GAGPROJECTS is proud to present High Society by Matt Huppatz.
Someone once said that artists don’t like to answer questions and prefer to ask them.
This work is a collision of ideas which, in my head, makes a kind of (queer) sense. These involve domesticity, interior decoration, class, and hetero-homonormativity. It marks a turn towards a deep embrace of colour, acknowledging it as a primal force that has the ability to access or provoke feeling, emotion, and memory.
The paintings, as quasi-portraits, point sideways, most notably to a specific historical text. This is a broadcast from the red carpet at the opening of Her Majesty's Theatre (Grote Street, Adelaide) in 1962.The recording is enthralling, simultaneously fascinating and repulsive. While colour plays a significant part in the descriptions of the ladies’ evening wear, the broadcast seems to emanate from a parallel universe. It is so completely familiar, yet so entirely strange. It makes me wonder how much things have really changed.
The concept of High Society arose here, but inevitably links to another strain of interest: the social and cultural use of drugs. Most of my work in this area has alluded to altered perception, and the subcultural use of entheogenic and “party” drugs. More recently, I have reflected upon the increased use of psychiatric drugs, and pharmaceuticals more generally. Reflecting on this work after the installation, I realised that the title could easily have been High Anxiety. Whether our drug use is prescribed or illicit, it seems to say something about our cultural, social, or (gasp) spiritual balance of our lives.
Matt Huppatz is an Adelaide-based artist. Over the past decade, his practice has been inspired by sites that range from the domestic to the underground. Huppatz applies a queer eye to experience, often throwing light on to areas of dark or colourful transgression. He is curious about the stories we tell ourselves to create meaning in a post-human world. This betrays an interest in the borders of language, and the sites and states where it begins to break down. Themes of contradiction, community, freedom, chaos and dissolution recur throughout his work.
Matt Huppatz has shown in group and solo shows in Australia and abroad, including: High Society, GAGPROJECTS, Adelaide, 2019 (solo); Threads, GAGPROJECTS, Adelaide, 2018; Into My Arms, ACE Open, Adelaide 2018; FELTcult at Hobiennale, Hobart, 2017; Soft Spot/Hard Feelings, Holy Rollers, Adelaide, 2017; Queer Passages, SASA Gallery, University of South Australia, 2017 (solo); Dug and Digging With, Australian Experimental Art Foundation (AEAF), 2016; Work! AEAF, 2015 (solo); Sydney Contemporary 13; Mildura Palimpsest 9, 2013; The Utopia Project: LA, Concord Art Space, Los Angeles, 2013; Instinct, Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide, 2012; Supermarket Art Fair 2012, Stockholm; SOFT CORN, FELTspace, Adelaide, 2010; Shed Light Works, Project Space, Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia, 2009; and Hatched09 National Graduate Show, Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, 2009. Huppatz is a lecturer in Contemporary Art in the School of Art, Architecture, and Design at the University of South Australia.