.

Christopher L G Hill is an artist, poet, anarchist, collaborator, teacher, learner, facilitator, curator, collector, lover, friend, publisher of Endless Lonely Planet, noise proprietor, gardener, co-label boss; Bunyip trax, dancer, considerate participator, graff bencher, eater, exhibitor: TCB, Savage Garden, a car, BUS, Physics Room, Westspace, Punk Cafe, Sydney, 100 Grand street NYC, Lismore Regional Gallery, Station gallery, Good Press, Gambia Castle, Conical, robert heald gallery, Pricilla’s, Laila Gallery, Hyacinth, Niche Fetish, Connors Connors, peepee poopoo, GCAS, NGV, VCA, Mission Comics, Slopes, Art Beat, Papakura Gallery, Neon Parc, UQ Gallery, Tate Modern, Glasgow International, Suicidal Oil Piglet, SAM, Kings, Chateau 2F, Sandy Brown, OFLUXO, New Scenarios, Dungeon and Meadow, Flake, Upplands, Utopian Slumps, Sutton, Rearview, Caves, Joint Hassles, a basement, shed, backyard, Innens publications, and blogger, twitcher, sleeper, Biennale director (Naarm/ Melbourne Artist initiated), retired gallerist Y3K, DJ, etc; who represents them self and others.

Gian Manik is an artist whose approach to painting is informed by an irreverence for genre and resistance to stylistic categorisation. Driven by a compulsion to paint, Manik’s artworks move dexterously between the polarities of figuration and abstraction, often sprawling into the modalities of fashion and music. Within Manik’s layered surfaces, references from the fabric of his daily life and familial history converge with gestural passages to form a chaotic palimpsest of representation and memory. Nostalgic, melancholic and facetious, Manik’s paintings vibrate with emotional and compositional intensity.

Eva Birch is a poet and psychoanalyst-in-training. She is the author of Megalodon (SOd Press 2019) and Pearl (Rabbit, forthcoming). She is the founder of The Melbourne School of Literature which she programs and teaches for.