Adam Stone

My practice deals with the inherent desire of young people, particularly males, towards risk-taking behaviour as a means of understanding themselves and their place in the world, even if it ends in scenes of failure or disaster. I use personal narrative and instances of extreme sports as a vessel to implement my ideas. My primary works are large-scale sculptures examining high risk/high reward behaviour.

The hubris, schadenfreude and jouissance that follow these actions activate a charge and helps to reveal their desirability. Exploring masculinity and rites of passage gives grounding to the inescapable tradition of this behaviour. These jubilant instances of hubris can be extrapolated and are found in both historical and contemporary political and cultural falls from grace. In these moments, the myth of Icarus and the teenage skateboarder become assimilated through their desire to push the boundaries of the known. Conceptually, this can transcend the personal to explore a global narrative such as the global financial crisis.

Recently, my practice has expanded to investigate and challenge areas of hubris outside my immediate experience. I have developed a particular fascination with sporting celebrity Lance Armstrong and his fetishised superhuman characteristics, which have now been exposed as fraudulent during his public fall from grace. This notion of hubris resulting in inevitable slippage is my practice’s primary concern.

As part of this development, I have begun using electronic components in my practice. To realise these ideas, I created a major installation piece based on automatic glass sliding doors. These are the kind you would come across at the entrance to a public space (a hotel lobby, shopping centre or hospital) with the face of Lance Armstrong printed on the front of the mechanism. An apt poster boy of male hubris, Armstrong’s image is ruptured by automatic sensors that open and close the doors – rebuilding his brand value consistently only to tear it apart again. The work activates the viewer in a scenario where representations of consumerism and commodity amalgamate under the same banner of tarnished image-distortion, social decay and public reckoning, creating jumbled narratives seemingly intended for mass consumption.

Adam Stone will be participating as a guest artist with Fort Delta, Melbourne, in Spring 1883, until September 3.

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