Are we there yet?

6 - 27 July 2003

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Link to previous solo exhibition- "Run with the hare and hunt with the hounds" - 6 - 27 June 1999

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"Are we there yet?" I wonder how many holiday juggernauts have reverberated to these words, uttered by small humans suddenly viewing unfamiliar landscapes from their elevated booster seats. Having left familiar territory, they are now incapable of assessing accurately the distance and scale of the journey they are suddenly undertaking. How long will it be before the Promised Land is reached and how will they recognize it when they get there? As a young child I remember the amusement my patient parents derived from "Are we there yet?" I seem to remember on one trip to Merredin uttering these words somewhere just out of Midland. This statement was humorous to my parents because of the innocent nature of my question (and because there was well over two hundred kilometres to go).

As I grew older I stopped asking "Are we their yet?" I knew where we were going and how long it would take to reach our destination. As an adult I find myself less reassured about the world and "Are we there yet?" has made its way back into my vocabulary. The question now refers predominately to the quality of the destination and whether it is worth the trip, rather than the distances involved. Should we travel any further when the bitumen on which we have stopped looks decidedly better than the loose gravel ahead?
Recently I have asked these same questions of the city I live in, Perth, Western Australia. Perth seems to be growing at an alarming rate, but I am not convinced it knows where it is headed. The exhibition "Are we there yet?" takes a humorous look at the Perth Landscape and asks the question "Is Perth there yet?"

In this exhibition you will find reproductions of everyday objects meticulously made from the pages of Perth street directories. While these objects represent the real thing their function has been denied by the nature of the material used for their construction. These are reproductions of static objects made from a material designed to aid navigation through the Perth landscape. A metaphor perhaps for Perth’s endless desire to move further out into the world even though it may not have the appropriate means to do so

Denying the intended function of an object permits an alternative function to be substituted in its place. This new function allows for a more humorous view to be taken on a subject, in this case the Perth Landscape. In this exhibition a garden rake becomes a property developer, a closed venetian blind shows you an expansive view of the Perth Landscape, and a loaf of sliced bread becomes a land subdivision. Ultimately I am not sure how far down the development highway Perth has travelled. Perhaps the most important question to ask is where would be the best place to stop. That place may be just around the bend or perhaps, in a race to get there, has Perth taken a new bypass road and missed it altogether. Finally, don’t take this statement too seriously. I think you will find the work far more interesting than any statement I am able to produce.

Mike Singe 2003


Exhibition Catalogue


Small World 2003
Street Directory, Acrylic Paint on MDF
127 x 204 x 6.5 cm
$ 3,500


1998 Perth Landscape 2002
Street Directory, PVA Glue
95 x 145 x 8 cm
$ 1,950
(Acquired BankWest Collection)



How Many Suburbs Does It Take
To Change A Light Bulb? 2002
Street Directory, PVA Glue
Dimensions variable
$ 3,500




Tidy Town 2003
Street Directory, PVA Glue
140 x 38 x 10 cm
$ 1,100



Property Developer 2002
Street Directory, PVA Glue
136 x 38 x 10 cm
$ 1,100




Man About Town 2001
Street Directory, PVA Glue
126 x 58 x 11 cm
$ 2,200 (Acquired Murdoch University Art Collection)



Broken Landscape 2003
Street Directory, PVA Glue
99 x 61 x 8 cm
$ 1,500



Perth Landscape – Herringbone 2003
Street Directory, PVA Glue
93 x 81 x 5 cm
$ 1,500




Perth Landscape – Basket Weave 2003
Street Directory, PVA Glue
70 x 116 x 5 cm
$ 1,500



Recreational Vehicle – Side View 2003
Street Directory, Acrylic Paint on MDF
121 x 93.5 x 7 cm
$ 1,600
(Acquired Royal Perth Hospital Collection)



Recreational Vehicle – Front View 2003
Street Directory, Acrylic Paint on MDF
123 x 67 x 7 cm
$ 1,400



Are We There Yet – 3 2002
Street Directory, PVA Glue
16 x 141 x 4 cm
$ 850
(Acquired Private Collection)



Are We There Yet – 2 2002
Street Directory, PVA Glue
8 x 111 x 4 cm
$ 750



Are We There Yet – 1 2002
Street Directory, PVA Glue
6 x 38 x 3 cm
$ 650 (Acquired City of Joondalup Collection)




Subdivided Loaf 2003
Street Directory, PVA Glue
12 x 26 x 14 cm
$ 950
(Acquired Private Collection))



Wilson Gets A New Look 2002
Street Directory, PVA Glue
3 x 12 x 15 cm
$ 650



Lost Dog 2002
Street Directory, Acrylic Paint on Cotton
68 x 55 x 7 cm
$ 950
(Acquired King Edward Memorial Hospital Collection)




Car Park 2003
Strret Directory, Acrylic Paint on Cotton
18 x 35 x 4 cm
$ 600



Drive Through 2003
Street Directory, PVA Glue
36 x 22 x 7 cm
$ 750



Neighbourhood Watch 2003
Street Directory, PVA Glue, Bolts, MDF
30 x 30m x 10 cm
$ 900
(Acquired Private Collection))



The Day of the Triffids 2003
Street Directory, PVA Glue, Elastic
Each 12 x 7 cm
$ 5 each
Cash and Carry