Chiasm 2000
Perth Institute for Contemporary Arts
Catalogue text

Sauna 2000

A portable sauna and shower in the city’s cultural centre is placed both outside and inside the gallery. This locus is chosen to challenge a number of architectural and socio-physical paradigms. Practices of personal hygiene and states of undress are normally relegated to specific sites. Cloistered, personal spaces…. The sauna questions these isolated experiences.

Andrew Sunley Smith’s relationally aesthetic practice, pitches a place of rest and reflection in a potential war-zone, a contested site where the politics of high end cultural production and the underprivileged collide daily.

The cultural centre’s amphitheatre is a site for demonstrations, a thoroughfare for pedestrian traffic, an outdoor theatre venue, and a site of violence and dislocation for a portion of alienated and underprivileged gangs

The sauna sits as a friendly monolith, home made, with generous intentions, an invitation for immersion in an altogether physical state. A steaming plywood tardis, inviting interaction, trust and indulgence its own atmosphere. Away from the 9.00 – 5.00 everyday elements.

A service box and escape zone reminding us:
the ocean
the sun
the salt, water and heat.

The sauna is invested with a double currency and double function, where art is only one outcome. Economy and the art object as a thing of use–value beyond its exhibition time/space is another.

Bec Dean / Andrew Sunley Smith


Sauna - thoughtfully designed for use and travel, was exhibited originally at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, Western Australia, Perth Cultural Centre and numerous domestic backyards. It has since been shown in Sydney and exhibited as documentation at Glasgows Centre of Contemporary Art in 2006 as part of Migratory Projects.