Sculpture chief wants to shape politics into student work

AN artist with a formidable European reputation has joined the ANU School of Art and Design as head of sculpture.

Dr Alex Martinis Roe

Melbourne-born Alex Martinis Roe has taken on the position after nearly a decade working in Berlin and replaces veteran artist Wendy Teakel, who retired in 2017.

Head of school Denise Ferris says: “Her international profile has definitely generated a buzz around the school… students have been approaching me to tell me how much they are anticipating her arrival.”

Prof Ferris says the appointment “is a statement about the future direction of the school and the value of transdisciplinary practice and research-led teaching”.

Dr Martinis Roe’s work has been exhibited across Australia and at museums, public institutions and galleries in cities including, Berlin, London, Santiago, Dublin, New York, Amsterdam and Seoul.

Her present project-in-process, “To Become Two”, looks at the social history of feminist practice and is made up of six film installations that can be shown individually or as a seven-channel film installation, including some sculptural, interior architectural and archival elements, as well as performances and workshops and a book.

“I’m interested in creating further connections and dialogue between ANU and the European art world where I have been working for the past nine years,” she said.

She says her work explores complex social and political issues, an approach she hopes to share with her students.

“I want to get students to think about the politics of their work and how they can bring nuance and new perspectives to ‘super-wicked problems’ through public exhibitions,” she says.

In addition to “To Become Two”, Dr Martinis Roe says, she is exploring methodological concerns in collaboration with Frankfurt-based theorist Melanie Sehgal and a research group called Formations, which began at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt [House of World Cultures] in Berlin, Germany’s national centre for the presentation and discussion of international contemporary arts.


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