installation

Anri Sala: The Last Resort

October 20, 2017
Anri Sala, drum beats over Sydney Harbour

Historians can never agree about the so-called “Age of Enlightenment”. The narrow definition has it beginning with the death of Louis XIV in 1715 and ending with the French Revolution in 1789. The long version begins somewhere in the late 1600s and fizzles out in 1815 with Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo. As the dates are … More


Jonathan Jones: Barrangal Dyara

September 22, 2016
Prototype ceramic shields on site at the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney. Photo: Emma Pike/Kaldor Public Art Projects

Jonathan Jones’s Barrangal Dyara (Skin and Bones) is one of the most ambitious art projects ever seen in this city, and one of the most ephemeral. It acts as a massive aide-memoire to public consciousness, reminding us of what has been buried and forgotten within little more than a century. Yet the physical form of … More


Jompet Kuswidananto & Katthy Cavaliere

August 25, 2016
Jompet Kuswidananto's 'After Voices' at SCAF Sydney.

“Within the crowd there is equality,” wrote Elias Canetti, in his compelling, eccentric book, Crowds and Power (1960). “All demands for justice and all theories of equality ultimately derive their energy from the actual experience of equality familiar to anyone who has been part of a crowd.” Yet within that feeling of equality generated by … More


Telling Tales

July 1, 2016
Shirley Purdie, Daaloony (Green Plum Buchanania Obovata) from the series Goowoolem Gijam – Gija plants, 2013-16, ochre on canvas, 72 parts: 45 × 45 cm each, image courtesy the artist and Warmun Art Centre © the artist/Licensed by Viscopy 2016, photograph: Jessica Maurer

At the 1986 Adelaide Festival I attended a couple of evenings with American actor, Spalding Gray, who sat on a bare stage and delivered monologues. It sounds like a recipe for boredom but Gray’s performances were spell-binding – a revelation as to the power of simple, unadulterated story-telling. In tribal cultures the role of story-telling … More


White Rabbit: Heavy Artillery & Cang Xin

May 20, 2016
Xu Zhen (produced by MadeIn Co), European Thousand-Armed Classical Sculpture, 2014.

There has never been a centralised, authoritarian form of government that encourages diversity. This is why alarm bells should start ringing when our own leaders want to keep centralising power – amalgamating local councils under the leadership of unelected administrators; putting a town’s art gallery, museum and theatre under the jurisdiction of a single “cultural … More


Adelaide Biennial 2016

March 10, 2016
Tom Moore's work, Planktonic Self, will be turned into a large inflatable artwork.

Adelaide has thrown down the gauntlet for this year’s Sydney Biennale with a show that sparkles like a revolving disco ball. I can’t recall an exhibition of contemporary Australian art which has opened with more positive energy than the 2016 Adelaide Biennial: Magic Object. It’s a tour-de-force for the undervalued Australian art scene, and a … More


Matthys Gerber

October 16, 2015
Matthys Gerber, Self Portrait, 2002, oil on polyester, Collection of the University of Queensland, purchased 2005, image courtesy and © the artist, photo: Carl Warner

One might imagine there is no need to explain why Matthys Gerber’s survey at the Museum of Contemporary Art is called Matthys Gerber, but curator Natasha Bullock tells us “it is in keeping with Gerber’s belief in the pre-eminence of the artist over art above all other considerations.” (Italics in the original) It’s not exactly … More


Aleks Danko and Haines & Hinterding

August 29, 2015
Aleks Danko, incident – Ambivalence, 1991-1992, wood, galvanised steel and synthetic polymer paint and varnish, Museum of Contemporary Art, purchased with the assistance of stART, MCA Young Patrons, 1993, image courtesy and © the artist

There are many exhibitions that must have been fun for the artist but leave viewers in a state of mild perplexity. The Museum of Contemporary Art has two such shows at the moment – shows that can be broadly appreciated, but not loved. Energies, the survey by David Haines and Joyce Hinterding, is almost over, … More


Moscow Biennale 2013

October 5, 2013
Panamarenko, The Aeromodeller, 1969

Moscow will never be a contender for the title of ‘World’s Most Liveable City’. It is a place where puny human beings are overshadowed by the architectural juggernauts of Church and State. Even the famous Metro – each station an aesthetic marvel – is so deeply embedded in the earth that every train trip feels … More


Linde Ivimey

February 16, 2013
Linde Ivemey, Twelve Apostles, 2006, acrylic resin, wood, steel armature, dyed cotton and silk, natural  fibre, acrylic fibre, cast and natural cow, sheep , turkey and  chicken bones, seed pods, shell, echidna quills, porcupine quills,  found objects, laundry lint, feather

Linde Ivimey is the most conspicuous beneficiary of the Gothic turn that Australian contemporary art has taken over the past few years. A decade ago she was virtually unknown, making a living by sculpting cakes while pursuing sculpture in her spare time. Nowadays her pieces are eagerly sought after by private collectors and public galleries. … More