Sheer Fantasy: Standout Shows

Sheer Fantasy was less a series of artworks and more a complex set of immersive psychological spaces that the audience was forced to navigate both externally and internally.

Words: Carrie Miller

Photography: Document Photography

The role of fantasy in our lives is inherently contradictory. Daydreaming can be a source of benign pleasure, a disconnection from reality, or a pathological symptom of a psychotic break. Sheer Fantasy, the knock- out show curated by artist David Capra at Campbelltown Arts Centre, considers this contradiction with both artistic courage and genuine humanity. Fantasy is not just an abstract conceptual theme in Capra’s curatorial hands; it’s explored as an existential condition – simultaneously life-sustaining and psychologically threatening – that we need to confront.

Sheer Fantasy was therefore less a series of artworks and more a complex set of immersive psychological spaces that the audience was forced to navigate both externally and internally. A fiercely ambitious project, it took Capra on perhaps one of the strangest curatorial trips in the name of research: from a visit to the sites where the film Vertigo was shot, to a dance class with an actor who played one of the Munchkins in The Wizard of Oz.

Capra also extended himself both through his iconoclastic choice of artists (including ex-Hitchcock ingénue Kim Novak) and his exceptional generosity in fostering supportive, creative relationships. This allowed the artists to realise their own sheer fantasies outside the normative limits of a conventional exhibition.

The result was spectacular: an art show that animated what is simultaneously wonderful and dreadful about the imaginative possibilities of the human psyche. It stands as a powerful reminder for contemporary art audiences of the need to constantly challenge our preconceived ideas of what art and life can be.

This article was originally published in Art Collector issue 87 JAN – MAR, 2019. 

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