Sonia Leber and David Chesworth are known for their distinctive installation artworks, using video, sound, architecture, and public participation. Developed through expansive research in places undergoing social change, Leber and Chesworth’s works are speculative and archaeological, responding to architectural, social, and technological settings. Their highly detailed, conceptual videoworks emerge from the real, but exist significantly in the realm of the imaginary, enveloping the viewer in cycles of experiential and evaluative contemplation.
Leber and Chesworth have an abiding fascination that certain architectural forms act on us in ineffable ways. These architectural forms (the cave, the tunnel, the temple, the hut, the stairwell, the turret) make certain spiritual and secular 'fictions' manifest.
Recent video work includes Zaum Tractor, at '56th Venice Biennale: All the World’s Futures' (2015), Gridchinhall Art Centre, Moscow, a parallel event of the 5th Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art (2013) and Fehily Contemporary, Melbourne (2014).
We Are Printers Too was exhibited in 'Melbourne Now' at National Gallery of Victoria (2013), Melbourne Art Fair Video Program (2014), Gold Coast Art Prize (winner, 2014) and Screengrab6 International Media Arts Award, Townsville, (winner, 2014).
The Way You Move Me, a solo exhibition at Fehily Contemporary in Melbourne was also shown in 'Spaced: Art Out of Place' at Fremantle Art Centre, 'Animal/Human' at UQ Art Museum, Brisbane, and 'The Social Life of Things' at MADA Gallery, Melbourne, all in 2012.
Leber and Chesworth's installation This Is Before We Disappear From View was created for the '19th Biennale of Sydney: You Imagine What You Desire' (2014). Please Keep This Water Clean, was part of 'Cooperation Territory' at Makaronka Arts Centre, Rostov-on-Don, Russia (2013).
Space-Shifter, first shown at Conical in Melbourne in 2009, toured to Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (2011) and Detached gallery in Hobart (2012) as part of MONA FOMA, where David was artist in residence. Now and Forever was part of 'In Camera and in Public' at Centre for Contemporary Photography in Melbourne (2011).
Recent site-specific commissions include We, The Masters, a sound-based installation commissioned by Australian Centre for Contemporary Art for Melbourne's City Square; and later exhibited at Melbourne Prize for Urban Sculpture (finalist, 2011), Rewards of Silence (2009) commissioned for the chapel of the Separate Prison at Port Arthur, Field Formation (2010) commissioned for the forecourt of AAMI Park stadium in Melbourne and Landing Place (2009) a built-in soundscape commissioned for Botany Bay National Park in Sydney.
The performance work Richter/Meinhof-Opera (2010) had its first performances at Australian Centre for Contemporary Art for the Melbourne Festival, and toured to Art Gallery of New South Wales (2012).
Almost Always Everywhere Apparent (2007) a large video, sound and structure project was the Helen Macpherson Smith Commission at Australian Centre for Contemporary Art. It toured to Mildura Arts Centre in 2008; and a version was shown in 'Stealing the Senses' at Govett-Brewster Gallery in New Zealand in 2011.
Leber and Chesworth created The Gordon Assumption (2004) for the visual art program of the Melbourne Festival; and Chesworth's opera Cosmonaut (2004) featured in the festival's performance program in the same year. The video installation, The Persuaders (2003) was commissioned for the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Melbourne. Reiterations (Elizabeth Street) (2006) a project commissioned by the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art was also exhibited at Madrid Abierto (2007).
Leber and Chesworth collaborated with Simeon Nelson on Proximities (2006), the Commonwealth Games public art commission for William Barak Bridge in Melbourne; and Oceanic Endless (2007) for Melbourne's Cardinia Council. Dyad, a Leber/Chesworth/Nelson proposal was shortlisted for a 2012 London Olympics public art landmark commission.
Public artworks include The Master's Voice (2001) a permanent soundscape installation for City Walk, Canberra, commissioned by ACT Public Art Program; and 5000 Calls (2000) a permanent soundscape installation commissioned by the Sydney Olympic Park Public Art Program. 5000 Calls was also installed in along Millennium Riverwalk in Cardiff, Wales, organised by Chapter Arts Centre (2002); and along Shoemaker’s Footbridge, Ljubljana, Slovenia organised by Cankarjev Dom Arts Centre (2003).
Sonia Leber’s early films have been exhibited widely at film festivals and contemporary art spaces including Germany’s Oberhausen International Film Festival, Madrid Week of Experimental Cinema, the Aurora Australis tour of galleries in Canada, Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, and Australian Perspecta at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. In 1994, Leber curated the sound art event 'Earwitness: Excursions in Sound' for Melbourne’s Contemporary Music Events.
David Chesworth's music compositions and sound installations have been performed and exhibited extensively in Australia and internationally. Major festivals featuring his work include Ars Electronica, Festival d’Automne de Paris, Big Chill, Paris Quartier D'été, Edinburgh International Festival, Melbourne International Arts Festival, Adelaide Festival of Arts, Biennale of Sydney, SoundCulture, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival. Chesworth’s awards include a Churchill Fellowship and an honourable mention in Prix Ars Electronica.