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It's Always Darkest Before Dawn

It's Always Darkest Just Before Dawn was a contemporary multidisciplinary exhibition that explored the significance of handmade objects at a time when people were engrossed in digital culture and mass-produced products.

Arguably, we live in a highly mediated society where the online world as replacing a more authentic, tactile one. We constantly upload photos and amass ubiquitous objects to validate our existence and create memories of ideal experiences. We live in the past and create unrealistic expectations for our future, leaving us in a general state of ambivalence and melancholy.


(2008), idealistically looked for beauty in The Temporary Nature of Things For this exhibition, I was interested in exploring these ideas and, in particular, ideas of inauthentic vs. authentic representation: imagery vs. object. In 2008 I began time-based investigations that attempt to find meaning in the everyday. The first project, the everyday: distilling daily observations into 366 jewellery pieces and artist books. The second, These Moments Existed (2013), explored ideas of ambivalence and melancholy, by taking 365 digital photos that inspired a collection of wood and paper contemporary jewellery, which were ambiguous or ephemeral.


In 2015, It's Always Darkest Just Before Dawn explored the creation of authentic representations, starting with digital images, photos and video documentation of my surroundings, which have informed the creation of new and tangible contemporary art jewellery.


Academic Susan Luckman says, “Handmade objects are imbued with touch and…offer a sense of the ‘authentic’ in an ‘inauthentic’ world." Digital media is how we perceive the world; engaging with objects is how we fully understand and physically connect with it.



Gray Street Workshop, Adelaide, 7-31 May 2015

Opened 7 May, from 6-8 pm



Radiant Pavilion, Melbourne, 1-6 September 2015

Opened 2 Sep 2015

This exhibition was part of Craft Cubed Festival &
Radiant Pavilion, Melbourne



> Media Release

> Klimt02

> Claire Brooks Blog Post

> Sydney Morning Herald

by Ramona Barry, Craft writer & author, March 2015

Artist and object maker Sim Luttin plots a course across time. Examining notions of ritual, personal authenticity, and materiality, she inserts meaning at each point on a highly personal internal map. Her practice is grounded in daily ritual and the first charted position is her gaze. A still or moving image is taken, uploaded, printed, and then distilled. A brief pause allows ideas, motifs and shapes to emerge that may then be translated into objects. 


This pause also allows Luttin to consider what these moments are presenting, searching for meaning in the often mundane, constantly reaching for a connection between instinct (image) and intellect (object). The silver tones of her photographs are translated into the burnished silver of jewellery. The most fleeting of moments become anchored by objects, transformed into historical markers, building up layers of both memory and meaning.


Luttin has made time stand still. This form of time travelling, looking for meaning in the fleeting moments of past, present and future, taps into the artist as a vigilant observer. She understands that we can’t function without reflection and that we need time to rest and contemplate before being swept into the next moment and the endless permutations time offers. The objects she has created act as a form of punctuation.


Social media provides us all with a momentary sense of control. We choose where our attention lands, both inward and outward. We curate our lives as a series of status updates and filtered images that speak to not just who we are but who we claim to be. A constant scroll of visual possibilities. We present it to our ‘audience’ and in doing so we say ‘this is important, this is the moment, this is what I bear witness to. By showing you this I make you complicit in its meaning. If you ‘like’ it all the better, if you ‘comment’ on it an extra layer of meaning is added. The moment now has documentation. 


Time pushes and pulls, from the fleeting to the glacial, both universal and personal. Luttin creates work that can anchor us to both time and place. As the objects move from studio to gallery to collector, she creates an idiosyncratic map extends out and makes new connections and diversions. Time can play havoc with memory and we have almost no control as to what retains meaning and what gets sifted away. 


Think about time too deeply and you may experience vertigo. The rotation of the earth and the gravitational forces that pin us here are the only things keeping us from losing our grip on the passage of time. Luttin understands that what may have seemed insignificant at the time, upon reflection is perhaps the point where everything turned and changed. If we can find some authenticity through images or objects perhaps all is not lost.

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