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Published on Dec 20, 2010
Fiona Hall uses a dazzling variety of materials in her complex, imaginative and often surprising works. Originally noted for her photographic work, for the last two decades Hall has made sculptures and installations of many different types, ranging from tiny snow-dome multiples to entire gardens. Her broad-ranging practice includes major public commissions and projects that have embraced a broad range of media, and have increasingly engaged with themes of ecology, history and the effects of globalisation.
'Tender' 2006 explores complex intersections between the natural world and human systems of trade. This refined meditative installation consists of thousands of shredded American one dollar bills, painstakingly woven into 86 birds' nests — each for a different species with its own particular habitat and needs, whether on the ground, or in the boughs of a tree. The face value of these notes is deliberately destroyed in order to restore their use value — not as nests, but as art. Here Hall is questioning what happens when one's native habitat is invaded and eroded, when the almighty dollar becomes the only acceptable currency. There is a great diversity in the sizes of the nests and their places of origin — many were produced in the South Australian and Queensland Museums, and during Hall's repeated visits to Sri Lanka.