Action 8: Colour

Use colour


Grbich and Reynolds have a strong collaborative practice that began with Urban Sun Project commissioned for ACE Open’s ‘Plenty’ in 2018. Our practice has been shaped by international residencies at Hangar (Lisbon) and PHASMID Studios (Berlin). Most recently we have undertaken residency and installation Time Traveller for Hole for Sauerbier House with upcoming work Last Nights in Cities for VERGEspace continuing our collaborative performative works in urban spaces.  As a collaborative duo composed of an emerging and mid-career artist, we bring different skills and experiences to our works. One would like to think they are funnier than the other, one of us has a research degree and gets a little haughty about art theory. One is on Jobseeker and the other is on JobKeeper. Our collaborations are fuelled by charcoal cooked sardines, a love of which we picked up in Lisbon. 

Nettling builds on our recent residency at Sauerbier House where a patch of stinging nettles was incorporated into a shrine-like installation. We became interested in these common but powerful plants as they pushed their way through the soil in our suburban backyards. Stinging nettles are associated with women’s domestic magic: with strength and fortitude, utilised as a tonic to support bodies during menstruation and childbirth. Nettles are also a source of dream power; the stings have been used to prepare dreamers for their dreams. Rather than respond to any specific cultural narrative or history, we explore our own relations with this plant by collecting and nurturing it as it emerges in our local area. Every evening before going to bed we allow the plant’s sting to carry us into our dreams. We have used our artistic skills to record emergent personal imagery that we will exhibit as a barometer of the plant in us.

We were given the provocation of working with colour, which led us to the way that plants use color as attractant: the bee desiring the flower, the insect drawn to the carnivorous plant that devours it. We began to grow carnivorous plants. We became interested in plants that cause human pain and eventually started farming the stinging nettles in our gardens. It was through this process that we came to 'nettling', where we allow these plants to sting and irritate us and are attentive to our thoughts and dreams for fleeting images that map the presence of the plant in us.

Sasha Grbich & Kelly Reynolds, Nettling (detail), 2020, installation. Photo courtesy the artists.
Sasha Grbich & Kelly Reynolds, Nettling (detail), 2020, installation. Photo courtesy the artists.