2019 Program

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Climb, grip, hold 

Climb, grip, hold 

Kai Wasikowski

Opening 09.01.19 6-8pm
Artist Talks 31.01.19 6-7pm

Drawing upon Wasikowski’s experience of indoor rock climbing over the past 18 months, Climb, grip, hold explores the push and pull between environments typically deemed natural and unnatural. Conditioned with the desire to traverse between such spaces, Wasikowski considers how urges to feel more connected to a natural world are increasingly satiated by technology and the possibility for immersion in simulated environments.

Looking at the historical departure of popular rock climbing practices from colonial and environmentalist agendas in the late 19th Century to more contemporary depictions of climbing in pop culture, Wasikowski’s work finds its influences from the impact of Join Muir’s naturalist literature, the psychogeographic ecology of JG Ballard’s The Drowned World to the opening scenes of John Woo’s Mission Impossible II. Through constructed photography and mixed media, Climb, grip, hold conflates ideas from these sources to consider how seemingly distant social and political agendas are embedded in activities of everyday life.

By reflecting upon the unexpected connections between indoor rock climbing and certain themes explored in Wasikowski’s practice - ideas such as ‘nature’ as it stems from Western methodology and what it means to feel in or outside of it - Climb, grip, hold explores the potential for re-imagined ecologies to pull the Modernist notion of Nature from an organic background into the technologically and ethically riddled consumer foreground.

Read Exhibition essay here


Kai Wasikowski is a multidisciplinary artist living and working in Sydney, Australia. In familiarising rapid environmental and technological change, Kai’s artistic practice maps an intimate connection with the threat of impending ecological disaster and explores the emotional reverberations of a relationship with such disproportionate scale.

Kai Wasikowski completed a Bachelor of Visual Arts (First Class Honours with University Medal) at the Sydney College of the Arts in 2016 where he was awarded the Artereal Gallery Mentoring Award and The Sydney College of the Arts Dean’s Honours Award. In 2017 Kai’s work was shown in Hatched: National Graduate Show at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts where he was awarded the 2017 Schenberg Art Fellowship and a year long Mentorship with Mikala Tai, Director, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. Recently Kai has exhibited as a finalist in the Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Award 2018 and the 2018 NSW Visual Arts Emerging Fellowship at Artspace Sydney and is a recipient of a 2018 NAVA NSW Artists' Grant for his exhibition at Firstdraft in 2019.

Solo exhibitions include Artereal Gallery (Sydney), Nicholas Projects (Melbourne), PhotoAccess (Canberra) and group exhibitions include ACP (Sydney), Sullivan+Strumpf (Singapore), The Sunroom Artspace (Canada), Rosalux Gallery (Berlin), Gosford Regional Gallery (NSW) and Wellington Street Projects (Sydney). Kai’s upcoming projects in 2019 include solo exhibitions at Artereal Gallery (Sydney) and Warrnambool Art Gallery (VIC) and a two month residency at the Three Shadows Photography Art Centre in Beijing and Xiamen.

Kai Wasikowski, ‘Living room,’ 2019, inkjet print on cotton rag, 100 x 130 cm

Kai Waisikowsky, Installation view ‘2018 NSW Visual Arts Emerging Fellowship,’ Artspace, Sydney, Photo Zan Wimberley.

Kai Waisikowsky, Installation view ‘2018 NSW Visual Arts Emerging Fellowship,’ Artspace, Sydney, Photo Zan Wimberley.

Later Event: February 6
Soft Infrastructure