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The Guildhouse Collections Project

1 Aug 2022
  • Media Release
by Nicola Cann

Chelsea Farquar – FluttertongueThe Guildhouse Collections Project with Adelaide Symphony Orchestra presented in partnership with Adelaide Festival Centre

The Guildhouse Collections Project provides a rare and wonderful opportunity for an artist to delve deep into the treasures of an important state collection; to research, study and collaborate to produce new work for presentation.

For over 85 years, the ASO has played a significant role in the South Australian identity, providing cultural and economic vibrancy, enriching the community through a diverse program of world-class performances.

South Australian based artist Chelsea Farquhar delved into the ASO archive, and its ‘living collection’ of musicians, as inspiration for a new body of work as part of the Guildhouse Collections Project. Established in 2014, the Collections Project is a collaboration between Guildhouse and selected collecting institutions, offering artists the opportunity to research an area of an institution’s collection and develop new work to be exhibited. Farquhar is the second artist to be offered a Collections Project residency with the ASO, following Michael Kutschbach who was awarded the inaugural residency in 2020.

Farquhar researched the ASO as a living collection, comprising sheet music, performance brochures and posters, instruments, architecture and the musicians themselves. Utilising sculpture, performance and video, Farquhar has created a body of work presented as part of SALA 2022, including a digital artwork to be displayed on Adelaide Festival Centre’s external screens on King William road. A digital catalogue and documentation of the project’s processes and outcomes will accompany the exhibition.

The Collections Project provides a unique opportunity for South Australian artists to explore the history and cultural significance of the ASO and offers audiences a new way to experience the orchestra in the form of contemporary art.

Of her work in response to the Orchestra Chelsea said, “I’m often drawn to the mystical and the historic. The Adelaide Symphony Orchestra combines tradition and storytelling, allowing audiences to move through and outside of time and into other worlds. Fluttertongue is made up of a series of tableaux; different worlds to pass through.

This piece has been inspired by moments on and off stage that are playful, ritualistic and sometimes even flamboyant. The joyfulness of excess and pomp, going to see the ASO, dressing up, coattails, wearing something special, to see and hear something special.

I’ve spent hours hand-sewing corsets, bejewelling evening gloves, hand weaving whips, making curtains, sewing wearable pieces for horses and hand painting props. Dressing up the body is an integral piece of the ritual. I see parallels between the making of costumes and working with textiles (the discipline of stitched and rhythmic threads, the imperfections that only the wearer or performer would ever notice) and the rehearsal that leads to the show. There is preparation to command attention, whether it is to be seen or heard, sound or colour. Combining historic methods and designs with contemporary fabrics aid in the grandeur of the scene and abstraction of time. These are playful renditions, or scores in fabric.

To flutter your tongue while playing a wind instrument is to distort the sound. I love this distortion, to break the ritual. This video piece attempts to present how I see the ASO; bizarre, playful and passionate.”

ASO Managing Director Vincent Ciccarello said the project was an exciting new way of working for both the ASO and Guildhouse. “It is a wonderful cross-artform collaboration, the ASO players and staff enjoyed working with Chelsea during her time of residency and her response demonstrates extraordinary imagination, invention and execution,” he said.

The Collections Project is an initiative of Guildhouse, that in partnership with local government and significant State Institutions provides exceptional South Australian visual artists, craftspeople and designers with the opportunity to access and study collections, collaborate with curators and other experts, leading to the production of new artwork that is then exhibited for the benefit of diverse audiences.

Guildhouse CEO Emma Fey said, There is an absolute magic quality that results from an open invitation to explore, experiment and create.  With this spirit of curiosity, Chelsea has brought a visual arts canon into creative exchange with the living and archival collection of the ASO to result in wonder-filled, absurdist moving portraits that celebrates pomp, tradition and virtuoso.  Guildhouse is delighted to partner with the ASO to foster cross disciplinary creative exchange for the benefit of our audiences and artforms.”

Chelsea Farquar Fluttertongue

Adelaide Festival Centre: 1 – 31 August, 2022

Artist Talk ‘In conversation with Chelsea Farquar’,  Tuesday 16 August, 2pm, Adelaide Festival Centre

Chelsea Farquar
Chelsea Farquhar is a South Australian based emerging artist who utilises sculptural and performative outcomes to highlight moments of exchange and collaboration.

Farquhar graduated with first-class honours from the Victorian College of the Arts in 2020 where she received the West Space Window Exhibition award to exhibit in 2021. In 2017 Farquhar graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Adelaide Central School of Art and in 2018 received a Carclew Fellowship to undertake travel to the Scottish Sculpture Workshop and New York, USA for a residency and mentorship opportunity. In 2022 Chelsea will be undertaking a residency at Watch This Space gallery in Alice Springs NT.

As a performer, Farquhar has worked for various collectives including APHIDS during Howl at the Art Gallery of South Australia for the 2020 Adelaide Biennial Monster Theatres. Farquhar undertook the 201 Queer Development Program: Stephen Cummins Workshop Intensive at Performance Space in association with PACT Centre for Emerging Artists, NSW and has performed for 110% collective during the 2018 LiveWorks Festival at Carriage works NSW. In 2021 Farquhar undertook a Clowning mentorship with clown and actress Britt Plummer at Rumpus theatre funded by Adelaide Central School of Art.

As an arts worker, Farquhar is currently on the committee for KINGS Artist Run in Melbourne where she works on grants and fundraising. In the summer of 2018 Farquhar worked as a Gallery Host at the Museum of Contemporary Art in NSW and worked as the community engagement officer at FELTspace ARI for two years. In 2018 Farquhar undertook an internship at ArtLink Magazine and has written for Fine Print magazine issues, Community and Intersections.

The ASO thanks collaborating partners Guildhouse and Adelaide Festival Centre. The exhibition is part of SALA.

Cheree McEwin, Publicist Adelaide Symphony Orchestra
08 8233 6205 / 0416 181 679 /

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