Shifting Art at ReForm

By Grace Kirk
Spanning more than 20 locations and featuring an extensive line up of artists, the 2017 Brisbane Street Arts Festival (BSAF) included workshops, public art installations and more. A particularly exciting aspect of the program was the QUT ReForm: Art in Public Spaces exhibition at the QUT Creative Industries Precinct.

No Walls caught up with visual artist Jordan Azcune, whose installation Meaningless Surrender, featured as part of ReForm. It was at the site of the installation where Azcune to discussed his creative process and practice. 

An Installation that Transforms

As part of ReForm, Azcune explored the nature of surrender and the avenues of empowerment, through an installation that is transformative. The installation made up of white flags was a symbol of surrender during the first week of ReForm, and that of empowerment during the second week, when he will take to them with spray cans and oil paint.

After recently finishing his honours in visual art at QUT, Azcune is now living what he describes as the Bohemian dream – working at a bottle shop, applying for artist residencies and, most importantly, making art.

Azcune attributes his inspiration for the ReForm installation to his external environment. Specifically, his situation as a recent graduate of fine arts, who is feeling the pressures of our current socio-economic environment to surrender into a more mainstream occupation.

“My inspiration came through finishing honours and being just as nervous as every other artist that has just graduated,” says Azcune.

“With the current political and socio economic situation, there’s a lot of pressure to just surrender from the arts or to move away from it,” says Azcune.

This theme of surrender is prevalent in his ReForm installation. It was during the second week where the installation transformed as he ‘takes the piece back’, through a symbolic act of power and anti-establishment.

“That’s where the idea of the white flags came in. It still has an element of formality, but you could also see it at home in a Scouts den – so it’s a lot about surrender. Then [over the second week of ReForm] I’m going to take the white flags off, get them a little bit messy, re-install them and see how that looks,” says Azcune.

Armed with spray cans, oil paint and a DIY approach, Azcune will adopt play style methods to wreck what the installation originally stands for, turning the field of white flags into something colourful.


About Jordan Azcune

Azcune has always had a do-it-yourself approach to contemporary art, with many of his pieces, such as this installation, exploring the idea of child’s play to create work.

In conversation with him it is clear that these methods have allowed him to adopt a positive relationship to art – one that does not fit the stereotype of the ‘tortured artist’.

“The idea of an artist making a piece of art while under some psychological pressure isn’t sustainable. Making work when you’re feeling good about yourself, or feeling good about what you’re making, that, for me, is a lot more satisfying,” says Azcune.

Azcune is inspired by architecture, seems to be obsessed with plants, and at the moment, is fascinated by videos of artistic gymnasts, drawling links from their movement to sculpture. He is also inspired by funny everyday nuances. As we began to discuss this in our interview, Azcune stopped and pointed at two chairs that were lying side by side flat on the grass.

“See, things like that. Those chairs look so unusual. I want to take a photo of them,” says Azcune. So he did.

Azcune discussed the fluidity of art. From his experience, a collection of 10 materials can make up to 100 works. Something I’d never thought of before was the idea of art being disposable and having to be destroyed in order to be re-purposed for other pieces of art.

“When you have to get rid of an artwork, or destroy an artwork or a piece of material for the sake of an artwork – that’s where things kind of leave and go in the bin or are collected,” says Azcune.

I was able to witness the flurry activity when Azcune’s installation was being set up, with more and more white flags being added to the rectangular patch of grass. Viewing the piece form above, you are struck by the uniformed white flags, fluttering in the breeze.

To discover more about Jordan Azcune visit his website.

The 2017 Brisbane Street Arts Festival & ReForm

Jordan Azcune is just one of many emerging and established artists who featured at BSAF. This cultural and creative festival was a rich experience of colour, sound and movement.

A particularly exciting part of the 2017 BSAF program was ReForm: Art in Public Spaces. This exhibition will feature a number of installations from QUT students, graduates, staff and alumni.

The program not only exhibited site-specific work, but also a number of workshops open to the public and school programs, in order to encourage community based learning pathways. These workshops included the Bambuild workshop, where participants worked to weave with plants and bamboo, ‘Print It, Wear It’, ‘Out of Character, A Type Workshop’, ‘Slap Ups’, and more. 

For more information on ReForm visit this link.