Alex Selenitsch Life/Text

Alex Selenitsch
24 October 2015 17 April 2016
Heide Modern
Linda Short
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Alex Selenitsch has a long connection to Heide as a result of his friendship with Sweeney Reed, the adopted son of Heide founders John and Sunday Reed. In 1969 Sweeney’s Strines Gallery was the venue for Selenitsch’s debut exhibition of concrete poetry, the first showing in Australia of this new art form. Several of these important early ‘visual poems’—as concrete poetry is also known—have been brought together for this five-decade survey of Selenitsch’s career. They are displayed alongside works in a range of media from poem–prints to artist’s books, collages and sculptures.

Since the late 1960s, Selenitsch’s practice has combined aspects of his education and work in architecture with his pursuits as a poet and artist. A unifying theme is the use and spatial manipulation of letters, words and objects to create an incisive, conceptual play between meaning and form. This is seen most directly in his three-dimensional creations, but also in concrete poems that likewise present a spatially fertile field. In these works, typographic elements and material properties are as significant in conveying ideas as words themselves.

The title of this exhibition is borrowed from a body of work that typifies Selenitsch’s poetic recycling of everyday and salvaged materials, another constant in his approach. His LIFE/TEXT series, the centrepiece of which is a concrete poem in the form of a life-size door, is among his many creations that explore the way that text and language function within the fabric of life rather than merely describing it.

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