construction drawings

jonathan dady
Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia, Adelaide
I5 February - 25 March 2001

The language, the depiction, of form-what divides the virtualfrom the real, the representation from the actuality? What separates the two-dimensional from the threedimensional? Construction Drawings is a drawing in real space. It comprises steel scaffolding that mimics the shape of the Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia (CACSA), a gracious, early 20th century, inner suburban bluestone villa converted to a gallery and associated offices. Painted  in the colours of a computer-based CAD drawing of the CACSA building, it replicates the building 's eastern and northern aspects, forming an L-shape that surrounds the north-eastern corner. lt mimics the chimneys, the door and window architraves, the curve of the corrugated iron verandah, even the verandah's lattice work. The scaffold is thus a physical manifestation of an architect's representation of a real building, an analogue of the CACSA, the real as virtual.

CAD drawings and building scaffolding possess a 'propositional' status in the development and realisation of architecture. Where a CAD drawing relies on illusory, perspectival space at a reduced scale, the scaffolding describes the building in actual scale. A CAD drawing can ignore gravity and simply depict forms. Here, the scaffold 'drawing' must include clamps, bolts and struts to prevent it falling down. lt thus includes subsidiary languages-the fastenings necessary to support the objects in space, and the coded colours of CAD illustration.

The scaffold intersects the plants growing in the gardengaps are left in the ironwork for tree trunks and other immovables; the metal is pushed through shrubs. The outside becomes the inside of this 'new' building, which reinvades the ground around it. lt situates us, the viewers, in relation to it.

Dady thus shifts our attention between different forms, languages and kinds of representation-from reality (stone) to concept (drawing), back to reality (scaffolding), to spatial reconfiguration and territorial invasion. The sculpture is a complete form in itself. You can move about within the scaffolding and within the building. You can occupy the territory occupied by them by entering their interstices. A building 'processes' its occupants, that is, you enter and exit through pre-determined apertures/portals, you occupy spaces designated for occupation and you (typically) use it for its intended purpose (in this case, gallery and office). The scaffolding opens both the concept and actuality of the building to reconsideration. Why is it as it is? What is our relationship to it? Can it be reconfigured, its uses redesignated? How should such architecture function?

Construction Drawings follows on from Jonathon Dady's previous work and draws together several favourite themes-the hired object, the drawing as 3-D form, the possible redesignation of space, the reconsideration of a work of architecture. His metal frame for the front of Adelaide's Greenaway Art Gallery, Propositional Work (1999) was the realisation of his architectural doodlings on a photo of the gallery's facade. In his Hiring series at various galleries in the mid-1990s, Dady hired various objects-baths, scaffolding, fans, walking frames, a giant fridge-for typical hiring periods of a day, a week, or a month. With them he created unexpected juxtapositions, questioning each object's relationship to the space it occupied and suggesting that its identity is also constructed temporally.

Placing the art on the outside of the gallery shifts the attention to the use of the gallery and to the nature of the collectible. This installation will vanish at exhibition's end, leaving behind the question of how the building might be represented or characterised. We cannot live in a virtual building (would that we could , it would be so much easier to clean!), but virtuality and speculation shape our lives. We move about this sculpture like a cursor, scanning the space, the concept.

Construction Drawings is the first in the CACSA's Domus series of exhibitions. In Domus, Australian and international artists have been challenged to respond to the architectural, geographical, psychological and emotive characteristics of the CACSA building. The building houses Australia 's oldest member-based contemporary art space, a significant role in Australian art history.

For Dady, sculpture is the interrelationship between material things and their meaning for us in the world. Sculpture is about catalysing an object's state to produce a new state. Conceptual artists shift your perception Dady prefers to work at the point where potential for such a shift germinates. Scaffolding normally is used as a support for something. Here, as an object in itself, it coalesces ideas, creates new objects and interrupts pre-existing dynamics. In the spirit of Domus, he has shown us how the building can be (re)conceived. Construction Drawings is an engaging and highly imaginative work.