Cover image of the review
Installation view of Chris Madden, *Untitled*, 2021, wood, paper, thread, fabric mushroom, and Untitled, 2021, cardboard box, PCL pellet, dirt, lavender, eucalyptus, woodchips, Fact Republic, Savage Garden. Photo: Jordan Halsall.

Chris Madden: Fact Republic

15 May 2021
Savage Garden 24 Apr - 16 May 2021

April was laden with bespoke events that combined fine food and fine art, prosecco pouring as tragic catalogue essays languished amongst the bacchanalia. Dégustation at Discordia featured vodka cured snapper tartare and roasted potato gelato with wattleseed choux: divine. Xmas at Guzzler showed two steel poles filled with rotten festive remains: disgusting. Gloppy grazing for the pastel ceramics set was covered by Please Do Not Eat The Sculptures at Missing Persons. Chris Madden’s exhibition Fact Republic at Savage Garden, the subject of this review, falls somewhere in the middle of this spectrum. I came for the mimosas, bagels (Mile End), and batch brew (Everyday Coffee). I stayed for the mayonnaise (Praise).

Madden’s show is made up of six sculptures and a sprawling text. It’s exhibited in a freshly built backyard gallery in a Carlton North sharehouse, another one where residents can maintain immaculate white plaster walls in the gallery room but can’t seem to find time to wash dirty dishes in the next. Madden, who suffers from a chronic illness, described the works as “a bunch of sculptures I made during the last six to nine months, in a period where I was particularly unwell. That being said, my being unwell was not really the reason these works were made.” Illness is a backdrop to the show, but the works expand to cover disparate themes: primal shames and subliminal linkages of various intakes (foodstuffs, medications, parenting, images, religion, vitamins, class consciousness, bacteria, art) and their inevitable regurgitations from the body in altered forms. It’s holistic.

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