16 February – 13 March 2022
Handbook for the Apocalypse
The title of Adam Norton’s exhibition, A Handbook for the Apocalypse, contextualises it as a how-to guide for surviving catastrophic situations. Norton’s practice has consistently examined how to refit everyday material into an arsenal of tools with which to survive apocalyptic, extraordinary circumstances. In a time of general global crisis, his explorations feel all the more relevant.
Despite the apocalyptic premise, Norton’s sense of humour infects the work throughout. There are water-rescue crafts built from suitcases and lawn chairs, a survival pod fitted into an old wardrobe, and camouflage made from domestic fabrics designed to blend into the landscape. While the works may not literally protect the user from apocalyptic conditions, they arm against something all the more important - the loss of humour and joy in the face of doom-laden circumstances.
Taking Norton’s works together from the last two decades allows them to be examined as a whole; a multitude of paths through increasingly dire circumstances – both as survival tools and manifestations of the radical optimism that will be required to push through crises that have become the new global norm.
Harry de Vries
Adam Norton completed a Bachelor Fine Art at The Ruskin College of Drawing and Fine Art, Oxford University and emigrated to Australia in 2002. He has participated in exhibitions in Australia, Korea, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and the United States. Norton has been a finalist in several major art prizes, most recently The Blake Prize and the Sunshine Coast Art Prize (2021), the Archibald Prize and the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize (2019). In 2019 he was included in Moon Landing - The Giant Leap, at Casula Powerhouse, Space, at Gippsland Art Gallery, VIC, and Cementa19 in Kandos, NSW. Further curated exhibitions include Black Mist, Burnt Country, which toured nationally 2016-2019; Blank Spaces for the Imagination, Bondi Pavilion Gallery (2018); Beyond Belief: the Sublime in Contemporary Art, Bathurst Regional Art Gallery (2017); 3rd Biennale - Project Daejeon 2016: COSMOS, Daejeon Museum of Art, South Korea; and the solo exhibition My Trip To Mars, UTS Gallery, Sydney (2015). Norton’s work is held in the collections of Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre, Wollongong Art Gallery, University of Technology Sydney Art Collection, Broken Hill Regional Gallery, Griffith University Art Gallery, University of New South Wales Art and Design, and Artbank, Australia. Recent public art commissions include Giant Badges for City of Sydney, and Belmore Station for Sydney Metro. Upcoming exhibitions in 2022 include Chrome City, at Durden and Ray, Los Angeles, and Contour 556, in Canberra.
installation images by Docqment
Camouflage Suit Experiment 2007
video, 6 camouflage suits, shoes, mannequin, suitcase
Edition of 3 + 1 AP
Autonomous Rescue Craft [A.R.C.] 1, 2 and 3 2006
found suitcases, paddle, mixed media
Generic Escape Capsule 2005
found wardrobe, 14 days survival rations, cooking equipment, radio, chair, bucket, tools, first aid kit, water, lamp, periscope, esky
183 × 153 × 53 cm
Prohibited Area 2010
synthetic polymer paint on board, wooden poles, bolts
240 × 122 × 7 cm