Figuring features over one hundred string figures made of face-mask elastic, pinned across the walls of three galleries.
Bufardeci’s project is inspired by the game of string figures, or cat’s cradles, which used to be a popular game in primary school playgrounds. Children would make Jacob’s Ladder, Cat’s Whiskers, A Broom, A Teacup or many other figures. Formed with mask elastic and presented in grids, Bufardeci’s string figures are not complete. They come from attempts to make something fully formed but they are tense, slack and entangled.
IMAGE > [Top] Louisa Bufardeci making string figures, 2022.
Image courtesy of the artist. Photographer: Dan St Clair.
IMAGE > Louisa Bufardeci, Figuring [Installation view], 2022.
Photograph: Theresa Harrison Photography.
IMAGE > Louisa Bufardeci, a possible figure, from the series figuring, 2022, elastic, 23 x 45cm. Image courtesy of the artist and Anna Schwartz Gallery.
Like abstract Rorschach ink blots, the figures offer hints and suggestions of things that already exist in the world such as animals, objects or scenes. However, they also suggest other things or ideas that don’t already exist. In her attempts to create the string figures, taken from those documented in anthropologist Caroline Furness Jayne’s book, String Figures: A study of cat’s cradle in many lands from 1906, Bufardeci has created an extensive series of new shapes and forms.
While string figures were handed down in the playground through the generations, many arrived there through the process of colonisation, when anthropologists recorded and collected them from communities all around the world. In these communities, string figures were used to illustrate stories that helped to make the world more understandable.
Louisa Bufardeci, 2022
Bufardeci’s practice has focused on the collection of data representing human experience. She has translated it into visual imagery to create provocative conversations with audiences. Bufardeci works across various media including needlepoint, drawing, digital mapping and installation. Often using visual coding systems and patterns to represent statistical information differently, Bufardeci’s abstract compositions are grounded in real systems and facts about the world around us.
Louisa Bufardeci has participated in major international exhibitions including the NGV Triennial in 2018, the Asia-Pacific Triennial in 2012, and the Asian Art Biennial in 2009. Her work has been included in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Melbourne and other cities in Australia and overseas. Bufardeci also contributes to her art community by teaching, volunteering as a guide to contemporary art at her local community centre and by mentoring young artists.
IMAGE > Portrait of Louisa Bufardeci, 2017. Image courtesy of the artist. Photographer: Lindy Bufardeci.
IMAGE > [above] Louisa Bufardeci, Figuring [Installation view], 2022. Photograph: Theresa Harrison Photography.
11 June > 4 September 2022
Ebb explores the metaphoric qualities of water. The exhibition will feature a bathtub, complete with Freeman’s signature soaps, alongside contemporary lachrymal vessels used to collect tears, porcelain rain gauges and buckets.
11 June > 4 September 2022
The Shapeshifter’s Hour explores supernatural themes, guardian figures and magical creatures. The imagery and characters in Beynon’s new body of work expand her interest in cross-cultural stories and mythologies.