(…) Baumann’s work is equal parts whimsy and satire, a colourful and effecting investigation into the spectacular, volatile and deceptive nature of contemporary celebration. Her poetic and kinetic sculptures are frequently site specific. They are temporary monuments to indefinite victories. She shares a material vocabulary with the supermarket or the Party Planner, although despite this shiny, happy palette, an insidious anxiety always hovers nearby, waiting.
In spite of the clandestine use of gunpowder, this entrancing smoke signal to a sleepy city was one of Baumann’s more gentle installations, not only because the tinted plume was comparatively more nebulous than the artist’s earlier clusters of writhing streamers and confetti swarms. its object seemed to be transformation, rather than exposure, although the transformative experience varied dramatically depending on proximity to and knowledge of it. Standing nearby, in the position of advantage granted by either inside information or chance, the smoke spoke of cotton candy Sofia Coppola nostalgia – elegant, dreamlike, hopeful. Out of view of its source it elicited the same concern that anything would, exploding unexpectedly in a city.
The canisters bloomed for only a few minutes before the smoke set off not only PICA’s fire alarms, but also the evacuation systems for the nearby Art Gallery of Western Australia and the City Library. Action became theatre as sirens appeared on the hazy breeze and groups of evicted patrons loitered anxiously on the crowded pavement in a dramatic conclusion that hadn’t arisen during testing (…)
(review by Gemma Weston)