EXTRA JANUARY 2020
AUSTRALIAN ARTISTS AND ARTS ORGANISATION UNITE FOR BUSHFIRE RELIEF
In the face of the national bushfire and climate crisis, the art industry has united to raise much needed funds for relief organisations. In direct response to political inaction, artist-led, community minded and internationally supported fundraisers have popped up throughout Australia. From a cast of many, here is a wrap up of three exhibition fundraisers that demonstrate the power of art in bringing people together.
Emily Devers, Soph Kubler and Chris Macpherson of the The Third Quarter in Brisbane present BOILING POINT, a Bushfire Relief Fundraiser exhibition. They declare this point of climate catastrophe to be a marker in history for artists who identify as having reached their ‘boiling point’, growing increasingly ashamed of major government leaders efforts in the wake and leading up to the disaster. All proceeds from exhibition sales will go to state based brigades, food banks, animal rescue and the Fire Relief Fund for First Nations Communities.
In regional Victoria, the Gippsland Art Gallery has initiated Art Aid for Gippsland, a bushfire appeal exhibition and auction. With the support of local organisations such as Gippsland Art Couriers, Town And Country Gallery (Yarragon), East Gippsland Art Gallery and more, a selection of artworks up for sale will be on display at the Gippsland Art Gallery from 15 February to 15 March. After an open call for artwork donations, all funds raised will go to the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund.
And in the ACT, Tributary Projects, an integral organisation in Canberra’s arts community, presented Fire Relief (Fun)draiser Art Auction. In both a live and silent auction format, works from over 40 local and interstate artists raised funds directly for the Mogo Local Aboriginal Land Council, a township in Yuin Country that was ravaged by fires on New Years Eve. In addition, Linda Carlson has donated arts supplies that will go directly to artists in the Mogo Community.
In so many responses to the impending climate crisis, the Australian arts community has demonstrated both responsiveness and collective action in a time of need.
Image credit: Holly Anderson, Squinting, 2019, oil on panel, 12 x 17cm. Courtesy the artist and The Third Quarter, Brisbane
2020 HIGHLIGHTS - MAJOR BIENNALES, ART FAIRS AND EVENTS IN THE ASIA-PACIFIC
The international exhibition has long dominated the contemporary art world for its responsive and temporary gusto, taking over some of the most historically dominant and growing contemporary cities in the world. However, in recent years, the curated subsidiary of the global art fair has emerged as the premier platform for consuming the world’s rising contemporary art stars. Increasingly, guest curators are commissioned to produce large-scale exhibitions alongside stellar commercial booths to form ever-expanding hubs for contemporary art’s adoration. No longer are these exhibition and commercial models confined to the demands of Europe and North America, with the Asia Pacific regions now widely regarded as pushing into new and innovative territory; and bench-marking international standard. In Australia we have fairs such as Sydney Contemporary and the Melbourne Art Fair, alongside boutique fairs such as Spring1883. While Hong Kong and Singapore contemporaries continue to contribute to a growing conglomerate of world-class events in the Global South. Here is VAULT’s highlights of 2020 biennales, arts fairs and events in the Asia Pacific; which will no doubt grow as the year continues onwards!
- Taipei Dangdai, Nagang District Nangang Exhibition Center, 17 January - 19 January 2020
- India Art Fair, NSIC Exhibition Grounds Okhla Industrial Estate, 30 January - 2 February 2020
- Art Fair Philippines, The Link, Ayala Center, 21 February - 23 February 2020
- Art Dubai, Madinat Jumeirah, 25 March - 28 March 2020
- Art Basel Hong Kong, Wan Chai Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, 19 March - 21 March 2020
- Art Central Hong Kong, 17 March - 22 March 2020
- Spring1883, The Hotel Windsor, Melbourne, 17 June - 20 June 2020
- Melbourne Art Fair, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, 18 June - 21 June 2020
Biennales and Events:
- Adelaide Biennial, Art Gallery of South Australia 29 February - 8 June 2020
- Dhaka Art Summit, Shilpakal Academy, 7 February - 15 February 2020
- Biennale of Sydney, Various Locations, 14 March - 8 June 2020
- Yokohama Triennale, Yokohama Museum of Art and other locations, 3 July - 11 October 2020
- Sapporo International Art Festival, Various Locations, 19 December - 14 February 2020
Image credit:Melbourne Art Fair, 2018. Installation view, Elizabeth Willing, Strawberry Theif, 2018, Tolarno Galleries, Stand D7
THERESE RITCHIE AT MUSEUM AND ART GALLERY OF THE NORTHERN TERRITORY
Therese Ritchie’s burning hearts, a survey exhibition of one of Darwin’s most committed and socially engaged artists, continues the Museum and Art Gallery of Northern Territory’s commitment to promoting local contemporary artistic practice. Ritchie’s diverse practice, spanning print-making, posters, photography and painting, demonstrates her deft handling of the complexity of the lived experience up North. In this timely and expansive exhibition, Ritchie’s renowned prints, lauded for their unwavering political and social commentary, are contextualised alongside the fundamental role of photography in her practice. Through the camera as artistic tool, Ritchie’s lyrical and nuanced work seeks truth amidst the strained race relations and political deficiencies of the Territory today and over the past three decades.
Ritchie’s early works, which continue the grassroots ambition of the political poster movement of the 70s and 80s, are uncompromising in their ridicule of some of Australia’s most prominent and polarising leaders. Building visual tactics in the appropriation of White Australia’s most prized and problematic cultural symbols, Ritchie cuts through to the racism, hypocrisy and self-interest that has for too long defined this nations leadership.
Fundamentally driven by her experience living and working in Darwin, burning hearts positions photography at the centre of Ritchie’s artistic practice. As Australia’s most remote Territory, often perceived through the lens of the media, Ritchie adopts methods of photojournalism to problematise the assumed factuality of photography’s truth telling. In Ritchie’s extensive output, most recently creating compositions using the combination of photography and painting, the camera bears witness to the continuing vestiges of colonialism which has led to the systematic marginalisation of Aboriginal communities. Careful to interrogate the motivations and frameworks of her own gaze, Ritchie demonstrates the power of visual language to expose the injustices of racialized experience in Australia’s Far North.
Therese Ritchie at Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Darwin
On show until 28 June 2020
Image credit: Therese Ritchie, Rite Price, 2016, digital print, 58.5 x 79.5 cm. Courtesy of the artist
RUTH BUCHANAN EXPERIMENTS AT GOVETT-BREWSTER ART GALLERY
'The scene in which I find myself / Or, where does my body belong' is the result of New Zealand artist Ruth Buchanan’s 2016 residency at Govett-Brewster Art Gallery. This exhibition marks the launch of the 50-year anniversary of the galleries collection; in addition to marking the first major exhibition by recently appointed Co-Directors Aileen Burns and Johan Lundh; who joined the institution in 2019 following their tenure at the Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane. Buchanan carried out in-depth research of the more than 18,000 objects and archives for this exhibition. As an extension of Buchanan’s artistic practice, this project propositions the contested and dynamic relationship between the body, power and language to draw attention to the gaps and historical imbalances represented in Govett-Brewster’s collection.
Presented across the entire museum, the exhibition excavates the collection to present over 300 works from some of Aotearoa New Zealand’s most revered artists to interrogate the mechanisms of collection, namely who is afforded power and who is represented or un-represented in this process. Each of the five galleries is dedicated to a span of 10 years for which Buchanan has defined and assigned categories that expose and amplify the friction between policy goals, historical desires and contemporary frameworks in collecting.
In the conceptual logic and immersive presentation of the exhibition, audiences encounter the embodied and uncomfortable production, reception and canonisation of culture. In bringing together the work of Jim Allen, Flora Scales, Ralph Hotere, Colin McCahon, Fiona Clark and many more, the project takes a direct look at the structural inequality of one of New Zealand’s most highly regarded collections. In welcoming Buchanan into the museum to scrutinise its core history and archive, the artist is given permission to challenge the success and role of the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, ultimately challenging the gallery to capture a greater range of perspectives in its next 50 years of collecting.
Ruth Buchanan at Govett-Brewster Art Gallery
‘The scene in which I find myself / Or, where does my body belong’
On show until 22 March
Image credit: Ruth Buchanan, 'The scene in which I find myself / Or, where does my body belong', 2019, installation view, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery. Photo: Sam Hartnett
DAWN NG WITH SULLIVAN+STRUMPF AT S.E.A FOCUS
This year, Sullivan+Strumpf presented the work of multidisciplinary Singaporean artist Dawn Ng at S.E.A. Focus, an event that showcases contemporary art from Southeast Asia through a curated selection of artists and galleries. The gallery presented a number of works by the artist, namely MONUMENT MOMENTO (2020) and its sister series PERFECT STRANGER (2018), featured alongside Ng’s INTO AIR (ASH) (2017-), an ongoing series of residue paintings exploring the process of sieving time. INTO AIR (ASH) is the final of a three-part series exploring metamorphosis of form, state, shape and colour via the creation and disappearance of large sculptural blocks of frozen pigment. The entire series is a study of remembrance; an acceptance of transience and fragility; and an ode to the truth that the most beautiful things in this world are the ones we cannot hold on to no matter how hard we try. This was Sullivan+Strump’s second year participating in S.E.A Focus, consolidating their commitment to contemporary art practice in Southeast Asia.
Sullivan+Strumpf | Singapore at S.E.A Focus
Gillman Barracks, Singapore
On show January 16 until January 19
Image credit: Dawn Ng, ODESSA, ASH (detail crop), 2019, residue painting, acrylic paint, dye, ink on 300 GSM Cotton Paper, 139 x 144 cm
JUSTENE WILLIAMS AT CAMPBELLTOWN ARTS CENTRE
She Conjured the Clouds, the world premiere presentation of Justene Williams’ latest work as part of the Sydney Festival 2020, blended live performance and installation, continuing the artists project to shift the conventions of the visual arts and theatre. Designed for audiences of all ages and abilities, She Conjured the Clouds draws on the magical and transformative worlds conjured in traditional folklore and fairy tales to present a sensorial and immersive audience experience. Featuring video, animation, recorded and live music, architectonic costumes, dance, aerial performance and sculptural objects, Williams’ practice aims to reimagine the boundaries of arts, breaking down museum and theatre conventions to make way for experimentation, playfulness and accessibility.
Justene Williams at Campbelltown Arts Centre
She Conjured the Clouds
On show January 16 until January 18
Image credit: Justene Williams, She Conjured the Clouds, 2020. Performance still, Campbelltown Arts Centre, 2020. Photos: Rafaela Pandolfini
KEITH STEVENS AT VIVIEN ANDERSON GALLERY
Keith Stevens is a Pitjantjatjara artist born in the far north of South Australia at Granite Downs Cattle Station. In his childhood, Stevens’ family would spend weekends at their traditional homelands of Pilati and Iwarrawarra, eventually moving to Pilati Creek, now known as Nyapari Community. Stevens forthcoming exhibition draws from this deep cultural experience to continue the formidable artistic legacy of his family, continuing to work out of the Nyapari Art Centre, Tjungu Palya. The exhibition brings together Stevens rich and epic depictions of Pilati, the ancestral story of Nyapari, whose monumental scale capture the full range of Ancestral and human activity of that place. In a mastered painting technique, Stevens dramatic and thoughtful visual language pays respect to the oasis that is Pilati, a rock hole that never runs dry, a lifesaving destination.
Keith Stevens at Vivien Anderson Gallery
On show February 15 until March 7
Image credit: Keith Stevens, Pilati, 2019, synthetic polymer paint on canvas 199.0 x 199.0 cm. Image: Simon Anderson Photography, Melbourne. Courtesy: Vivien Anderson Gallery
MINSTREL KUIK AT HORSHAM REGIONAL GALLERY
In She who has no self, presented as part of PHOTO 2020 International Photography Festival, Minstrel Kuik considers and questions the politics of place, familial and cultural identity and how this intersects with personal experience. Born in Malaysia of Chinese ancestry, she lives and works in Kajang a suburban neighbourhood on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur. In She who has self, curated by Alison Eggleston, Kuik negotiates the tensions of different ideologies and social bounds is an everyday occurrence. Not only do these daily experiences position her between political society and authorities, they shape her artistic practice by providing necessary comparative grounds for her to consider the complexities of our modern life.
Minstrel Kuik at Horsham Regional Gallery
She who has no self
On show February 15 until May 10
Presented as part of PHOTO2020 International Photography Festival
Image credit: Minstrel Kuik, The Encounter from series Mer.rily Mer.rily, 2008-12 and The Triplets from the series Mer.rily Mer.rily Mer.rily Mer.rily, 2017. Courtesy of the artist and Richard Koh Fine Art, Kuala Lumpur.
HAUS WERK AT MCCLELLAND SCULPTURE PARK
As part of the official 100jahrebauhaus program that celebrated the centenary of the Bauhaus movement in 2019, Haus Werk: the Bauhaus in Contemporary Art explores the relevance and continuation of methods first pioneered in 1919. Focusing attention on the influence of female artists who were historically relegated to weaving workshops, Haus Werk extends our understanding of the Bauhaus as entwined with domestic space. Featuring Australian and international artists, Haus Werk importantly continues the educational agenda of the early 20th century movement to incorporate exhibitions, architecture, a library resource, an education program and a catalogue.
Haus Werk: the Bauhaus in Contemporary Art at McClelland Sculpture Park
On show until 15 March
Image credit: Jordan Marani, HAUSWERK II 2019, acrylic and pencil on board, 30.0 x 40.0 cm. Courtesy the artist and Daine Singer