A lot of art is about the sublime, or raising you to higher emotional levels.
'Sixth Sense' is just that. With this exhibition, Djon Mundine, OAM selected works aiming to provoke emotional and sensory responses through a range of media, including sound, video, installation, photo media and painting, with an emphasis on essential states and subjective memory.
"The best art does that automatically… It gives you a shiver. It gives you a joy that you don’t understand. It just happens. That’s called the Sixth Sense. It leads you to imagine, so that one sense activates the other senses," Mr Mundine told NITV.
The Sixth Sense exhibition is divided into two halves: The bottom, with artificially created electronic displays, projections and sounds; and the top floor, featuring artwork that explores silence and sight.
The exhibition groups the works of cross-generational artists Daniel Boyd (Kudjila/Gangalu), Destiny Deacon (K'ua K'ua and Erub/Mer), Virginia Fraser, Karla Dickens (Wiradjuri), Fiona Foley (Badtjala), Nicole Foreshew (Wiradjuri), Willurai Kirkbright (Wiradjuri), Emily Kame Kngwarreye (Anmatyerre), Gabriella Mangano and Silvana Mangano, Archie Moore, Nasim Nasr and Skye Raabe.
“In art, sight is the sense most utilised. When other senses are evoked, the perceptive experience is invariably heightened. Deaf people can write music, and performers dance in silence. The sixth sense is that of the mind – of the imagination, a feeling beyond the physical, and more to do with memory and creativity,” says Mr Mundine.
“The so-called sixth sense is something pre-Renaissance, pre-rationalist: beyond the usually considered ‘five senses’: sight, sound, taste, touch and smell. There are, in fact, seven senses – equilibrioception (sense of balance) and proprioception (sense of body position), which are now commonly accepted physiological senses,” Mr Mundine explains.
Mundine considers art to be a window into the tangible realm of the senses: “contemporary society increasingly leads us into a world of simulacra, away from the senses, towards being ‘sensible’. We often think of the spiritual as a light, but maybe not as often a smell, a taste or a touch.”
A number of the participating artists in the exhibition Sixth Sense were featured in the Tarra Warra Biennale of Art 2014, titled 'Whisper in My Mask', co-curated by Djon Mundine and Natalie King.
The exhibition is on public display until 15 October, at the National Art School Gallery (NAS Gallery) in Sydney.