Cover image of the review
Installation view of Nabilah Nordin, *Birdbrush and Other Essentials*, 2021, Heide Museum of Modern Art. Photo: Christo Crocker

Nabilah Nordin, Birdbrush and Other Essentials

13 Nov 2021
Heide Museum of Modern Art 3 Jul - 30 Jan 2022

Nabilah Nordin’s sculptures have philosophical weight. In Birdbrush and Other Essentials, located in the Kerry Gardner & Andrew Myer Project Gallery at the Heide Museum of Modern Art, her sculptures take us on an epistemological adventure. The artist invites us to conjecture what these idiosyncratic objects are, and in doing so she challenges our sense of what it means to command knowledge of a thing. They are slimy and dry, coarse and refined, colourful and monochromatic and abstract and concrete. The animated peculiarity with which these pairings are expressed sparks my curiosity, but it is the final pair that I find particularly interesting.

To explain my epistemological reading of Nordin’s work, allow me to indulge in the following pithy summary of Immanuel Kant’s theory of knowledge: “Thoughts without content are empty, intuitions without concepts are blind”. By this he meant we can never cognise or know a thing without having access to both that thing’s intuitive content (through our sensibility) and its conceptual form (in our intellect). Nordin’s epistemological adventure takes place between these poles of sense and intellect. She presents a perceivable sculptural form, but only a clue to the concept adequate for us to know what it is we really see.

To read for free enter your email address.

Log in with your registered email address.

Memo can continue to publish free, quality, and independent weekly art criticism with the support of our readers. Consider becoming a Patreon supporter or making a donation.