Artist as Bricoleuse

Dr Annette Nykiel (Edith Cowan University)
2018 Conference

A bricoleuse is a pragmatic woman who practices bricolage. Bricolage involves adapting what is at hand in imaginative and intuitive ways to solve problems. Bricolage may be both a theoretical approach and praxis, particularly suited to creative research. The bricoleuse swerves, strays, wanders and tinkers to create complex new forms of knowing through stories and artefacts in local contexts. These are created from fragments of different viewpoints, voices, and materials by an experienced bricoleuse attempting to make meaning from entangled relationships with the messy, complex world around them.

This paper reflects on the exhibition meeting place (2018) as a discourse of bricolage. meeting place (2018) was a solo exhibition of fibre and ceramics from a process-oriented practice intending to create relationships between geographical and human elements of a non-urban place. The critical potential of bricolage, in this context, is to piece together the meaning of fragments of sensate awareness, relationships and memory to relate stories. Critically situating bricoles (bits and pieces) together may articulate and enrich the discourse in the indeterminate and dynamic process of experiencing and creating place. A bricoleuse’s approach to field-based/practice-led research contributes a relational, conceptual, and methodological approach to creative arts, and to interdisciplinary research frameworks.

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About the author

Annette Nykiel PhD is a socially engaged bricoleuse, maker, and practice-led researcher, wondering about questions of the Country. She is interested in raising awareness of the value and importance of relating to the materiality of non-urban spaces. Annette wanders urban and regional/remote areas in a variety of roles as a geoscientist, arts worker, maker and workshop facilitator. For many years she has exhibited and offered curatorial support in many different spaces in WA, regional Australia and internationally. Her work is held in the John Curtin Gallery, Artspace Mackay and private collections in Australia and overseas.