PUBLISHED IN ART COLLECTOR | January 2021
A home-studio near a scrap metal yard has proven fruitful for Melbourne-based Nabilah Nordin, whose self-described “impossible, impractical sculptures” are underscored by discarded and found objects (candelabras, CD racks, table parts). Anchored by an “intuitive, materially-guided process,” the Singaporean-born artist contorts items with cement, wood, foam, wire and paint, conjuring a tactile ecosystem of lopsided, hyperbolic forms and impasto-gooped palettes. Nordin’s space-engulfing works feel both familiar and topsy-turvy: imagine a human-sized mound of heatwave-melted candies, or an abandoned playpen overrun by chromatic bacteria. Indeed, curator Talia Smith, who selected Nordin’s clustery floor-work, Anti-Poem, for The Churchie National Emerging Art Prize 2020 exhibition at the IMA, called her creation “strangely delicious…you just want to get in there and bite it.” QAGOMA’s Curator of Asian Art, Tarun Nagesh, who judged the prize, anointed Nordin’s assemblage a Special Commendation.
Since completing her Bachelor of Fine Art degree at RMIT University in 2013, Nordin has forged a prolific exhibition presence: a regular participant in group shows, she has staged nine solo shows, including presentations at Cement Fondu, LON Gallery and The Commercial, and noteworthy showcases at the Singapore Biennale (2019-2020) and South Korea’s Changwon Sculpture Biennale (2020). Throughout it all, Nordin, who holds a Masters from the Victorian College of the Arts, favours a haptic, wondrous craftsmanship. “I want to maintain naivety in my work, so I’m constantly finding ways to un-familiarise myself with learned processes,” says the 1.5 metre artist, who relies on ladders and whole-body jumps to experiment, birds’s-eye-style, on some of her pretzeled, towering structures.
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Images: Nabilah Nordin, Please Do Not Eat The Sculptures, Missing Persons, Nicholas Building, 2020; Nabilah Nordin, Singapore Biennale (2019-2020), Image courtesy of Singapore Art Museum; Sculpture House, 2020 Home Exhibition, Abbotsford Supported by City of Melbourne Photos: Christo Crocker and Guy Grabowsky.© Nabilah Nordin