Continuously Changing Shape

Continuously Changing Shape

Christopher L G Hill with Gian Manik and text by Eva Birch

16 – 30 September 2023 Sutton Projects

Do you guys ever think about dying? [1] : brief notes on the “baroque” for the occasion of Chris L G Hill’s show Continuously Changing Shape
—Eva Birch

“Baroque” is like “broke” but refuses the indignity of it. Maybe the most unbaroque thing is the new design for the Centrelink Service Centres. They’re made to look like they’re full of nature, with panels of bright blue sky and bright green leaves. They scream: humans are just animals. This is the lie that the baroque counters. It tries to bring back Eros. It screams back: humans are tainted with symbols. Like what is evoked by looking at a particularly ornate church in Italy. Or like when Barbie says, “Do you guys ever think about dying?”

Chris’ images in this show are baroque. One is a truck with bunnies on it and another a medical illustration of the vein system of the human body. Both of these images take excess back to it’s first home: necessity. Jacques Lacan, a French psychoanalysis who died in 1981, says in his seminar on feminine sexuality: “The baroque is the regulating of the soul through corporal radioscopy.”[2] X-raying someone could be a really aggressive love poem, like, look! I found your heart!    

The baroque does not produce stories, but rather “storyette[s].”[3] “Storyette:” a feminine, diminutive story aka gossip aka a true story. Like in 2014 when you used to be able to print out poetry book PDFs at the Moreland Road Centrelink. Like, I know that’s true, because it was told to me by someone I loved.

[1] Barbie, directed by Greta Gerwig (Warner Bros. Pictures, 2023).
[2] Jacques Lacan, On feminine sexuality: The limits of love and knowledge, trans. Bruce Fink (New York; London: WW Norton & Company, 1998), 116.
[3] Ibid., 107.