Art making has always been critical to Elisa and Christopher's well-being - in the search for their own understanding as well as attempting to communicate and connect with others.
Both bodies of work have their grounding in a search for some form of ‘origin story’, looking intimately at utopian ideals and how they contrast with reality.
As part of an installation in 'Improbable Returns', Christopher would like to request that visitors to the opening bring a small bundle of newspapers with them. These will be installed during the opening
Artists can be either dismissive or overly precious with
geography whether it be where they work or where
they came from.
The word based attached to an artist’s location suggests
impermanence, that the artist is on the move to better things
and may soon be off to become New York-, or Paris-based.
This claim to mobility implies authenticity, earnestness of
practice. They don’t actually live here.
Equally, an exotic from can be leveraged to give the illusion of
Geography could be seen as a central in the practices of both
Elisa Markes-Young and Christopher Young.
Markes-Young was born in Poland and moved in 1981
at the age of 16 with her family to Germany. Although
unconsciously at the time, Poland was deep in her bones and
with this move, she was confronted with the stress of a new
country, language and social system at a critical time in her
In 2011, she returned to the country of her birth for the first
time in 30 years. Over the course of three weeks, she travelled
over 3,500kms from the northern border city of Szczecin
through Gdańsk, Toruń, Warsawa, Kraków and down to
Contemporary Poland is a land of contradictions which
contrasted vividly with Markes-Young’s romanticised
memories of this country. In some ways, this trip was a
That said, Markes-Young ultimately recovered her past
in sights, sounds and smells, and this revisit, however
problematic, forms the basis of The Original Place.
Young was born in small-town New Zealand and moved
to Germany in 1996. Isolation is a recurring theme in his
life and work. The remoteness of growing up in semi-rural
New Zealand, the loneliness of living in Germany as a poor
German speaker and lately the seclusion of life in Perth, have
all coloured his artistic practice.
Revisited for the first time in 27 years (2012) and made within
a few square kilometres, Small Town is an intimate look at a
rural community where he spent his first 10 years.
The work was made in the depths of winter on the North
Island. He looked at both his experience as a child and in
2012. By revisiting places as well as engaging sections of the
community, he hoped to replicate the sensations, colours
and smells he’d previously experienced.
Markes-Young and Young moved to Perth in 2002. As with
other moves, it has proven tainted by feelings of ideological
and geographic isolation.
Added to this, both artists often feel on the outside looking
in, not belonging, not understanding and not understood.
In this collective loneliness, they seek some form of comfort.
Art making has always been critical to their well-being
yet producing work has been a constant battle against
pragmatism and reason.
It is a language that they both utilise in the search for their
own understanding as well as attempting to communicate
and connect with others.
Both bodies of work have their grounding in a search for
some form of origin story in the artists’ pasts. They are
projects that look intimately at utopian ideals and how they
contrast with reality. The artists are aware that the places they
look for don’t exist anymore yet they remained precious and
mystical in their minds.
Improbable Returns as a collective title highlights this.
The presentation of this work is also a direct challenge for the
audience to engage with something outside their personal
space and to see the world through the eyes of the ‘other’.
Equally, it was impossible for the artists to ‘return’ but the
experiences – while confronting and challenging – have
nonetheless been reinvigorating and fruitful.
Goolugatup Heathcote is located on the shores of the Derbal Yerrigan, in the suburb of Applecross, just south of the centre of Boorloo Perth, WA. It is 10 minute drive from the CBD, the closest train station is Canning Bridge, and the closest bus route the 148.58 Duncraig Rd, Applecross, Boorloo (Perth), Western AustraliaAccessibility and amenities
The Gallery is open 10-4 daily, and closed public holidays. The grounds are open 24/7.