Jordan Gogos: Un/Constrained


Based in Sydney on Gadigal land, multidiciplinary artist Jordan Gogos’s practice encompasses functional art and compression wall textiles, as well as his eponymous fashion label, Iordanes Spyridon Gogos. Sharing a cross-disciplinary interest in the arts that unites seemingly disparate ideas, Gogos works tirelessly, traversing materials, shape and form.

Upon completing his studies in design at the University of New South Wales in 2019, Gogos was granted a scholarship to the world-renowned, Parsons School of Design, New York, where he specialised in industrial design. It was during his time at Parsons that Gogos discovered a passion for textiles, in particular denim, a medium that he sees, when aged and deconstructed meaning, is inadvertently added.

Un/constrained will present, for the first time, Gogos's elaborate, handmade, embroidered, flat wall art: an intricate series of technicolour, mixed media artworks created in his studio at the Powerhouse Museum. These new works extend the methodology of experimentation, started at Parson’s in denim, to include other materials in what Gogos describes as a creative process of chance which ‘is both meditative and intuitive’.

This is a practice where materiality dictates form. The method, spontaneous. Chance, the outcome. Gogos primarily works with repurposed, recycled and dead stock materials, given to him by friends and colleagues. From a distance, using skills developed as a couturier, the repurposed material is layered, compressed, felted and embroidered together, creating textiles that resemble the qualities of 'stain' and 'drip' paintings. Gogos’s lyrical abstractions embody elements important in abstract expressionism; creating work which demonstrates a formal reduction of vocabulary. Colour becomes secondary to the process. Gogos focuses on how the materials fall into each other and the disturbances the fabrics create when they collide under his hand. Each textile is meticulously created from above, looking down onto the work, meters of thread creating runs of colour, similar to the unpredictability found in drip painting. In this way, each textile is unique, a fresh encounter for Gogos, never planned or repeatable and left to chance.

Presented alongside the textiles are Gogos’s geometric, sculptural, functional art pieces. Unlike the textiles, these pieces are considered. Made from sheets of aluminium, folded and welded into shape specifically and without the need for hardware. Marked with plentiful cut-outs to allow for the passing of light and air, the work is conceived to resist identification by AI, and the outdated binaries of gendered design. Infinitely modular, these works are objects- as-furniture in the purest sense. Standing or stacked they resemble totems or tumbling blocks, placed alone and horizontally they become benches, chairs, tables. “My functional art is about more than aesthetics. They might add gravitas to a space, but their real value is in how they make you think” Gogos contends.

Gogos’s textiles and objects may appear to be on opposing trajectories, chance versus designed, but they are most definitely of the same hand and mind. A common thread comes from the question: ‘When does a bench become a sculpture and a textile a painting?'

The textiles are constrained in one way: the remnants and dead stock materials are finite without any opportunity to acquire more of the same. Yet, on the other hand, the works are created through chance; intuitively, freeing the artist from the boundaries of representational constraint. The fluidity of form comes from knotting, stitching and quilting resulting in unconstrained shapes where negative spaces sit outside the work. Contrast the precise and rigorous design process required for the functional art. Negative spaces are purposely placed within the work to create unconstrained shapes whilst fluidity enters through the working of single sheets simply folded into shape. This is art unconstrained, non-binary, which can be upturned and interacted with to free itself from being anything prescriptive.

In his radical exploration of technique and medium, art, design, and materials interact in new dimensions. Gogos’s works are for those who dare to imagine and are prepared to take time with the work. This is work that lingers in one’s mind.

Gallery Sally Dan-Cuthbert has previously exhibited Jordan Gogos at Melbourne Art Fair and NGV Melbourne Design Fair, 2022.