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HOME: The Art of Ian Strange (ATOM Study Guide)

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    Ian Strange is a Perth born, New York based artist who explores the themes of suburbia and home in his global practice. This series looks at the last eight years of his life as he travels the world exploring 
the human relationship to ‘Home’.

    His artwork involves ‘suburban interventions’, where Ian takes ideas he forms in his studio in New York out into the world and makes his mark. For example, he may paint a house entirely red or black, cross a house out with a giant ‘X’, cut cross sections out of houses to let light beam out.

    His work is in response to the icon of the home, the association with permanence, stability, family, economy and how these concepts may not be questioned. Through his work we see the dark side of suburbia, we see that the home is ephemeral, we also see the human story of a home. His work is a direct response to what a community is experiencing. He has worked with the former residents of Christchurch whose houses were slated for demolition post the major earthquake of 2011.

    He has also worked with neighbours, former residents and communities on the homes that were foreclosed as part of the housing market crash caused by the global financial crisis in America.

    He returned to Perth, Western Australia to examine the isolation and angst he felt as a teenager in the suburbs. He travelled to Katowice, Poland to make a work in response to the region’s gradual decline caused by the collapse of the mining industry. He scouts locations in the nuclear exclusion zone in Fukushima to make works about those who hold onto their houses despite extreme circumstances. Each work informs the next. The series uncovers the process behind Ian’s works of epic scale.
It takes entire teams of dedicated people to bring his ideas to life.
He works with other artists and filmmakers, curators, construction workers, engineers, architects, the community and former residents.

    The documentation process is key to the work itself because once Ian has made his mark the house is in most cases destroyed. Ian works primarily in photography, film and installation to capture his interventions. He will work with the medium that best communicates the concept. The works are somewhat surreal, in that it is sometimes difficult to perceive that the artwork is a documentation of a real intervention.

    The collaborative nature of the work, which exists in the community, for the community and by the community, demonstrates the current shift of art towards creating direct human and social impact.

    Ian’s work helps communities heal, are cathartic for those who have lost their homes and provide an important critique on the global attachment to home.

    Curriculum Links:

    ‘Home: The Art of Ian Strange’ can be linked to the following subject areas within the Australian National Curriculum:

    • Year 9 and 10 Media Arts
    • Year 9 and 10 Visual Arts
    • Year 10 History
    • Year 10 English

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