Happiness. Buy it Now, installation, 2010

Materials: pigmented water, air pumps, water pump, LED lights, computers, faxing machine, liquid chronograph, medical stretcher, canvas, oil paint, blood, cow’s fat, pipes, metal, epoxy, monitors and a lot other little parts found on Sydney streets.

Dimensions: variable (approx. 300cm x 500 x 400cm)

Note from me:
All the medical devices are custom made from old computers and a lot of other parts found on the streets. The devices were noisily working and supplying air to the “organism”
on the table, which oxygenated the glowing blue liquid inside the “organism.”


Desire, lust, greed, and various cohorts of the deadly sins are eagerly harnessed in man’s pursuit of that most ephemeral of feelings: happiness. Just as tenaciously, love, intimacy and peace are striven for, idealised and championed as higher paths to this same elusive state. Yet, whichever avenue is taken, a failsafe formula for joy remains mysterious, while intentions baffle victory.

Daniel Malecki’s work questions the nature of happiness and the confliction that ensues when pursuing that once-glimpsed moment. In essence he is pushing the question of experimentation to include the consequences of success – in this case the consequences of happiness. The tableaux of his sculptural works create abstracted narratives that function as disjunctured phrases torn from a whole that, alone, makes no sense. The laboratorycum – surgery of Malecki’s invention is at once recognisable and alien as the machines tick and purr, circulating man made fluids from one electronics-laden contraption to another in mimicry of a liquid society endlessly feeding itself. The bleak undertones of augmentation, hybridisation, mutation and experimentation are palpable as are the references to science fiction.

Using oil paint as a sculptural medium, Malecki builds his forms through thick impasto applications over mechanical skeletons. Surgical implements probe slashed wounds that conflate sex, death and nourishment in a distortion of perpetual need. The laboratory searches for results that promise happiness despite the touches of evil: the dangerous taint of botulism in the Botox; or the cruel vanity of the Cetacean fat in lipstick. Hidden electronic devices disrupt the depths of surface with perpetually roiling pits of disturbingly unknowable liquids. While perhaps suggestive of nutrition, it is false, artificial and disturbing. Maybe, this is the key to Malecki’s work, in that the work itself does not take a position but raises questions through disturbing our complacency within the known.

Gillian Serisier, arts writer, March 2010

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