Precarious – Nerine Martini

19 Jan - 31 Jan 2018

Precarious – Nerine Martini

Unlike previous exhibitions, “Sum of its parts” features fragments of figures and faces as though they are too big to fit on the canvas. The portraits are bursting out from the restraints of the canvas edges. They don’t want to fit “inside the box”.

Exhibition Dates

  • January19
  • Opening night
  • January31
  • Exhibition ends

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Precarious – Nerine Martini

Nerine Martini’s first solo exhibition with M Contemporary will consist of an installation, drawings and sculptures. This body of works explores notions of home, migration and belonging. Martini’s practice has involved oscillating between working with community and working in the studio: one informing the other.

The precarious is the dynamic, the path, the possibility, and the movement that is offered to human beings. The future consists in the affirmation of this precariousness – this precariousness that is also nonassured, the nonguaranteed, the nonstabilized, and the nonestablished. It will be the future because the precarious is always creative, because the precarious is always inventive, because the precarious is always in motion, because the precarious leads to new forms, because the precarious shapes a new geography, because the precarious starts with a new exchange between human beings, and because the precarious creates new values. [1]

A significant artwork in the exhibition is the Social Scaffold installation. The Social Scaffold Project has involved a process of community engagement, working cross culturally to encourage collective creativity and a sharing of ideas and storytelling. The method of participatory art, where the artist works with people who do not identify as artists, aims to encourage collective creativity, to bring migrant stories to a wider audience and to foster a sense of belonging.

During a series of workshops, held at Blacktown Arts Centre, keys were employed as talking points. Keys are objects that are invested with meaning and memories, for this project they were deployed as catalysts to begin conversations about people’s lives: past and present, their memories and dreams. The participants were invited to share their stories relating to keys.

In the final workshops we worked together to cast the keys, creating plaster molds. From these molds she has worked in the studio to create ceramic keys using porcelain clay. This material shift has transformed the key, it no longer has a functional use, it has become a symbolic object employed as a motif within the artwork. The multiple ceramic keys are suspended within a scaffolding structure, which is constructed from split bamboo tied with string. The scale of the installation has a relationship to the scale of the human body. The towers of scaffolding are weighted with small sandbags to prevent them from precariously toppling over.


[1] Thomas Hirschhorn

“Crystal of Resistance”

Lisa Lee and Hal Foster (ed)

Critical Laboratory:

The writings of Thomas Hirschhorn, October Books,

London and Cambridge, 2013 p288


Precarious – Nerine Martini

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