Current Media Releases

Sovereignty

 

Australian Centre for Contemporary Art
17 December 2016 – 26 March 2017

For its inaugural Big Picture Summer Series, ACCA is proud to present Sovereignty, a major new exhibition focusing on the contemporary art of First Nations peoples of South East Australia, to celebrate the culturally and linguistically diverse narratives of self-determination, identity, sovereignty and resistance.

Taking the example of Ngurungaeta (Elder) and Wurundjeri leader William Barak as a model – in particular Barak’s role as artist, activist, leader, diplomat and translator – the exhibition presents vibrant and diverse visual art and culture of the continuous and distinct nations, language groups and communities of Victoria’s Indigenous sovereign peoples.

Sovereignty is curated by Paola Balla (Wemba-Wemba and Gunditjmara) and ACCA’s Artistic Director Max Delany. It brings together new commissions, recent and historical works by over 30 artists, celebrating the continuing vitality of First Nations' communities, and the resilience and ingenuity of Indigenous cultures.

Based on a consultative, collaborative curatorial model, Sovereignty is conceived as a platform for Indigenous community expression. An ambitious program of talks, forums, screenings, performances, workshops and events will accompany the exhibition.

As Paola Balla notes: ‘The sovereignty of First Nations peoples is embodied culturally, historically and politically, and has never been ceded. The artists represented in Sovereignty demonstrate deep knowledge of culture, connections, and diverse understandings of self and identity. This voice is one of resistance, always, forever stating that we are ever present, and articulating that survival through re-enacted and re-recreated practice, and in making new work and languages to respond to the world around us.’

‘The exhibition is structured around a set of practices and relationships in which art and society, community, family, history and politics are inextricably connected’, says ACCA’s Artistic Director Max Delany.

‘Presenting some of the most interesting artistic practices developed over the past decade, and earlier across generations, Sovereignty provides an opportunity to engage with critical historical and contemporary issues in Australian society.’

A diverse range of discursive and thematic contexts are elaborated through the exhibition: the celebration and assertion of cultural identity and resistance; the significance and inter-connectedness of Land, 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 will include:

New commissions and major projects by:

  • Brook Andrew, Jim Berg, Maree Clark, Vicky Couzens, Destiny Deacon and Virginia Fraser, Gary Foley, Kent Morris, Steaphan Paton, Rekko Rennie, Steven Rhall, among others

Key historical works including:

  • William Barak’s painting of Ceremony c.1880-90, and a carved parrying shield and club from 1897
  • Rarely seen super 8 films from Bill Onus’ home movie collection, c.1964.  The films capture everyday life and activities at Bill Onus’ Aboriginal Enterprises; special events and celebrations; a family road trip across the Nullabor; Bill’s son, artist Lin Onus painting a mural; Bill throwing a boomerang with Harry Belafonte and Pastor Doug Nicholls; along with a range of personalities and community figures.

Contemporary engagement with and renewal of long-standing, unbroken artistic traditions:

  • Newly woven eel traps by Bronwyn Razem; Possum skin cloaks and memorial pouches by Vicky Couzens; and woven cloaks and fishnets by Glenda Nicholls; among others...

Hip-Hop, Film and Digital Story-Telling:

  • Sovereignty will include the music videos of celebrated Shepparton Hip Hop artist Briggs, through his Bad Apples label; Amiel Courtin-Wilson’s award-winning film Bastardy, focusing on the life and times of Uncle Jack Charles; and videos on Indigenous identity produced by young people involved in the Youth Leadership programs developed by the Korin Gamidji Institute, in association with the Richmond Football Club and University of Melbourne.

Activism:

  • Photographs, video works, sculptures and protest banners by Lisa Bellear and Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance, among others, reflecting key moments of political activism and resistance across generations.

Publication:

An extensive, illustrated publication will be produced, featuring essays by Curator Paola Balla, celebrated author Tony Birch, and Kimberley Moulton, Senior Curator, South Eastern Australia Aboriginal Collections, Melbourne Museum

Sovereignty
Australian Centre for Contemporary Art

17 December 2016 – 26 March 2017

Featuring works by over 30 artists including Brook Andrew, William Barak, Lisa Bellear, Jim Berg, Briggs, Trevor ‘Turbo’ Brown, Maree Clark, Amiel Courtin-Wilson & Uncle Jack Charles, Megan Cope, Vicki Couzens, Destiny Deacon & Virginia Fraser, Marlene Gilson, Korin Gamidji Institute, Brian Martin, Bruce McGuinness, Kent Morris, Bill Onus, Steaphan Paton, Bronwyn Razem, Reko Rennie, Steven Rhall, Yhonnie Scarce, Peter Waples-Crowe, Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance, Lucy Williams-Connelly, among others. Curated by Paola Balla (Wemba-Wemba and Gunditjmara) and Max Delany

Australian Centre for Contemporary Art
111 Sturt Street, Southbank VIC 3006, Australia
10am - 5pm Tuesday to Friday;
12-5pm weekends and public holidays

Monday by appointment
Tel: 03 9697 9999.  Admission: Free

ACCA is supported by the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian, State and Territory Governments.

For further media information: 

Katrina Hall
kathall@ozemail.com.au or 0421153046

Attached files

He An: Do You Think That You Can Help Her Brother?

Do You Think That You Can Help Her Brother?, 2008-09, installation view, courtesy Leo Xu Projects, Shanghai.

Presented in partnership with Asia TOPA
11 February – 23 April, 2017

Chinese characters gleaned from shopfronts and various sites throughout the city of Beijing, tell a dark story about love, desire and power in He An’s neon light installation, Do You Think You Can Help Her Brother?, which will be presented on the northern façade of ACCA’s iconic architecture as a keynote public project for Asia TOPA.

Drawn from popular news stories and online social media, Do You Think That You Can Help Her Brother? combines found texts to create a narrative poem that relays the experience of marginalized labour workers, popular Chinese novels, the sex industry and criminal underground networks in Chinese society.

The work is made up of several large and colourful neon Chinese characters. Each has been 'found', and while stylistically unique, together they create a poem that makes visible the risk to women in these male-dominated networks.

“He An has a long interest in language, literature and the urban environment.  One of a number of light works he has made in the last fifteen years, Do You Think That You Can Help Her Brother? is a transgressive and poetic work referencing the shifting changes in style of the neon signage that punctuates Beijing’s cityscape and the impact of social media on relaying stories and shaping behaviour,” says curator Hannah Mathews

‘Inspired by the city lights and tenebrous urban narratives of Beijing, He An’s breathtaking installation creates a form of urban poetry from retrieved heritage signage which is swiftly disappearing from the skyline due to the rapid transformation of Beijing’s urban environment’, says ACCA’s Artistic Director and CEO Max Delany.

Born in 1971 in Wuhan, Hubei, China, He An lives and works in Beijing and is part of an emerging generation of artists born after China’s Cultural Revolution who are making work in the midst of an enormous industrial expansion and urban transformation. His work largely deals with the physical and psychological atmosphere of China’s growing cities, especially the signs, lights and language that populate the built environment. In 2000, He An started incorporating neon light-box characters—gathered from the ubiquitous signage of fast-growing cities like Shenzhen and Wuhan—into his art. His work was featured in the Shanghai Biennale (2006) and is held in the collection of the White Rabbit Gallery, Sydney. He An is represented by Leo Xu Projects (Shanghai), Pace (Beijing) and Galerie Daniel Templon (Paris and Brussels).

Asia TOPA is a landmark festival-style celebration of Asian-focused performance and culture launching in Melbourne in January 2017. Created to celebrate the incredible richness and diversity of Asian performing arts and culture, Asia TOPA is presented by a consortium of Melbourne’s leading arts organisations and community of thought leaders and culture makers from the Asia-Pacific region.

Presented in partnership with Asia TOPA                           
He An: Do You Think That You Can Help Her Brother?   11 February – 23 April, 2017

Australian Centre for Contemporary Art
111 Sturt Street, Southbank VIC 3006, Australia
10am - 5pm Tuesday to Friday; 11am - 5pm weekends and public holidays, Monday by appointment. 
Tel: 03 9697 9999.  Admission: Free
www.accaonline.org.au

Asia TOPA is a joint initiative of the Sidney Myer Fund and Arts Centre Melbourne and is supported by the Australian and Victorian Governments.
ACCA gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Sidney Myer Fund and Arts Centre Melbourne for this project.

ACCA is supported by the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian, State and Territory Governments.

Gerard Byrne: A late evening in the future

July, 2016

Gerard Byrne, A thing is a hole in a thing it is not, 2010, film installation. Courtesy the artist and Lisson Gallery, London

Presented by ACCA in association with Melbourne Festival
Gerard Byrne: A late evening in the future

In Samuel Beckett’s one-act play Krapp’s Last Tape, the curtain rises to the mise-en-scène: ‘a late evening in the future’. For his exhibition of the same name, Irish artist Gerard Byrne employs a similar sense of drama: transforming ACCA into a theatre, and implicating the audience within an intricate, multi-sensory network of lights, flickering TV monitors, video projections and architectural structures.

In the case of Beckett’s character Krapp, the ‘tape’ in the play’s title refers to audio recordings made by the protagonist as a younger man. In this first scene he is revealed listening over them and adding new commentary to reflect on recent years.

Byrne’s exhibition pays homage to this history of recordings, bringing together a dense accumulation of his own video works spanning more than fifteen years.

Throughout his varied practice, Byrne has explored historical ideas, conversations and sites in order to consider their contemporary relevance and to blur distinctions between past and future, myth and reality. The first major survey of the artist’s work in Australia, Gerard Byrne: A late evening in the future builds on this interest in collective history and dramatic reconstruction, employing the device of a playback system to convulsively shuttle and scroll through moments of memory and cultural amnesia.

Byrne’s work is characterised by a laconic humour. His projects examine the ambiguities of language and of what is gained or lost in the translation from text to image. By reconstructing historically charged conversations, interviews and performances, from sources as diverse as La Revolution Surréaliste or Playboy and National Geographic magazines, Byrne tests our perception of the past and the present, and the inherent challenges of the visual record.

Gerard Byrne: A late evening in the future offers audiences the chance to review Byrne’s extensive body of work, which, while conceived independently, resonates together as if made in relation to a specific, but malleable historical referent.

A new commission by Gerard Byrne will also be presented at the same time by Monash University Museum of Art I MUMA. Co-commissioned by MUMA, Mead Gallery, Warwick University, and Moderna Museet, Stockholm this new work - Jielemeguvvie guvvie sjisjnjeli - is the centre of the group exhibition Life inside an Image which considers the museum as an image-capturing technology. The exhibitions runs 1 October – 10 December 2016. See https://www.monash.edu/muma for more information.

Born in Dublin in 1969, Gerard Byrne represented Ireland in the 2007 Venice Biennale, and has had major presentations at international biennials including Gwangju and Sydney in 2008, Lyon in 2007, the Tate Triennial in 2006, and the Istanbul Biennale in 2003. Solo exhibitions of his work have been presented at the ICA Boston and the Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen (both 2008), Dusseldorf Kunstverein, the Charles H. Scott Gallery, Vancouver (2007), the Frankfurter Kunstverein (2003) and at the Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin (2002). In 2006 he was a recipient of the Paul Hamlyn award. He is represented in London by Lisson Gallery and in Stockholm by Galerie Nordenhake.

Gerard Byrne: A late evening in the future
8 October – 27 November 2016

Australian Centre for Contemporary Art
111 Sturt Street, Southbank VIC 3006, Australia
10am - 5pm Tuesday to Friday;
11am - 5pm weekends and public holidays
Monday by appointment.
Admission: Free

Tel: 03 9697 9999
www.accaonline.org.au

 
ACCA is supported by the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian, State and Territory Governments.
 
For further media information:
Katrina Hall 0421153046 or kathall@ozemail.com.au