Expect the unexpected: spontaneous creativity on show at The Mill

At Play Cultural Heart People of Adelaide

Posted on 17 Mar 2020

Please note: The Mill is currently closed to the public because of the COVID-19 situation, but the residency is continuing online. The public workshop mentioned in this article was postponed to 19 April and run as a free online Zoom workshop using materials from participants own home.

To find out how Artists in Residence The Bait Fridge have adapted through this difficult period to bring their project 'Art Basics' to life and navigate relationships with audiences in new ways, listen to the podcast below presented by The Mill's Visual Arts Curator, Adele Sluzias.

Visit The Mill website for latest updates on this venue.

Adelaide arts collective, The Bait Fridge, is unapologetic about its ‘no laws’ approach to art-making and, until Sunday 29 May, you can see just what that means as the group develops its Art Basics project over two months at city creative hub, The Mill - in Angas Street.

Exterior of the mill photo morgan sette
photo-icon Morgan Sette

Presented in partnership with the City of Adelaide, The Mill’s Exhibition Space Residency, of which The Bait Fridge is the latest tenant, is all about showcasing artistic practice and welcoming the broader community inside the creative circle to get a better picture of how art comes to life.

“We want to bring the process that happens back in the studios out into the public space, into our gallery space. The idea is that when our audiences come through, they’re not seeing the finished product but the artists at work getting into the nitty gritty of creating, experimenting and taking risks.”
Adele Sliuzas, Visual Arts Curator, The Mill

Describing themselves as ‘a chaos of raw action, colour, costume and community’, The Bait Fridge comprises between five and 20 members at any one time – musicians, visual artists, dancers, photographers, costume designers and actors. Among the group’s core are brothers Adrian and Kaspar Schmidt Mumm.

The bait fridge

The Bait Fridge, Top Row (L-R): Felix Rossbach, Zeno Kordov, Dave Court, Declan Casley-Smith, Greta Wyatt, Adrian Schmidt Mumm, Annabel Scheid, Henry Jock Walker, Liam Sommerville, Tom Hannagan & Arlon Hall. Bottom Row (L-R): Hari Koutlakis, Mat Morison, Emmaline Zanelli, Kaspar Schmidt Mumm, Daria Koljanin.

“All the members have their practice and The Bait Fridge allows them to bring that practice into the collective, but then maybe do it in a different way, or just experiment with their practice as opposed to taking their usual trajectory,” said Adrian.

“I'm a musician, but I’ll do a lot of visual arts in this (project), and make costumes, and create sonic sculptures and things, which I don't get to do at the ‘Cranker’ on a Wednesday night when I'm playing guitar. It's just a different avenue of being able to create something.”

As an artist seeking to push conventional boundaries and perceptions, the no-limits collaborative nature of the collective is what makes The Bait Fridge such a great fit for Kaspar.

“It's completely absurd how collaborative we are and almost a reaction to this idea of being a really singular artist. Anything we paint, others can paint over; anything that anyone makes can be destroyed or built on. Everyone in the collective, no matter how old, how young, how stupid, how smart, if they have an idea, everyone will say ‘yes’ and try to make it happen.”
Kaspar Schmidt Mumm, artist, The Bait Fridge

Haris koutlakis Boardman 2018 mixed media costume and set photo emmaline zanelli
photo-icon Emmaline Zanelli

Haris Koutlakis, Boardman, 2018, mixed media costume & set.

Throughout the ten-week residency, curious minds are invited to visit The Mill’s public gallery during its weekday opening hours to witness The Bait Fridge’s creative practice. You can also register to take part in a public program involving a costume, set and photography workshop on Sunday 5 April for ten to 18-year-old’s and exhibition Finissage on Sunday 17 May*. A podcast with members of The Bait Fridge will also be recorded and made available during the residency.

For members of The Bait Fridge, encouraging gallery visitors to ask questions about what’s going on or get involved in a performance is part and parcel of the creative process.

“One of the best things that we have is a costume box, full of costumes we handmade ourselves,” said Kaspar. “At some of our performances, people just go into the costume box and, because you're completely anonymous (in the costume), you let go of yourself, and they just come out and parade with us, and jump around.”

Adrian agrees the costumes can play a big part in challenging traditional perceptions of what it means to experience art and work as well for older audiences as they do for kids.

“Yeah, I think that's often been a way that we really break that barrier between performer and audience. Some 35-year-old bloke is watching and doesn't know what to do. So, we give him a blue dress and a mask and a paintbrush, and it’s just like, ‘Well, now you're just as ridiculous as us. Get in there. Come on.’”

Not surprisingly though, The Bait Fridge strike probably their sweetest note with children.

“It's the utmost freedom that we have in this collective; it’s about this idea to dissolve ownership, to really allow yourself to let go and just be who are you are in the moment and make something out of it. That's why I think so many children really love what we do, because it's like a child would play. We play. We just play, and it's really that time in our creative practice where we get to play.”
Adrian Schmidt Mumm, artist, The Bait Fridge

As playful as it might look in its final form, there’s an incredible intellectual and physical process required to generate the result and by pulling the curtain back on the creative process Adele hopes to have that recognised more broadly.

“When you just see (artistic) outcomes all the time and you don't see process, you miss that output of sweat that goes into these long-term projects,” said Adele. “These are professional artists; this is their career; this is their job. It's not just working on the weekends and then something ‘appears’ at the end of a certain period of time. It's a slog, and it's process. It's experimentation and taking risks. To make that available to the public to see, that these processes are a part of a life-long artist's career is super important.”

Small room bait fridge and adele

L-R (standing): Lachlan Stewart (Small Room) and Adele Sliuzas (The Mill)
L-R (sitting): Rafal Liszewski (Small Room), Kaspar Schmidt Mumm & Adrian Schmidt Mumm (The Bait Fridge) - inside The Mill Exhibition Space

Among those who’ll see The Bait Fridge Art Basics project unfold over the residency will be members of The Mill’s own creative community including Rafal Liszewski and Lachlan Stewart. The duo has run their design and visual communication business, Small Room, out of The Mill for a few years now and will be producing the Art Basics exhibition catalogue, available from early May.

Exhibition Details
Art Basics

17 March to 29 May 2020, Monday to Friday, 10 am to 4 pm

The Exhibition Space Residency
The Exhibition Space, The Mill Adelaide

154 Angas Street

Public Program

*Workshop: ‘Art Basics’ with The Bait Fridge
Costume, set and photography workshop for late primary and high school ages kids ages 10-18 (and their adult)

Sunday, April 5 2020, 10 am to 12 pm [RESCHEDULED TO 19 APRIL]

Finissage Event

Sunday 17 May 2020, 3 pm to 5 pm*

The Bait Fridge

* All event details were accurate at time of publication and could change. Please consult the organiser for latest information.  

Article by

Skye Murtagh

Skye Murtagh

Skye is Adelaide Living's main driving force. She is passionate about sharing stories from all walks of life. When she's not busy weaving beautiful words together, she's singing a line or two from her favourite song.