Phoebe Kelly

Collective Breath
Incinerator Gallery, Melbourne

Nikhil James Arlo, Phoebe Kelly, and Chloe Arnott

22 July 2023 - 24 September 2023

This exhibition explores the synergy and transference of breath between body, material and architecture. Through these exchanges of energy and the embodiment of alchemy—the processes of changing atmosphere and elements into something else pure—is regarded by the artists as a Collective Breath and the exhibition itself as a living vehicle for this exchange.

Utilising the conductivity of copper, artists Nikhil James Arlo and Phoebe Kelly have etched flame-like and gestural markings to charge the metal with the memory of touch. The copper sheets have been embraced by the artists family and loved one’s bodies. Each person was instructed to take a single breath, leaving a physical or somatic relief. This breath becomes solidified when the copper plates are treated in baths of chemicals and acids, following traditional etching processes. Rather than being printed on paper the copper itself becomes a sculptural form. Suspended in the Atrium, the copper objects appear as the lungs of the room, with connected copper tubing forming tracheas that extend from the architecture.

Documentation: Giano Rizzo