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July 20, 2018

A room for Gerry Wedd at ACE Open

Legendary South Australian artist, Gerry Wedd, has built a room of old and new works within ACE Open for his upcoming exhibition, Songs for a Room.

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  • Words: Sharmonie Cockayne
  • Pictures: Supplied.

When legendary South Australian artist, Gerry Wedd, was approached by CityMag covergirl and art-boss, Liz Nowell, to exhibit new work in ACE Open, there was no hesitation. In fact, it was quite the opposite.


SONGS FOR A ROOM by Gerry Wedd will open with a party on Friday July 27, from 5pm. It will run until September 15.

ACE Open, Lion Arts Centre, North Terrace, Adelaide.

Yes, he would do it, and he would build an entire room made from and lined with his art.

“It was an opportunity for me to do something that was maybe more ambitious than I’d done before. I just was intrigued by the idea of building a completely tiled space. It was that simple, the initial idea,” says Gerry.

The room, which will be 3.5m by 3.5m, is a marriage between some of his older work alongside new pieces.

Gerry Wedd at Lucia’s. This image by Sharmonie.

It’s fitting really, because it’s also a marriage of the old Gerry and the new, the old times and the current.

In observing his enormous body of work within the confines of one smallish space,  Gerry noticed his work is nothing if not consistent.

“It’s interesting to me because it shows my concerns and methods really haven’t changed in a long time,” says Gerry.

“I’m a big fan of this playwright, he used to write for television and he says, his belief is that every creative person ever only has one or two ideas that are their own, and they just keep returning to them and dealing with them from different perspectives.

“And he compared it to a farmer who has a plot of land that he keeps hoeing for years and years and years, and all of a sudden on his land he finds a gold ring. You know? You keep approaching an idea in different ways.”

A recurring element of Wedd’s work are his lyrical inscriptions, which are central to the room within Ace.

CityMag asks about the lyrics, and why he chooses the ones he does. Wedd’s response is self aware and enlightened.

“It could be seen as something that’s kind of kitsch, or it could have a lot of meaning as an affirmation,” he says.

“There are Smiths lyrics, lyrics by The Drones. Lyrics that are more like poems, mottos.  It’s those little lyrics that get stuck in your head, but when you re-frame them, they can change meaning I suppose, or even seem like weird affirmations.”

And, larger than that, is Wedd’s peculiar perspective of the whole show. Morbid almost, but necessary in world as it is today.

“In some ways the work is quite indulgent. It’s very varied and it kind of reflects my concerns, my interests, my perspectives. Which is inevitable. My tastes, the things that have influenced me for a long time, in some ways the room is like stepping inside of my head,” he says.

“And because I’m a middle aged white male, it’s kind of going to be a reflection on that. In a way it’s a room for me.”

Gerry is modest. He has a frankness about his observations of self and of life that cut right through, and that’s what draws so many people to his work.

And that’s also why stepping into his room – or his head, if you will – is going to leave an impression.

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