On the occasion of his upcoming solo exhibition, GOLD, Roderick Sprigg is undertaking a mission – to become a contemporary prospector and search for gold. Dressed in business suit from the waist up and reflective mining pants from the waist down and armed with a prospector’s cart, the GPX 5000 metal detector, a pick-axe and his video camera, Sprigg is heading into the fertile landscape of Leonora, the historic heartland of the Western Australian Goldfields.
He writes, “A young man, an isolated figure, is in search of what is readily available to anyone who searches. Soldiers, sailors, policemen, lawyers, aristocrats, the destitute and the desperate – even future prime ministers and presidents, have their place in the historic Goldfields”.
The exhibition will be made up of the physical sculptural elements he took with him on his trip – the cart, his metal detector and backpack hopefully full of gold as well as the new documentary film that will record his successes and failures.The exhibition will also feature artworks that are born out of his gold searching venture, including a vertiginous mineshaft constructed from plywood, into which visitors will be invited to crawl. Part of the trip Roderick undertook was literally following in his father’s footsteps, as his own father and uncle found and established King of the Hill gold mine. His works often relates to the psychological and physical drives of man and with this exhibition Sprigg further develops these concerns by mining not only the ground to find his fortune or fate, but also in mining a discourse of masculinity, heroism and failure.