GET PASTED Piecing parts into a whole

Get Pasted is a site-specific art installation by Marite Norris hitting Perth this Fringe World, giving everyone the opportunity to view her work of collages, transformed from timeworn images, printed fabrics and wallpapers. The exhibition is showing at The Art Space Collective in Scarborough from Monday, January 31 to Saturday, February 12, with a special after-hours version called Tunes on the Terrace, an immersive evening of visual art spectacular, performance, and live music, running from Monday, January 31 to Sunday, February 6. KWANWOO HAN caught up with Marite Norris, the artist and The Art Space Collective’s founder and creative director, to find out about the creation and inspiration behind her pieces and the gallery, and what it means to her.

Congrats on bringing Get Pasted to Fringe World 2022! How does it feel to present this show this year?

Thank you so much. It feels like such a privilege to be able to present the show this year, so I’m feeling very grateful! It’s really given me a chance to respond to all the drastic changes taking place on a global scale, so it feels rewarding to be able to present a show locally that reflects the sense of change and rebuilding occurring globally.

A lot of work goes into creating an art piece, let alone a gallery’s worth. Arguably it take more time and effort to organise the gallery itself. How long has has Get Pasted been in the works for?

I guess as artists we’re always thinking of new ideas and constantly planning new projects in our heads. From the very early planning stages, to when it actually hit the paper, to making the first first brave mark on the walls of The Art Space Collective it honestly, it feels like a lifetime, at this point (laughs). But realistically, it has probably seen the better part of a year from inception to where it is right now.

Setting up and organising galleries takes a lot of time and effort. Is there anyone or groups who helped you set up Get Pasted?

Absolutely! We have an amazing team of people in Scarborough who like to get stuck in with their sleeves rolled up. From my co-artist, Chris Tonkin, to our volunteers who’ve helped get everything up on the walls, to our events manager coordinating the shows and our incredible sound designers over at Blue Room Sound, I feel so grateful to be surrounded by such an amazing team. Our projects are usually pretty wild, so while it’s a lot of work, it’s also a lot of fun!

You’ve founded the community art space, The Art Space Collective and hosted several galleries and exhibitions since then. How does Get Pasted differ from previous galleries?

Get Pasted is vastly different from other exhibitions in that it draws attention to the architectural elements of the 1948 shop top and physical structure of The Art Space. The process of collage – selection, discarding and rearrangement – can be directly related to this kind of rebuilding that we’re all doing because of the bleak stuff that COVID-19 has delivered.  As I’ve been assembling, disassembling and reassembling Get Pasted – choosing what to keep and discard – questions also pop into my head about what to keep and what to discard in terms of opinion, social media, misinformation and general gloom that surrounds us at this time in history. Get pasted aims to be a light in the darkness, uplifting people, and reminding people of hope and the joys that can co-exist within the melancholy.

An artist’s creations are usually influenced by their exposure to environment, zeitgeist, or personal experiences. Do the pieces displayed in Get Pasted have a theme or inspiration that it’s tied to?

I’m no stranger to rebuilding, given my personal experiences with grief and cataclysmic loss. Our ‘world ended’ when my three beautiful children Mo, Evie and Otis, and my father were aboard MH17 that was shot down over the Ukraine by Russian-backed separatists in 2014.

Much of the inspiration for Get Pasted has developed from an idea in a poem I wrote about breaking into a million pieces and being put back together again. The lines “Parts of me, Remnants, Floating and circling, I pick up my head, Hold it in my hands, And I whisper in my ear” and “They cooked warm soup, And put me together, Piece by piece, A piecemeal self, They stuck me together, Sugar syrup leaking out of the spaces, Running out of the cracks, Between my body parts” kind of explain not only where my inspiration starts, but also my connection to collage as a medium.

Creating the work as well as the installation that is Get Pasted has been a way of showing that it’s okay to be broken, to rebuild and to be rebuilt, to recreate with selected pieces, to show the raw edges, complete with smears of glue, tear marks and rips. Showing pieces of dilapidated urban decay alongside homely wallpapers and glamour can express a broken past, and also a sense of hope.

Collage is the art of taking in individual pieces and assembling them into a new form, a style that you specialise in. Is there a reason why you prefer this style over others?

Yes I love working with fragments. Whether it be in my poetry or visual art, the recreation of an image or an idea through piecing together parts of images, previous ideas, past artworks is a fulfilling process.

A soundtrack by Christopher Tonkin, UWA’s head of experimental music will playing throughout the two weeks. How do you know each other, and why did you seek him out for Get Pasted?

Chris is one of the most understated, yet knowledgeable people on the planet. We’ve known each other for nearly thirty years – which makes us both sound way older than we feel! We met at uni in the early nineties when I was going out with a friend of his, and I ended up introducing him to his wife! All this history makes collaborating with Chris feel so natural and casual. He understands where I’m coming from, and his ideas are deeply researched and super creative.

Get Pasted’s after-hours version, Tunes on the Terrace, will feature live performances from local artists and bands. Who will be performing and why have they been chosen?

We chatted to Mark Neal who, among many incredible ventures, runs the Beaufort Street Songwriters Club for some ideas on who to approach. Jessie, our events coordinator, really wanted to champion some emerging Perth talent for Tunes on the Terrace and offer them the opportunity to harness the audiences of the Perth Fringe Festival. She sat with me while I worked on art for the show and we listened to all the different artists that had been shortlisted. It was so hard to narrow down, but in the end, I think this line-up is a great representation of the incredible up-and-coming musicians our city has to offer.

Obviously a lot of work has been put into creating your work and organising the event itself. What should the goers expect and look forward to?

The energy is going to be really fun. Between the immersive experience of the exhibition, our charming drag hosts, and tunes from our incredible line-up, you’re going to feel like you’ve stepped into another world where dreams and reality blur!

What about you? What are you looking forward to?

I’m looking forward to seeing how the audience responds to the exhibition, to seeing all the awesome musicians play at Tunes on the Terrace, and to exploring the other great shows Fringe has to offer. Some of the shows on my list to see are Dickless (Justin Sider), Deadset (Yuck Circus), Pillow Talk (Burlezque), Fringe Freakout and Absolute Chaos (Matt Hale). Oh, and I’m definitely looking forward to a cocktail or seven once this is all done!


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