Sarah-Jane Norman is a cross-disciplinary artist and writer, originally from Sydney, Australia.
Her practice is grounded in performance. As such, her core interest is in the body: the body as a spectacle of truth and a theatre of fantasy; a siphon of personal and collective memory; an organism with which we are infinitely familiar and eternally estranged; a site which is equally loaded and empty of meaning, where histories, narratives, desires and discourses converge and collapse.
She is known in Australia and abroad for her body of intimate work, such as Rest Area (2006), Songs of Rapture and Torture (2007-20110) and Take this, for it is my Body (2010). Each of these works is crafted for a single audience member at a time, and represent the artists long term commitment to durational and one-to-one forms, which form the central axis of her working methodology. These works are site-driven and take place in a range of unlikely locations: the back of stationary trucks, darkened hotel rooms, former prison cells, coal cellars and empty shopfronts. Works such as Rest Area and Songs of Rapture and Torture indicate a sometime preoccupation with cultural tropes of romantic love, transience and the interplay of desire and loneliness. Take this, for it is my Body uses the same formal range to explore the very different territory of race and colonial trauma.
An Australian artist of mixed British and Indigenous Australian heritage (with ties to both Wannarua and Wiradjuri Nations), her latest body of work is preoccupied with the complex legacy of colonialism as an embodied phenomena.
Aside from her performance practice she works in a range of other media, and is known as a writer of fiction, essays and poetry. Her work has been published in a number or national and international journals (Meanjin, Overland, Stylus, The Cultural Studies Review, the National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA) Quarterly and Realtime to name a few) as well as placing in a number of awards including the Overland/Judith Wright Prize for poetry and the DJ (Dinny) O’Hearn Award. She was also the assistant editor on the book Dreaming in Motion: Celebrating Australias Indigenous Filmmakers, a co-production of Realtime Inc and Screen Australia.
She grew up in Sydney and Regional NSW, has lived in the United Kingdom, Japan and Germany, and currently divides her time between Berlin and Regional NSW.
Sarah Jane Norman, Hokum, performance for black and white film, converted to telecine, 2013.
Eco Spirit Exhibition – 1-5pm 6th April 2014 – Morton House Woodford – Guest Curation by Jacquelene Drinkall