Kieran Bryant & Kieran Butler

31 March - 11 April 2015  

Opening Night: Tuesday 31 March, 5-7PM

Kb / Kb presents two artists examining the dialogue available between their individual practices and collaborative process. By situating themselves in a dual environment within a gallery the artists hope to achieve a binary system in which the audience is left to question what connects these two together? Will the collaborative whole be greater than the sum of its parts?

Kieran Bryant (b. 1988) is an emerging Sydney based performance installation artist with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Honours [First Class] from UNSW | Art & Design.

Kieran Butler (b. 1992) is an emerging photographic artist with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Honours (First Class) from UNSW | Art and Design.

KB/KB Interviewed by Jobe Williams

The KB/KB exhibition at Kudos in April 2015 brought together two friends and artists with distinct and complimentary practices, Kieran Butler and Kieran Bryant. This following as in interview conducted by Jobe Williams after the exhibition with questions that both address the artist as individuals and as a collaborative pair.

Kieran Butler

Jobe Williams [JW] Your work has been described as post-painting. What do you think of this label?

Kieran Butler [KB1] I would say that’s a fair label, I suppose my main comment would be that it’s approaching my work from a different direction to what I initially would. I always approach my work from a photographic point of view, that’s my foundation. I use the label post-photography more than I would post- painting, but then again each of these ‘post’ labels are quite ambiguous in their nature. However, that’s also the nature of my work confused or ambiguous, not quite an image, but also not quite an object, and sort of like a painting, but also a photograph.

JW The presentation of your work seems to be something that is equally important to the images you create. When you develop a piece do you create the image for the way it will be presented or does the image dictate the presentation?

KB1 I work in both ways sometimes. For example the work I created for KB/KB I decided how they would be framed after I created the images, and for a recent show I had at MOP Projects (Are we getting close to something) I had decided the shapes and frames for my work before I had created the images. It’s like I mentioned earlier the ‘objectness’ of the work is equally as important as the image. It’s that in between-ness or confusion of a ‘post-condition’. Its all about the material qualities of the photographic image/object, what they are and what they could be?

Kieran Bryant

JW Your work is predominately performative, what about this medium encourages your creativity?

Kieran Bryant [KB2] The immediacy of performance has always interested me; immediately affecting both the audience and yourself. You can create a moment, ephemeral or lasting, that springs from nothing and can have a lasting effect. That’s pretty exciting! I find it very creatively stimulating to be able to use the body in many different ways; it gives me a sense of total control and responsibility. Nothing is lost in that direct translation of abstract thought to bodily realness. The fluidity of performative work is also fascinating to me, especially when using the body. I see it as a roux with which you can add and subtract ideas, both immaterial and material. Endless possibilities.

JW Your work could be seen as a test of endurance both for yourself and the audience. When you are performing a physical taxing piece what are you thinking or feeling? Also how do you imagine the audience thinks or feels?

KB2 Often I’m not thinking or feeling much beyond that moment, if I’m performing a task that tires my arms I’m thinking/feeling ‘my arms are tired’. I think those simplistic thoughts stem from a very clear rule that I won’t be acting. The performance can’t move beyond that particular action in that particular space in that particular time. I guess I’m trying to not overcomplicate it. From feedback I’ve had in the past often the audience feels quite confronted. I suppose it could be difficult watching someone treat their body detrimentally. I hope that there is an emphatic response also, that they can jointly experience or find a familiarity within the performance.

Joint Questions

JW What drives you both to create art? KB1 For me its an unexplainable urge to make work, it’s pretty much an obsession, I just can’t really explain it *laughs*. It’s also my urge to pull things apart and understand them further, beyond how they appear until I reach a point of something new. I guess it’s a constant search for enlightenment, enlightenment or what I’m not exactly sure. 

KB2 I think mainly it’s a curiosity, a need to explain things or understand. Personal discovery *laughs*.

JW What is the last thing you both discovered that inspired you? KB1 Probably the colour pink and having fun. Last year doing Honours was fairly intense and it seems as a consequence I want my work to be bright, colourful and fun more than anything else, it’s like a lot of artists are afraid of abstraction and colour, I don’t want to be afraid of either of these things and I want my viewers to enjoy them.

KB2 I’d say the job I got at the start of the year parking cars. A whole world of automobiles and carparks has opened up to me and I just find it really fascinating.

JW What motivated you to do a collaborative show together?

KB1 *jokingly* that we have the same initials! I think we can both comfortably say that each of us has a fairly strong practice for the point of our careers we’re at. We wanted to see where these would take us and what would happen by colliding and positioning or individual practices very close together.

KB2 Agreed! Same initials *laughs* We both had a healthy respect and interest of the others work and were curious to see how these two seemingly disparate practices could harmonise together.

JW Where do you see the differences between in your practices?

KB1 This is something we’ve both discussed throughout the process of collaborating. Our work is mainly different in the final outcome, our individual works. This includes the aesthetics of both, one being quite colourful and unnatural, the other being slightly more minimal in skin and earthy tones, and the subject matter. We both explore different ideas however we have a similar process that goes into making the work.

KB2 The differences are primarily in aesthetics of the work, but not necessarily the presentation, and the subject matter. This may sound like ‘well what are the similarities?’ but the processes we both take to produce work are strikingly similar.

JW Where do you see that your practices have a similarity with one another?

KB1 As mentioned previously each of us has a similar process, experimenting and manipulating materials in the studio until we know what the final outcome will be.

KB2 The process definitely. The way in which we come to understand materials. We both know the value of experimentation!

JW What do you think is the most important aspect of good artist collaboration?

KB1 I would say conversation and process. Even if the end result of a collaboration isn’t what it was thought it might be enough conversation would hopefully produce a strong and interesting collaborative process. Kieran might have a more interesting point of view than me seeing as he’s a little more experienced with collaboration.

KB2 Communication! Without clear pathways of communication it can be extremely hard to successfully collaborate. I would also say flexibility and open-mindedness. A major part of collaborative work can be to learn and grow so take all you can from those collaborators.

JW What did you learn about yourself, each other and/or art in the collaborative process?

KB1 For me this experience reiterated the importance of process and conversation around your work and others. I also learned how you can, successfully I’d like to say, harmonise two disparate practices from two seemingly very different artists.

KB2 This collaborative process reminded me to keep myself open to dialogue about my practice; to never close myself off. I learnt a tonne about my own work by understanding another. Plus, it was such a treat to collaborate with Kieran, throughly engaging and rewarding. 

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