Adelaide, South Australia, Australia born 1950
Collection Title: To picket
Sculpture, glazed earthenware, wood, steel
Primary Insc: No inscriptions
overall 119.8 h x 369.8 w x 26.0 d cm
Accession No: NGA 73.307.A-V
© Aleks Danko
to picket (some reflections)
The work is from a 1972 solo exhibition entitled ideas, words, processes that consisted of a range of objects and installations made by hand from two tons of clay.
As a student at the South Australian School of Art I was told that one could make anything in clay … and with that workshop statement I pushed and extended the possibilities of the medium into sculpture rather than pottery.
A place called Adelaide where I grew up, a place of darkness and silence. Every night at 1am the streetlights were turned off. This was a physical and psychic space that was going (to) … limit, bound, confine, restrict, enclose, surround, imprison, restrain, hedge, wall, rail-in, fence and (to) picket. Imagine picketing outside one’s own home in protest of one’s own re-entry.
As you know, we are pensioners, day in day out, 24 hours closer to death.
Aleksander Danko senior, Melrose Park, Adelaide.
‘Let us return to our friend Danko (junior) and take some soundings in his early work. At a glance, most of them seem demonstrative in intent: they have the rectangularity or visual simplicity of the late 1960s styles, while the concern for ‘Aesthetics’ as a subject almost places Danko as a wacky sort of Conceptualist. But only almost: they draw on these features, but his purpose is to parody and to undermine. Leech-like. … The comedy is serious, the skimpiness severe.’
Gary Catalano, Art & Australia, July–September 1974.
Fondly remembered and acknowledged for their inspiration are teachers Bill Gregory, Bill Clements and Milton Moon; fellow students Nigel Lendon, Peter D Cole and Tony Millowick; ceramic artists Margaret Dodd, Olive Bishop and (in Sydney) Joan Grounds.
Aleks Danko 2001
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Anne Gray (ed), Australian art in the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2002