Friday 2 – Saturday 17 June 2017

Tracey Clement

Experimental Metropolis

Tracey Clement, Metropolis Experiment I, 2016-17, rusty steel, salt, laboratory glass, cotton, dimensions variable (max height 200cm). Photo: Tracey Clement

Opening Event: Friday 2 June 6-8pm

Artist Talks: Saturday 17 June 3-5pm

Metropolis Experiment is part architectural model, part mad science: the whole city is a laboratory. But instead of shiny stainless and gleaming glassware in sterile white surrounds, we are presented with rusty tripods and salt crystals that creep up and over everything, corroding as they go. In Metropolis Experiment something has gone horribly wrong: it’s a ruined model city, a metaphor.

Metropolis Experiment is Clement’s third recent body of work which responds to the vivid prognostications of JG Ballard’s 1962 post-apocalyptic sci-fi novel, The Drowned World. What links these works is the image of the ruined city, an image Ballard conjured so evocatively in The Drowned World.

Thanks to its scale, Metropolis Experiment draws on the conceptual qualities of architectural models (as well as ruins) in order to make a point. As theorists are fond of pointing out, all ruins simultaneously embody both the present and the past. Meanwhile, architectural models are inherently aspirational. They embody potential, physically manifested, but not quite realised. They represent the future. As a ruined model city (a combination of both) Clement’s artwork adds a third temporal stream: the future already devastated. Metropolis Experiment is a premonition, a warning.


Tracey Clement is an artist, arts writer and current PhD candidate in Fine Art at the University of Sydney. She already holds a diploma of Jewellery Design, a degree in Art History-Theory and a MFA in Sculpture. Her current obsession is JG Ballard’s novel, The Drowned World, with a particular focus on imagery of the ruined city. She is known for creating artworks that meticulously utilise labour intensive techniques for their conceptual resonance. Clement has exhibited widely, both in Australia and overseas, and her writing is published regularly in numerous art and design magazines.