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* Callum Preston: Everything is Borrowed *
Callum Preston's pop-up studio is at KSR Art Bar, downstairs at the Rialto Piazza, 525 Collins Street. "I came into this world with nothing, and I leave with nothing but love; everything else is just borrowed" - Mike Skinner (The Streets) Fresh from working as part of the team behind 2019's widely-lauded and award-winning exhibition, RONE - Empire, acclaimed Melbourne artist, designer and maker Callum Preston reveals his latest solo exhibition at the Rialto's KSR Art Bar titled Everything Is Borrowed. A step toward a more contemplative subject matter than his sold-out exhibition Callum Preston's MILK BAR from 2017, Everything is Borrowed is a handcrafted exploration of the countless items, treasures, mementos, keepsakes and knick-knacks people accumulate throughout their lives. Featuring a collection of mixed-media, multi-dimensional works; raw and hand-painted timber-panel pieces; and canvas works, all constructed on-site, Everything Is Borrowed is a tribute to the objects we gather throughout our lives that hold enormous value to us. When placed alongside the ample collection of handcrafted objects, each special piece builds into a museum of treasures that convey who we are, our journeys, experiences, highs and memories. "As we grow, items change value in our eyes; a most prized material possession can become forgotten. Previously meaningless items can become important in an instant, depending on who and what it represents. One day these 'things' will take on a different meaning for those who carry them in their lives", Preston says. "We live in a material world, but most of the time it's about what an item means to a person, more than its monetary value. I want to highlight simple items and show them in a more heroic light." The show's official launch is on Thursday November 21, yet members of the public are invited to watch the show come to life from Monday October 14 during the gallery's open hours. During the five weeks of Preston's gallery residence, the public is invited into his custom-built studio for a special opportunity to witness him making his pieces, have a stickybeak into the artistic process behind each work, and gain an insight into the creation of his exhibition. Built entirely from recycled materials, the walls of Preston's workshop are adorned with all manner of ephemera - old signs; offcuts; tools; personal sketches; notes; photos, and wondrous odds and ends. The open workshop gives members of the public an insight into a well-worn studio and a glimpse into the inner workings of an artist who's been chipping away at his craft for years. And, of course, the trinkets and trophies abound: ticket stubs; coins; matchbooks; Zippo lighters; cameras; spectacles; candles; snow globes; vases; tools; pocket knives, and crushed paint tins. Exposure to one man's trash will surely inspire the memory of a world of treasures for all who enter. Callum Preston presents Everything Is Borrowed Where: KSR Art Bar, the Rialto Open to public: Monday October 14 Exhibition dates: Thursday November 21 - Saturday December 7 KSR Art Bar opening hours: 4pm - 11pm, Monday - Friday Address: Entry via 525 Collins Street, Melbourne VIC 3000 Enter via Collins Street through either of the entries to Rialto's Piazza (525 Collins Street), turn right and you will see the big KSR sign. The Age Digital Edition: Pop-up space leans into nostalgia For someone who got "kicked out" of the Rialto for skating on the front steps as a kid, Callum Preston says it's "weird" now to be on the inside. The Melbourne-based artist, whose 2017 replica milk bar was a certified hit (it's now touring regional Australia), is working out of a pop-up studio in the KSR Art Bar on the ground floor . Made from recycled materials and covered with old signage, lettering and strings of lights, it looks like an outback shanty ready for a party. There's an old bar fridge completely covered in stickers and a skateboard, hanging on the wall. The public is free to visit and chat to the artist while he creates the works for his upcoming exhibition, Everything is Borrowed, which opens at the bar on November 21. "I guess it's almost borderline performance art crossover,'' says Preston. " I'd be doing [the work] anyway in my studio so I thought, why not bring it in here? Most people in this building probably have never been into a working artist's studio but I find anyone who comes to my [regular] studio is interested." Over the next few weeks Preston - who after completing his Milk Bar worked on Rone's epic Burnham Beeches mural project - will be creating more than 100 original artworks from recycled timber hoarding and paint, using photographs of carefully selected objects for reference. Two weeks in and he's painted, among other things, a pair of scissors - reminiscent of his grandma's "good scissors" - his father's watch, the Zippo lighter he's had since he was a kid and a vintage camera. "That camera belonged to my grandfather and he took it to New Guinea in World War II and then the photos of my mum as a little girl were shot on that," he says. The large patchwork boards he uses as his canvases are textured and worn, and each image is accompanied by a phrase - Forever Young or Forget Me Not - evoking postcards or faded advertisements painted on the sides of buildings. The familiarity of the subject matter is helping kick off conversations with visitors, too. "I'm trying to make people feel something,'' Preston says. " The scissors - when I look at that painting, I feel their weight. Then you get them on the table, cutting fabric, and they start to sail through and you hear that great noise that they make as they go across a laminex table ... I'm hoping that's what people will get from it, those sorts of memories." One whole wall of the exhibition will become a kind of trophy cabinet, with 100 small cut-out trophies surrounding one great big one - and they'll all be for sale. "When I was a kid, my dad had these indoor cricket trophies from before I was born," Preston says. "These sorts of things become funny keepsakes." You could easily call most of the objects he's painting " vintage'' , but even dial-up modems would now fit that category, Preston admits. "I thought about painting a Nokia 3210 but the old Bakelite dial-up phone is just more aesthetically pleasing,'' he says. "You've gotta lean into something. I'm leaning into nostalgia. Because I feel it. That's what gets me." Callum Preston's pop-up studio is at KSR Art Bar, downstairs at the Rialto Piazza, 525 Collins Street. Everything is Borrowed opens on November 21.
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