Installation view of Fiona Abicare’s <em>Moving against, moving away, moving toward</em>, 2023 on display as part of the <em>Melbourne Now</em> exhibition at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Melbourne from 24 March – 20 August 2023.     Image: Sean Fennessy

Fiona Abicare

Fiona Abicare
(b. 1972, Melbourne. Lives and works in Melbourne)

Fiona Abicare is an artist with an expanded practice that includes sculpture, photography, design and interiors. Rather than using the gallery space as simply a site to present her work, Abicare conceives of space as an art object in itself, with her practice and creative process embodying a historical relationship to the modernist idea of the ‘total artwork’ or gesamtkunstwerk. Grounded in in-depth research, her practice traverses the realms of both art and interior design. 

Moving against, moving away, moving toward, 2023, is a commissioned work drawing on the ideas of prominent German psychoanalyst Dr Karen Horney. Here, Abicare draws connections between Horney’s examinations of socialising forces and how they relate to the process of sculpture-making. In particular, she draws on Horney’s interpersonal theory of adjustment, which defines three trends of social behaviour: moving against (appeal to mastery), moving away (appeal to freedom) and moving toward (appeal to love). Ambitious in both concept and scale, Moving against, moving away, moving toward additionally draws on the material processes of world-renowned pastry chefs Alain Ducasse, Cédric Grolet and Jessica Préalpato to present a culinary sculptural project that responds to Horney’s theories of human behaviours. Across a large table, Horney’s three trends are brought to life through recipes configured in new arrangements for moulding and casting. From wild blueberry tarts to chocolate croissants, every aspect of the reliefs are true to their original recipes and associated methods of rolling, folding, pressing, whipping, mixing and sprinkling. The result is a delectable commentary on the shared relations of the otherwise disparate fields of sculpture and psychological theory.

Abicare completed a Bachelor of Fine Art in Sculpture at the Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne (1994); Honours in Sculpture at RMIT University (1999); and a Master of Arts in Interior Design at RMIT University (2006). She has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions, including at West Space, LON Gallery, Sarah Scout Presents, Gertrude Contemporary, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art and Heide Museum of Modern Art. Her work is held in collections across the country, including at Monash University and the University of Melbourne.

Moving against, moving away, moving toward was made possible with contributions from Dr Sandra E. S. Neil and Dr Robert L. N. Silverberg, Tom Levick, Scott Ebdon, Sam Grieci, and Martin Moore.