COMA is pleased to announce an exhibition of new work by Australian Singaporean artist Nabilah Nordin – her first solo with the gallery – titled Covergirl Adhesives.
This new body of work is concerned with celebrating surface, texture and colour. Functioning on an immediate, visceral level the sculptures act as both stand-alone objects and work to convey the rigorous labour that goes into them. To achieve a finish and to create a final appearance, whether it is shiny and glossy or activated through globules and ridges, the physical undertaking for Nordin is enormous. These processes – sweeping, sawing, drilling, mixing – are embedded in the sculptures, something the viewer may or may not discern when presented with only the final layer.
In Covergirl Adhesives, Nordin is actively challenging the commonly-held assumption that to appreciate a surface, or an appearance is a superficial act. To the artist the surface of an artwork is like a performance, and one that conceals the labour that maintains it. In their natural state the materials of these works experiece cracking, crumbling and loss of shape. It takes this performance of sorts, the laying of adhesives and holding matter, to keep them composed and contained.
The title, Covergirl Adhesives, speaks to the labour required to prop up appearances. It expresses feelings of materiality, personal processes and the glossy final image itself. It also presents a certain aesthetic – a sleek, photographic, sparkling appearance that is, ironically, made from construction and everyday materials – cement, paint, wood, wire and metal.