​Martinis Roe’s recursive meditation on the intricacies of discourse is the embodiment of a utopian impulse to rebuild communication via an entirely alternative model.

Image: Alex MARTINIS ROE, A Box for Vertical Relations (detail), 2012, acrylic glass, twenty-four borrowed library books by female authors who have had interpersonal and/or textual relations to the authors either side of her in the stack, 41.6 x 36.7 x 46.1 cm

Alex Martinis Roe

Born 1982, Melbourne, lives and works in Berlin

Who speaks? What can be spoken about? And under what conditions? Alex Martinis Roe’s work is about the structure and nature of communication and, through a series of carefully framed events that flow across a number of years and iterations, she explores the implications of asking these questions in the context of art.

Martinis Roe’s stages interviews and conferences, talks, workshops and demonstrations, each specifically mounted with regard to how they will be recorded on video, as text, as posters or as wall works. She will simultaneously liaise with her interview subjects and seek their input into the final form of the communication. “Motivated by an intense interest in the quality and affect of relations between people and texts, I work as an artist in order to practice a politics of sexual difference,” Martinis Roe has said of her process. “This is a positive practice that affirms its genealogy within the history of feminist art practice and then sometimes ruptures it toward a future symbolization of difference.”

The work revels in the residue of communication. Anti–Vertical Demonstration Expanded Workshop (2010) elaborated a complex exchange between those who ‘wish to reduce the image and those who wish to produce it’, a battle between reduction of image to text and its inflation to the image, a process that resulted in an installation that included among its many parts photocopied poster–books, three trestle tables, nine participants, staples, contact microphones, amplifier, projector and headphones. Free Associations (2010) involved twenty–five to thirty participants writing with white chalk on a white chalk boards, an activation that invited its participants to reveal their inner thoughts in a public space yet remained free of scrutiny by virtue of the text’s invisibility.

Martinis Roe’s recursive meditation on the intricacies of discourse is the embodiment of a utopian impulse to rebuild communication via an entirely alternative model. That her project’s complexity belies immediate comprehensibility is its true aesthetic realm – this is a pure communication that brings forth both what can be said and what can be imagined.

Text by Andrew Frost, a Sydney based art critic, writer, academic and broadcaster, who contributes to a variety of national and international publications.

2014 Post Doctoral research at the Universität der Künste, Berlin
2013 Anne & Gordon Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarship
2011 PhD Fine Arts, Monash University, Australia
2007 International Summer Academy of Fine Arts, Salzburg, Austria: workshop with VALIE EXPORT
2005 Bachelor of Fine Arts with First Class Honours, Monash University, Australia

Artist's website: www.alexmartinisroe.com


Samstag Museum of Art, University of South Australia, acknowledges the Kaurna people as traditional custodians of the land upon which the Museum stands.