Sovereignty is an exhibition focusing upon contemporary art of First Nations peoples of South East Australia, alongside keynote historical works, to explore culturally and linguistically diverse narratives of self-determination, identity, sovereignty and resistance.
Taking the example of Ngurungaeta (Elder) and Wurundjeri leader William Barak (c.1824–1903) as a model – in particular Barak’s role as an artist, activist, leader, diplomat and translator – the exhibition presents the vibrant and diverse visual art and culture of the continuous and distinct nations, language groups and communities of Victoria’s sovereign, Indigenous peoples.
Bringing together new commissions, recent and historical works by over thirty artists, Sovereignty is structured around a set of practices and relationships in which art and society, community and family, history and politics are inextricably connected. A diverse range of discursive and thematic contexts are elaborated: the celebration and assertion of cultural identity and resistance; the significance and inter-connectedness of Country, people and place; the renewal and re-inscription of cultural languages and practices; the importance of matriarchal culture and wisdom; the dynamic relations between activism and aesthetics; and a playfulness with language and signs in contemporary society.
Sovereignty provides an opportunity to engage with critical historical and contemporary issues in Australian society. The exhibition takes place against a backdrop of cultural, political and historical debates related to questions of colonialism and de-colonisation, constitutional recognition, sovereignty and treaty. Sovereignty is conceived as a platform for Indigenous community expression, and will be accompanied by an extensive program of talks, forums, screenings, performances, workshops, education programs and events.
Curators: Paola Balla and Max Delany
Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA), Melbourne
Until March 26, 2017
Images: Harvest, 2015 and The Memory Archive, 2015 in Erewhon.
Installation view Margaret Lawrence Gallery, Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne University, 2016.
A NETS Victoria touring exhibition. Photography by Christian Capurro.
Erewhon is the (almost) return of Neverwhere, an exhibition that travelled to Istanbul last year, commissioned by Asialink as part of the ‘Australia in Turkey’ cultural festival. Neverwhere presented the work of eight contemporary Australian artists to disturb distinctions between our real and imagined selves, and between the authentic and the proposed. Narratives were informed by external – and often mysterious – forces, both seen and unseen; the exhibition shifted registers between sincerity and satire although its propensity was to shadowy psychological turns. And it is farther in this direction – towards the darker, more charged imaginings – that the work in Erewhon leads.
More correctly, of course, Erewhon is the (not quite syntactically correct) return of ‘Nowhere’ and title of a novel by Samuel Butler, first published anonymously in 1872. Erewhon was set in a fictional eponymous country – though one that strongly resembled the south of New Zealand in which Butler lived as a young man. The story provided a satire (and philosophical exploration) of various aspects of Victorian society, most notably crime and punishment, religion and science. For example, according to Erewhonian law, offenders were treated as if they were ill, whereas ill people were looked upon as criminals. Another feature of Erewhon was the absence of machines due to the widely shared belief by the Erewhonians that they were potentially dangerous. These ideas – among others (the effects of colonisation, technological progress, the impossibility of utopias, discipline and punishment) – form both the thesis and the point of departure for the exhibition Erewhon.
Warrnambool Art Gallery
11 February – 12 June
Benalla Art Gallery
22 September – 26 November
Latrobe Regional Gallery
16 December 2017 – 11 March 2018
15 Oct 2016 – 4 Dec 2016
Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, NSW
IMAGE: The Weight of History, The Mark of Time, 2015. Installation view: Soft Core, Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, Sydney. Photo by Brenton McGeachie.
Soft Core presents artistic practices that explore the many facets of ‘softness’ – from large-scale inflatables to forms made from soft materials to materials that simply look soft. These artists are making works that demand attention – forms that are not simply bumped into while looking at paintings.
In the 20th century, artists began to disassemble the notion of traditional sculpture by adding and subtracting constructions, incorporating found objects and designating everyday items as art. These adaptive and divergent methods of form making continue today in a generation of artists who define sculpture in the negative condition: not bronze, not stone, not the macho force of the blast furnace.
The materials in this exhibition encompass air, inflatable nylon, unfired clay and plastics bags – materials that have been co-opted for their versatility and their mutability between function and emotion. Some of the works in this exhibition require activation – such as electricity or inflation to become whole while others inhabit their softness quietly.
Soft Core investigates these practices by presenting existing works and newly commissioned works by a diversity of artists who question the fluctuating meaning of what it means to be soft.
Curated by Micheal Do. The Weight of History, The Mark of Time, 2015 was Commissioned by the Barangaroo Delivery Authority as part of the Welcome Celebrations, September 2015, Sydney.
For an Image, Faster Than Light, Yinchuan Biennial
Hosted by the Museum of Contemporary Art Yinchuan (MOCA)
Until December 18, 2016.
Curated by Bose Krishnamachari, For an Image, Faster Than Light is the inaugural Yinchuan Biennial, which includes more than 80 international artists from 34 countries representing all facets of the globe.
The theme chosen for this exhibition is a sonic examination in eternities that the contemporary artists are engaging into finding answers to the questions confronting a vitiated social, political, economic and physical environment. It aims at uncovering the confrontation of world we’re facing today by the power of global creativity as to build and convey possible propositions. The exhibition includes various forms of presentations like film, device, photography, painting, sculpture, etc. Contemporary creation, social dynamics and cosmic connections are the investigative avenues artists, curators, critics, and scholars are being invited to discover as part of the happenstances and interactions programmed during YC Biennale 2016.
Image: Building (Eating) Empire, 2016 via Universes in Universe – Worlds of Art.
NGV Australia, Federation Square, Level 3.
3 March – 4 June 2017
Brook Andrew is an artist of considerable daring and flair whose work often confronts dangerous ideas, or questions conventional readings of the world. His constantly shifting, interdisciplinary practice challenges stereotypical notions of history, identity and race, without apportioning blame or guilt.
In re-discovering and re-positioning a complex practice, Brook Andrew: The Right to Offend is Sacred includes many of Andrew’s most memorable works, contextualised in exciting new ways, juxtaposed with formative works that have had very limited exposure. As a map that scopes, records and pinpoints great moments in Andrew’s career, this solo exhibition will also include a new sculptural work, enabling viewers to intuit future directions in the artist’s ever changing practice. These sculptures, like much of Andrew’s work, will draw on the artist’s extensive personal archive and respond to important themes in his practice that issue from and resonate in books, objects, photographs and postcards, newspapers and the media. The exhibition also confirms the importance of the collaborative process in Andrew’s practice.
This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.
Image: dhalaay yuulayn (passionate skin), 2004
enamel paint on anodised aluminium and wood, neon
125 x 170 cm
“Nations Party” and “Antipodes” at the Australian Print Workshop; & the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Cambridge
A solo exhibition Nations Party was presented at the Australian Print Workshop, Melbourne part of Antipodes. The group exhibition, Antipodes: Cut Apart was shown at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Cambridge, UK
Australian Print Workshop
210 Gertrude Street, Melbourne
11 June – 9 July, 2016
Antipodes: Cut Apart
Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
Cambridge, United Kingdom
22 June – 26 September 2016
A new collaboration between the University of Cambridge Museums in the United Kingdom and Australian Print Workshop brought together three of Australia’s most respected contemporary artists Brook Andrew, Tom Nicholson and Caroline Rothwell and is perhaps the Australian Print Workshop’s most ambitious and successful international partnership to date.
Hosted by the Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, APW and the Artists travelled to the United Kingdom to study rarely seen and highly significant collections relating to Australia and the Pacific.
The APW group met with eminent scholars and curators, and gained privileged ‘behind-the-scenes’ access to some of the most precious objects held in collections across the consortium of University of Cambridge Museums.
In London, the group had special access to world-renowned collections of early prints, drawings, watercolours and photographs housed at the National History Museum and The British Museum.
Exploring the interplay of natural history, empire, art and anthropology each of the Artists has now spent time in the print studio at APW, working in collaboration with APW Printers to produce reflective bodies of work in the print medium.
Project curated by APW Director Anne Virgo OAM and MAA Director Professor Nicholas Thomas. This project was made possible through the generous support of UCM, and APW’s long-standing philanthropic partner The Collie Print Trust.
Space & Time
Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney
3rd June – 2nd July, 2016
Space & Time is a moody immersive group of works incorporating neon, screen-print, collage, sculpture, photography and painting. This is the first time Brook Andrew has actively presented a group of works that span these mediums, together with images from his personal and other archives like the Museum of Anthropology and Archaeology, Cambridge in the UK, and the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences in Sydney.
Brook Andrew’s practice harnesses alternate narratives to assemble new directions of understanding historical legacies of colonialism and modernist histories. The juxtaposition of an elephant from the Bay of Bengal during an expedition by William Henry Crane c.1891 – 1903, with a 1930’s post card image of a mud-crab from the Northern Territory, Australia, also highlights the artists interest in power dynamics, the absurd and surreal. Striking swathes of abstract colour act as formalist components to accompany the convergence of these image events.
Titles like Earth and Guardians of the Galaxy – the motherhood number hint at the artists’ further interest in science-fiction and mysticism. Highlighting fictionalised space between truth and reality, time and interstellar space, the viewer is drawn into an environment of curiosity and entagled entrancement.