Recycled future

THE Contemporary Institute of Modern Art is wherever founder Jesse Lee Johns decides to set it up.

So far it’s been in Wollongong in NSW, a water tower in Cambodia and now it’s coming to the Pakenham Street Art Space in Fremantle, near the corner of High.

Johns recently returned from the year 2020, where the Republic of Westralia had collapsed “under the weight of overwhelming incompetence and grift” after seceding from the rest of nation.

Oh, and he time travelled on an old jetski, which stands guard outside his outre exhibition.

Johns came back to 2018 with a timely warning on rampant capitalism and a DIY philosophy, which is reflected in his giant installation sprawling across the PSAS gallery.

The centerpiece of his exhibition is a tiny Depression-era style home.The roof is made from rusted corrugated iron and the walls are packing crates. Everything inside is hand-made or refashioned furniture.

• Avant-garde artist Jesse Lee Johns will live in his upcycled house during his exhibition. Photo 

The kitchen sink is warped – the enamel pitted and pooled as the result of a bushfire – and all the materials in the installation were reclaimed.

“Everything is constructed from stuff people chuck in the bush or on the verge,” Johns says.

He has moved in for the duration of the exhibition, sleeping in the mezzanine bedroom he created.

He can usually be found tinkering with his “home” and is happy to chat about his work.

When the Herald dropped in he was finishing off a second chair, built from packing crate timber.

“So I can have friends in for morning tea,” says Johns.

His tiny porch has hosted a concert, and there are stitching classes on Tuesdays.

“I just want to have people around to share the place,” Johns says.

More concerts are planned through July as part of Fremantle’s winter music series, Hidden Treasures.

Wander down to witness a vision of the future and learn about the cultural wasteland of post-collapse Westralia.

CIOMA Future Contemporaries is at PSAS on Pakenham Street until July 19.


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