EXTRA July 2019
International AND LOCAL News
Tate signs development partnership with Pudong Museum of Art
The Tate Gallery London has signed a development partnership with Shanghai’s Lujiazui Group as part of the development of the Pudong Museum of Art (PMoA). The Memorandum of Understanding will provide training, expertise and exhibition development in the lead-up to the Museum’s opening in 2021. The museum’s inaugural exhibition will be drawn from the Tate’s collection, and will be followed by two more exhibitions at PMoA. In a formal commitment to cultural exchange and professional development, Tate staff will aid in areas of visitor services, audience development, education, long-term strategic planning, art handling and exhibition management. The partnership follows a recent history of European and American museums expanding beyond their original geographic zones with a view to increasing audience engagement and strengthening relationships between two of the world’s biggest cities, London and Shanghai. The shortcomings of the Louvre Abu Dhabi or the Guggenheim Bilbao – which prescribe Western art historical perspectives upon emerging cultural hubs – can perhaps be rectified in this new model of shared development, mutual benefit and commitment to nurturing a public art institution from its inception.
Image credit: Left: Kerstin Mogull, Managing Director of Tate. Right: Mr Zhu Di, General Director, Art Department of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the People’s Republic of China and Deputy District Mayor of Shanghai Pudong New Area People’s Government. Painting: JMW Turner, The Blue Rigi, Sunrise, 1842. Photo courtesy Tate © Ben Fisher.
Ballarat International Foto Biennale announces 2019 program
On Wednesday June 19, the Ballarat International Foto Biennale launched its 2019 program at the Sofitel in Melbourne. Artistic Director Fiona Sweet referred to Ralph Rugoff’s 58th Venice Biennale exhibition, agreeing that “yes, we do live in interesting times.” The BIFB program sits within this climate of political transition, inviting photographic artists whose practice explores human intervention, rights, race, capital and conflict. Chinese contemporary artist Liu Bolin and preeminent Australian artist Dr Fiona Foley were announced as the headline exhibitions. Bolin’s Camouflage positions the artist as a disappearing figure inserted into historically significant sites of contest, criticism and intrigue in his home country, China. The artist explores the status of the individual in a globalised world, using disappearance as a form of resistance.Foley’s Who are these strangers and where are they going?, curated by Djon Mundine OAM, presents a mid-career survey of the artist’s influential photographic practice. Commissioned to coincide with the International Year of Indigenous Languages, Foley’s work grapples with continued racial and structural inequalities in Australia.
Other program highlights include exhibitions Bauhaus Foto, curated by Sweet and Associate Curator Aaron Bradbrook; To the Moon and Back, curated by Rebecca Najdowski and Dr Colleen Boyle; Capital, curated by Naomi Cass and Gareth Syvret; and solo exhibitions by Laia Abril (Spain), Adi Nes (Israel), Robbie Rowlands (Australia), Noémie Goudal (France) and Mathieu Asselin (France). The program will also launch the new National Centre for Photography at the former Union Bank, alongside an Open Program of local and international artists presented throughout Ballarat.
The Biennale shows throughout Ballarat from August 23 to October 20.
Image credit: Fiona Foley, HHH #1, 2004, ultrachrome print on paper, 76 x 101cm. © the artist. Courtesy the artist and Niagara Galleries, Melbourne.
Marco Fusinato at Anna Schwartz Gallery
'THIS IS NOT MY WORLD’
On show until July 6
Between 2006 and 2019, Melbourne-based artist Marco Fusinato invited a series of graphic designers to create banners in response to the phrase ‘THIS IS NOT MY WORLD’, originally employed as a political slogan in 1970s Zagreb, and plastered on government buildings by dissident Yugoslavian artist collective the Group of Six. The result is an expansive installation of five distinct banners: the unified form stretches 18 metres deep into the Anna Schwartz Gallery. Elevated above head height, the banners represent the distinct typographic style of each designer, fragmenting the aesthetic proposition. The banners create a form akin to a megaphone, prompting associations of Soviet propaganda, sporting arenas, media coups and the influx of political protests occurring globally. This amalgamated set of historical references is at the heart of Fusinato’s practice, which spans installation, performance and recording through methods of appropriation and reproduction.
Sited in the gallery, the work has been doubly decontextualised: from the original use of the rebel political slogan and from the historical moment in which each graphic designer responded to Fusinato’s prompt. As such, the work prompts audiences to recontextualise the gesture from a personal point of view. Fusinato’s installation expands literally across space and figuratively across time through shared authorship, fractured references and individualised aesthetics. The work can no longer be understood through its former uses, but as a commentary on the politically, socially and economically fraught contemporary times.
Image credit: Marco Fusinato, THIS IS NOT MY WORLD, 2019, dupont screenprint on trilobal polyester, 5 parts: 150 x 1800 cm (each), installation dimensions variable. Left to right: design by Joseph Churchward (2012); design by Experimental Jetset (2010); design by Seldon Hunt (2006); design by Radim Pesko (2018); design by Masahiko Ohno (2019). Photo: Andrew Curtis. © Marco Fusinato. Courtesy the artist and Anna Schwartz Gallery.
Patrizia Biondi at Artereal Gallery
On show from August 7 to 31
The quasi-architectural sculptures of Patrizia Biondi’s exhibition are made of salvaged cardboard. As the integral medium of trade, consumption, packaging, storage and, ultimately, obsolescence, this collection of works speaks to global sociopolitical transformations. In retaining the original marks, creases and deterioration of the material it becomes a literal representation of the processes, handling and exchange of goods and services in a neoliberal market economy. The nature of the cardboard medium is central to Biondi’s practice. The artist repurposes previously discarded cardboard to be sold and recirculated. The binary presentation of the medium – half-rigid, half-frayed – criticises the contemporary loss of community and rise of the individual. The artist describes this as a contest between “the crisis of empathy” and the aspiration of individualism, which are both fundamentally linked to consumerist culture. Ironically, the medium is concealed in bright colours, illuminating the exchange that occurs within the gallery: Biondi’s work becomes highly aestheticised, perhaps as an experiment to expose the power of product beautification and the implication for sales. Biondi’s work is more than the confrontation of two ideals or two treatments of a medium: these works represent the moral and philosophical slippage of a contemporary society that can no longer be categorised and must confront the multiplicities of economic and political ideologies.
Image credit: Patrizia Biondi, Fraught To The Bone, Rot To The Core, 2018, cardboard, paint, other media, 2.2 x 1.7m. Photo: Kim Nguyen. Courtesy the artist and Artereal Gallery.
The Studio at Charles Nodrum Gallery
Helen Maudsley, Dale Hickey, Jan Murray, Mark Galea, Sadie Chandler and Richard Dunn
On show from July 13 to August 3
Charles Nodrum Gallery presents The Studio, an exhibition that explores the processes, personal anxieties and ideas generated before the finite realisation of an art object. Curated by Sadie Chandler and Richard Dunn, the exhibition brings together work by Helen Maudsley, Dale Hickey, Jan Murray, Mark Galea, Sadie Chandler and Richard Dunn. In their individual explorations of the studio environment, the exhibition exposes the unseen precursor to artistic output, subverting idyllic assumptions and presenting the studio as of equal importance to the gallery space.
Image credit: Dale Hickey, Untitled, 2009. Courtesy the artist and Niagara Galleries. Helen Maudsley and Dale Hickey are represented by Niagara Galleries, Melbourne
Diego Ramirez at MARS Gallery
Signs of the Undead
On show from July 13 to August 3
Diego Ramirez’s exhibition examines the persistent symbology of the vampire as an embodiment of contemporary race and memory anxieties. The vampire is defined as undead, neither dead nor alive, and is contemplated through media associated with commercial signage. The unification of consumerist tendencies and holy imagery continues Ramirez’s interrogation of colonial legacies.
Image credit:Diego Ramriez, Eternal Arrival (installation view), 2019. Courtesy of Bundoora Homestead Arts Centre and MARS Gallery.
Ella Sowinska & Thea Jones at Centre for Contemporary Photography
A treasured private notebook
On show until August 11
A treasured private notebook is a collaboration between these two artists and their mothers. Sowinska’s film 80 Ways produces a scene from her mother’s erotic novel, exploring the uncomfortable psychological barriers of discussing sexual intimacy within parent-child relationships. Jones’s textile installation Jane’s Salvation (Paterson’s Curse) responds to an essay her mother wrote for one of Jones’s previous exhibitions in 2017. Instead of a scathing review, Jones received a touching portrait of life and death, and her textile responds to nostalgia as a coping mechanism for trauma. Together, these works mine the personal to reveal the constructed social dynamics of maternal relationships.
Image credit: Ella Sowinska and Thea Jones, installation view, A treasured private notebook, Metro Arts, Brisbane, 2019.
Social media has accelerated our levels of connectivity. But it’s also shortened our attention spans, limiting meaningful encounters with new art. Enter Prototype. This three-month digital pop-up project founded by editor and curator Lauren Carroll Harris, sees new experimental short films and moving image works – conceived by contemporary artists and filmmakers like Angela Goh, Jason Phu, Gabriella Hirst, Cloudy Rhodes and Hannah Brontë – appear in your inbox each Tuesday. The first edition is a lush meditation on longing and desire by experimental theatre maker Sarah Hadley. Sign up at youaretheprototype.art.
Image credit: James Nguyen, image courtesy of Prototype and the artist.
Jo Bertini at Arthouse Gallery
Land of Shining Stone, paintings from the deserts of New Mexico
On show from August 1 to 17
Jo Bertini’s new series of paintings was produced in and around the late Georgia O’Keeffe’s Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, New Mexico, where Bertini has lived for the last four years. The artist pursues painting as a way to explore the wilderness of inaccessible landscapes, perceiving the formation and abandonment of cultural traditions in rural environments. While Bertini follows in a long tradition of artists painting on ecological survey expeditions, the inverted colourscapes of her paintings expose what she defines as “an unfolding dream”, distinctly undidactic and purposefully abstracted.
Image credit:Jo Bertini, The desert garden in the land of enchantment, oil on canvas, 153 x 153 cm. Courtesy the artist and Arthouse Gallery
Lily Mae Martin at Scott Livesey Galleries
On show from July 27 to August 17
In this contemporary moment when women’s rights are both abhorrently regressing and on the cusp of constant liberation, Martin’s arresting paper works offer an honest depiction of the multitudes of womanhood. Throughout her work, motifs of binding depict the female protagonist as an agent of her own power: painful restriction only further motivates the mission to destabilise patriarchal shackles.
Image credit: Lily Mae Martin, Wheel, 2019, ink on paper, 76 x 56 cm. Courtesy the artist and Scott Livesey Galleries.
EXTRA June 2019
Winners Announced at 58th Annual Venice Biennale
The winners of the 2019 Venice Biennale Official Awards have been announced.
Lithuania won the coveted Golden Lion for the Best National Participation with the exhibition Sun & Sea (Marina).
The Lithuanian Pavilion was the popular hit of the opening week of the Biennale, as audiences queued for more than two hours to experience the visceral ‘opera-performance’. A collaboration between composer Lina Lapelytė, director Vaiva Grainytė and writer Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė, the pavilion was transformed into a holiday beach scene that explored the seriousness of global environmental anxieties. Through the assemblage of beachgoers and the gravitas of live operatics, the Pavilion’s unassuming frivolity gave way to a pointed warning of ecological disaster.
American artist Arthur Jafa won the Golden Lion for Best Participant for his film The White Album, included in Ralph Rugoff’s International Exhibition May You Live in Interesting Times.
Jafa’s work draws on popular imagery, archival materials, memes, music videos and viral news to weave a visual fabric of black experience. The White Album is longer and more complex than previous work, and in a barrage of “black aesthetics” – defined by the artist – Jafa exposes the fragility of self-imposed whiteness.
Cyprus-born, Berlin-based artist Haris Epaminonda won the Silver Lion for Promising Young Participant for her work Chimera.
The 58th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia runs until November 24, 2019.
Image credit: Arthur Jafa, 58th International Art Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia. Courtesy: La Biennale di Venezia
IMA Annual Gala Honouring Madonna Staunton
IMA Annual Gala and Benefit Auction
Honouring Madonna Staunton
Friday June 14, 6:30pm–late
The Institute of Modern Art in Brisbane will host its Annual Gala and Benefit Auction on Friday June 14. The Gala will move off-site for the first time and will be hosted at The Calile Hotel.
This year, the Winter Gala’s Honouree is artist and poet Madonna Staunton. Staunton is one of Queensland’s greatest living artists working in painting, collage and assemblages. Staunton exhibited in the 1979 Biennale of Sydney and has been the subject of two major survey exhibitions at the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art. Staunton’s work is defined by a subdued palette that emphasises a particular dichotomy between accuracy and approximation. Throughout her career Staunton has abandoned mediums, expanded in scale and most recently returned to painting, all demonstrating her tenacity as an artist committed to improvement.
The Gala includes an auction of works donated by artists and makers such as Tony Albert, Megan Cope, Robert Andrew, Sonja Carmichael, Agatha Gothe-Snape and many more – online bidding is available.
Image credit: Radha (Shahmen Suku), First Thursdays at the IMA, 2017. Photo: Louis Lim
Sam Shmith at ARC ONE Gallery
the sacredness of something
On show until June 22
On first view, Sam Shmith’s large-format works on paper appear to surrender to the obvious dissolve of distraction – the suggestion that our contemporary dependence on digital consumption inhibits sustained concentration. Shmith’s exhibition, the sacredness of something, presents the viewer with two options: attention or distraction. The body of work is pointedly and intentionally distorted, each work systematically lacking a clear focal point to emphasise the layers of imagery, light and technology that populate everyday life.
However, the abstraction of Shmith’s work should not be misguided. The prints are not a literal translation of the frenetic pace of contemporary culture but an invitation to manage the contest between confusion and concentration. Shmith’s work is a feat in the pairing of disharmonious elements: scale and detail; the landscape and the figurative; foreground and background.
Ultimately, the viewer must relate themselves to the work and occupy the human presence that is alluded to but never fully exposed. Shmith invites agency, and as the exhibition’s title suggests, we must now work harder to find what we value in the world around us. With both fear and doubt, the refraction of light that suggests the sparkle of an iPhone forces us to reconsider what we define as sacred.
Image credit: Sam Shmith, Untitled (figure, glass, landscape / consecutive), 2019, pigment print on paper, diptych, sheet: 168 x 110 cm, each, 168 x 220 cm, overall. Courtesy of the artist and ARC ONE.
Allan Fox at Gippsland Art Gallery
On show until July 28
For a painter whose work was first shown in Sale 52 years ago, Allan Fox continues to bring an energetic contribution to the legacy of Australian geometric abstraction. Good Vibrations is an expansive exhibition of more than 70 paintings perfectly executed, tightly packed and tensely contained within the pictorial frame. As each work varies in perspective and composition, Fox’s exhibition accumulates a collective intensity. En masse, the internal geometry of colour and tone communicates the artist’s lifelong obsession with precision.
Fox commenced work on his Sale exhibition in 1967 three months prior to the landmark exhibition Two Decades of American Paintings and a monumental 18 months prior to The Field, both shown at the National Gallery of Victoria. A Melbourne native and current Gippsland local, Fox shows a commitment to international currents that positioned his hard-edge geometric abstraction within a global legacy. Fox has held on to the revolutionary principles of formalism for its rejection of cultural and historical pretences but he has since excluded himself from the mechanics of the art world, signalling a personal commitment to the disciplined and dynamic outcomes of his painting. It is this singular passion that is the spirit of Good Vibrations.
Image credit: Allan Fox, Untitled, 2016, gouache on paper, 55.7 x 53cm. Courtesy of the artist.
David Frazer at Australian Galleries Melbourne
The Tangled Wood
May 28 to June 16
David Frazer’s practice is defined by his craftmanship. Working in etching, linocut, wood engraving and lithography, Frazer’s printmaking explores the fragility of rural environments and the idiosyncrasies of human interaction. The Tangled Wood becomes a metaphor for the flaws of human experience.
Image credit: David Frazer, The Tangled Wood (composition I), 2018, etching, 80 x 120 cm, edition 40. Courtesy of the artist and Australian Galleries Melbourne.
John Wolseley and Mulkun Wirrpanda at Geelong Gallery
Molluscs / Maypal and the warming of the seas
On show until June 2
John Wolseley and senior Yolngu artist and clan leader Mulkun Wirrpanda extend their decade-long collaboration in an exhibition that considers the fragility of the earth’s ecosystems. The uniting of Wolseley’s unique woodblock prints and Wirrpanda’s lyrical bark paintings results in a commanding meditation on the mollusc: a powerful indicator of changing oceanic conditions and water systems. John Wolseley and Mulkun Wirrpanda will show concurrently at Australian Galleries from July 23 to August 11 alongside new work by Mary Tonkin.
Image credit: John Wolseley and Mulkun Wirrpanda–Molluscs / Maypal and the warming of the seas, installation view, Geelong Gallery. Photographer: Andrew Curtis. Courtesy of the artists and Geelong Gallery.
Pierre Mukeba at Hamilton Gallery
On show until July 7
Pierre Mukeba’s figurative paintings have an arresting quality. The bodies portrayed are both personal and political, resulting in a genuine commentary on the experience of African communities in Australia. Throughout his work, Mukeba’s use of textiles synonymous with African culture, subsequently produced and appropriated by the Dutch, becomes symptomatic of persistent colonialism.
Image credit: Pierre Mukeba, Discrimination, 2017, brush pen and fabric applique on cotton, 180 x 200cm. Courtesy of GAGPROJECTS | Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide.
Heidi Yardley at Nicholas Thompson Gallery
On show until June 9
Heidi Yardley’s new body of work combines the influence of Surrealism and Victorian era portraiture to produce delicately rendered charcoals imbued with an otherworldly spirit. Through the veiling and obscuring of the female body, Yardley explores themes of loss, the afterlife and transient spirits. The mysterious figures evoke the real and unreal of life and death.
Image credit: Heidi Yardley, The thin veil, 2019, charcoal on primed paper 153 x 115 cm. Courtesy the artist and Nicholas Thompson Gallery.
Sounds Like. at Town Hall Gallery
On show until June 30
Sounds Like. brings together the work of Roger Alsop, Vicky Browne, Megan Alice Clune, Julian Day and Camille Robinson in an immersive sound, sculpture and performance installation. The exhibition rejects a dependence on the visual to explore the effect of sound on engagement and imagination. In Vicky Browne’s work, for example, the strict division between the tangible and intangible dimensions of audibility are poetically blurred – a theme explored throughout the exhibition.
Image credit: Julian Day, Cold Front, 2018, reflective mylar, speakers, dimensions variable. Installation view, Town Hall Gallery, 2019. Photo by Christian Capurro. Courtesy of Town Hall Gallery.