Dissonant Rhythms is Brisbane-based artist and musician Ross Manning’s first-ever survey exhibition. Best known for his use of everyday materials, Manning’s exhibition features sculptures that repurpose ceiling fans, fluorescent tubes, and overhead projectors, creating exquisite interplays of light and sound.
Over the past decade, Manning has developed what could be described as his own world, animated by light and sound. He is an obsessive creator of systems that are driven by their own logic, and of moving objects propelled by electricity and their own kinetic forces. This is a sculptural practice with a totalising scope and vision: just as it appears to consume all manner of household and industrial objects, hardware, and technologies, so it harnesses visible and audible frequencies. It then uses those same energies of light, sound, and motion to colonise nearly every surface and wavelength in its vicinity.
Stemming from Manning’s musical background, and belying his totalising approach to the aural and visual, the breadth of work explored here uses rhythm to connect sound, light, colour, and movement. Rhythm is the time logic of music. But for Manning, rhythm is also what animates the frame rate of the moving image; what turns the cog in the machine; what powers the internal clock that drives the computer; what drives the flicker of light waves. Most importantly, rhythm is in the pulsation of energy. A dissonant rhythm isn’t any less an order of time; it is simply one in which things appear out of time. Elements may not work together—they jar, grate, and compete for attention—but they are bound by the same energy and intensity. Despite this sense of disorder, the ear and eye search for an underlying unity all the same.
In a major new commission made especially for the IMA’s galleries, Wave Opus III, Manning has constructed a large-scale self-playing instrument that resembles a wave form, along with a custom-designed performance space designed with architect, Carolyn Jackson for the artist and his collaborators. The all-gallery exhibition is complemented by the publication of his first monograph, published by the IMA, accompanied by a vinyl LP, released by IMA and Room40.
The exhibition is curated by IMA’s Directors, Aileen Burns and Johan Lundh, and Senior Manager, Madeleine King. The publication, Dissonant Rhythms, is edited by Madeleine King, and features contributions by Ellie Buttrose, Caleb Kelly, and Danni Zuvela.