Who wakes up on a Saturday morning and says “I’m going to buy 350 linear metres of car diverter hose, chop it up and hang it in the living room”? The question tips Matt Bird’s gaze to the ceiling of a two room city apartment that seems to be colonising with alien spawn. “I think I should just say that I worked with Cassandra Fahey for three years and it rubbed off”.
Referring to the ‘uninhibited’ Melbourne architect whose surrealist take on structure famously celebrates the prosaic, the profane, and the cult of personality, Bird has channelled both her wry humour and her resourcefulness into an inspired, if not slightly disturbing fit-out of his own tiny rental.
“I think it was the scratched up floor,” he says, attempting to recall what first moved him to furnish the living-room with a cinemascope-wide manipulation of Michelangelo’s masterpiece, The Creation of Adam, a cruciform of car hub-caps digi-printed with self-portraits, a comfort throw featuring the computer generated face of Michelangelo’s, Pieta and a room-wide, kitchen-concealing curtain made from the preferred insulating fabric of mountaineers, Polyfleece. “There were clean walls and an interesting ceiling – raw concrete. I kinda wanted this place to be an escape, something removed from all the craziness out there.”
He stops, looks around and laughs at his own absurd suggestion that life might be any crazier out there than in this nightclub-dark denizen where framed pictures of mutant kangaroo embryos feature on bedroom walls. “Yeah, I kinda wanted it to reference what was going on out there – in one way it is an amplification of it, but then maybe it’s a…I don’t know, call it a Cassandra Fahey hiccup. I think her idea of a geometry being repeated and repeated in so many different intensities has seeped into my psyche. It became a weekend thing to do, I started with the bedroom and just hung all the stuff from the ceiling as if it was some kind of nursery”.
‘The stuff’, as he calls it, is an installation of thousands of hand-tied threads of textured wool, some of which have been sporadically strung with beads to suggest the refuse of a creature lying dormant within.