There is a violence in fences, even the most banal. When I was young most houses didn’t even have fences where I lived, or if they did they were small. My school had a fence that was at waist height, but by the time I finished high school that fence was over head. Now it’s rare to find a house without a fence. And at the same time there are industries who are building fences the size of nations.
The fence in the image above lets air and sight through. It speaks of a time when society felt looser than it does now. We don’t really make domestic fences like this anymore – today they’re often solid and high. This fence is a gesture that implies separation, while other higher or more solid fences force separation. That said all fences carry a certain violence that demarcates the space between me and you, just some say it more loudly than others.
The work was produced for the exhibition Landing Points curated by Hayley Megan French and Lee-Anne Hall at Penrith Regional Gallery and the Lewers Bequest. Landing Points invited 11 contemporary artists to respond to Tracey Moffatt’s seminal work Up in the Sky on its twentieth anniversary. The exhibition catalogue is online here.
Between neigbours and nations was produced with the support of Culture and the Arts WA, a division of the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries.