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Amy is an artist, curator, writer and researcher based in Narrm (Melbourne)

Living and working on unceded Country of the Wurundjeri and Boon wurrung peoples of the Kulin Nation



Artwork — 2014–17

Performance artwork by Amy Spiers and Catherine Ryan.

First presented at 2014 Melbourne Art Fair, as part of MAF Edge Program, Social Capital. Performed also for Während der Ausstellung ist das Museum geschlossen/During the exhibition the gallery will be closed, Museum für Neue Kunst, Freiburg, Germany in 2016, and in Greece at Corinth Art Platform’s Art Panegyri, 2017.

In August 2014, Amy Spiers with collaborator Catherine Ryan presented the work, Closed to the public (protecting space), at the 2014 Melbourne Art Fair, as part of the MAF Edge Program, Social Capital, curated by Jacqueline Doughty. For Closed to the Public the artists employed two professional security guards to prevent people from entering a 2 x 2 meter area demarcated with white tape on the floor of the Royal Exhibition Building during the Art Fair. If patrons to the Art Fair accidentally or deliberately crossed into the space, security guards used the powers available to them to people move on. The space was relocated daily around different areas of the Art Fair.

A second iteration of Closed to the Public (protecting space) was presented in Freiburg, Germany in February 2016 as part of the Museum für Neue Kunst public program Während der Ausstellung ist das Museum geschlossen/During the exhibition the gallery will be closed. Over four days, a group of 2 to 5 security guards were hired to protect selected areas of public space within Freiburg and prevent the public from entering. The spaces were demarcated with tape and ranged in size from 2 x 2 metres to 4 x 4 metres. When the public crossed over the tape, the security guards firmly told them to desist and move on.

A third iteration occured in Greece at Corinth Art Platform’s Art Panegyri on 29 July 2017.

The work aims to direct attention to the increased regulation and control of the movements of the public, and provoke thought about how this is enforced, from the repressive presence of private security operators to the mundane signage and markings that are used to control our everyday movement in urban environments. The work intends to question what spaces are still available to the free movement and assembly of the public.

A review of the Melbourne Art Fair in Ocula magazine described Closed to the Public as “the most watchable work in the fair”.

Closed to the public is part of a series of works Amy and Catherine created that explore the policing and control of what can and can’t appear in public space. These works include the public order choreographies: Nothing to See Here (Dispersal) presented at the 2014 Festival of Live Art; Ordering the Public as part of the 2015 Vienna Biennale’s Performing Public Art Festival; No More Public Space, Only Public Order (Water Cannon) for 2016 MONA FOMA, Hobart; and The Least of the Doorkeepers (It is Possible but Not at the Moment) for Borders, Barriers, Walls exhibition at MUMA, Melbourne also in 2016.

Futher information
︎ Ocula Magazine Review
︎ MAF in Focus video feature
︎ Während der Ausstellung ist das Museum geschlossen/During the exhibition the gallery will be closed.