(Australia 1964 – )
installation dimensions variable
Renowned for her immersive and dazzling installations, Sydney artist Nike Savvas created this work especially for the Art Gallery of New South Wales entrance court. Ordinarily this is a part of the building that people pass through on their way to other things. But Savvas, who calls it the Gallery’s ‘main street’, chose to flood it with art from end to end.
Trained as a painter, Savvas aligns herself with the tradition of impressionism, pointillism and op art – movements that evoke the dynamism of the visible world and the instability our own perceptions. But she is also an artist who likes to push abstract painting beyond its comfort zone, translating its effects of light and colour into all-encompassing physical environments.
Savvas does so here with individual ‘brushstrokes’ of custom-sewn plastic bunting – about 60 000 of them. Recalling the cheap exuberance of party streamers and caryard pennants, these strips were inspired in particular by decorations that Savvas saw on the streets of Brazil in 2010. Animated by everyday electric fans, Savvas’s field of colour swirls and regathers like an unpredictable crowd.
A rally, by definition, is a public gathering of people for a common purpose. And ‘to rally’ is to come back forcefully from a position of retreat or disadvantage. Savvas’s 'Rally' stakes a claim for art in the Gallery’s most public space, drawing us in and pulling us along with the power of colour in motion.
The artist dedicates this work to her sister Christina Savvas (1969–2013)
Jilly Sykes, Look, 'Suhanya Raffel: "I am very passionate about collections"', pg. 28-29, Newtown, Jul 2014, 28.