Cover image of the review
Installation view of Rebecca Belmore, Turbulent Water, Buxton Contemporary, University of Melbourne 2021–22. Courtesy the artist. Photo: Christian Capurro

Rebecca Belmore: Turbulent Water

26 Feb 2022
Buxton Contemporary 10 Dec - 8 May 2022

Turbulent Water is an exhibition of just four works. Despite its economy, it cuts deep: surveying in succinct fashion the over three-decade career of the artist Rebecca Belmore, a member of the Lac Seul First Nation (Anishinaabe).

The power of Belmore’s work in this exhibition lies in its potent material and conceptual consistency. It is embedded in the context of performance art and yet retains an innovative, exploratory spirit, utilising inventive means of display that recall the artist’s early interest in sculpture. Though Belmore is a near-constant presence in the works, the works themselves strike in differing and affecting ways.

Perimeter (2013) is a video performance work that conflates the banal dominance of colonial extraction with cultural connection to land and place, while The Named and Unnamed (2007) turns previous documentation into a sculptural, wall-based video projection. The original recorded performance, created in the aftermath of the serial murders of several Indigenous women in Vancouver, is a pained howl of rage, of love, of reverence. Fountain (2005) is a large-scale video installation that commands the gallery’s central space with a torrent of falling water, which Belmore employs as a dramatic projection screen. And Apparition (2013), modest in scale and content, offers an appropriately contrasting farewell, with Belmore’s crouched form quietly disappearing.

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