Madeleine Preston is a Sydney based artist working in painting, sculpture, and installation. The current focus of her practice is how people choose to remember the past and how and what they choose to forget. She is a director of Home@735 Gallery in Redfern

Intolerable Leisure at Galerie Pom Pom opens July 25th

Intolerable Leisure is based upon the city of Paris as the artist remembers it. In this iteration of the city its inhabitants and their decadent patrician and migrant histories mingle in the unconscious mind. Encased in memory, the city of Paris heaves with things: patisserie windows offering impossibly sweet glazed cakes and perfect golden breads; a Ferris wheel in a park buzzing with sparrows, avenues of Chestnut trees set in perfect perspective, manicured gardens of headless queens, stone plinths, marble pillars, gilded streetlights. Museum after museum, some with water lilies and great stones, and others with human heads. Such care is taken in all of its display. Each day the arrondissements are swept by hand by some 4,500 sweepers, most of them African or Arab immigrants. The vertes, in their mint green jumpsuits, deftly sweep with twig brooms of the type once used by peasants here, albeit with the 21st century update of long stemmed plastic bristles.

Uncanny, hungry city. Nowhere else, save Las Vegas or Washington, does such a thin veneer of reality cover every thing. If the museum is not an artefact of our experience but rather an experience of artefacts, whose own particular lives as objects were severed at the moment of separation from their origins—person, family, community, society, culture, nation, world—then Paris is the museum of the West. A place where logical connections are made between disparate things. No other place has swallowed so much of the world and has held it in its mouth for so long. Existence is elsewhere.*

Excerpt from Stella Rosa McDonald’s exhibition essay The City That Swallowed the World 

* André Breton, Manifestoes Of Surrealism. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1972. photo by docqment