Power to the People: Contemporary Conceptualism and the Object in Art

Agatha Gothe-Snape, Power to the People, 2011. Courtesy the artist
Power to the People: Contemporary Conceptualism and the Object in Art
  /  6 October – 20 November 2011

Curated by Hannah Mathews, the exhibition celebrates the role of the audience within this expanded field of art making. 

The late 1960s saw the rise of 'people power'. This movement to community involvement and self-determination had its political and social motivations shaped by events like the Vietnam war and the popular up-risings in Paris and elsewhere. Art responded by breaking down established hierarchies. Actions, happenings and interactive audience projects replaced the precious and discrete art object to create dynamic situations and installations.

Now contemporary artists are revisiting, revising and revitalising these strategies in new art that seeks a reconsideration of the object and an active, participatory audience. Through the presentation of works from over 17 Australian and international artists, Power to the People: Contemporary Conceptualism and the Object in Art, focuses on contemporary practices that demonstrate a move away from the art ‘object’ into more performative, documentative, research and participatory modes of art making.

In reconsidering the potentials for art outside the autonomous object, the exhibiting artists open up the conventional object/subject relationship to make room for the viewer to play a more performative role in the exhibition. This political shift, from precious object to engagement, implicates the audience more strongly in the work itself: art that continues to be fuelled by the power of the people.

Power to the People exists through a series of works, performances, tours and screenings in the gallery, online, in print and off-site. It is also accompanied by an exhibition catalogue with new texts by Italian writer, Luca Cerizza and an interview between Hannah Mathews and Donald Brook.

For more information on the Power to the People program please read on or visit the ACCA blog at www.accaartblog.com

Audio files
Power to the People: Contemporary Conceptualism and the Object in Art
Power to the People: Juliana Engberg In Conversation With Hannah Mathews & Agatha Gothe - Snape


Roman Ondák
Teaching to Walk (2002)
A young woman is invited to come to the gallery with her one-year-old boy to teach him to walk there. The performance is repeated every day for half an hour.
ACCA invites you to join in.
Dates Daily
Venue ACCA

Agatha Gothe-Snape
Every Artist Remembered (2009-)
Gothe-Snape and weekly guests will create a series of intricate drawing constellations that document variations of art history through a network of artist names.
Dates Fridays 5.30 – 7.30pm
Venue ACCA
Participating artists:
7 October - Barbara Campbell
14 October - Domenico de Clario
21 October - Mikala Dwyer
28 October - Callum Morton
4 November - David Haines & Joyce Hinterding
11 November - Laresa Kosloff
18 November - Ron Robertson-Swann
Free, bookings essential

Stuart Ringholt
Preceded by a tour of the show by artist Stuart Ringholt. (The artist will be naked. Those who wish to join the tour must also be naked. Adults Only) (2011)
A 50 minute naturist tour of the exhibition led by the artist, Stuart Ringholt.
Wednesday 5 October 5 – 6pm
Thursday 27 October 6 – 7pm
Saturday 29 October 6 – 7pm
Venue ACCA
Free, bookings essential


Headless at Regus (2010)
Join us for the screening of a documentary film by directors Kate Cooper and Richard John Jones that investigates Swedish artists Goldin+Senneby’s research into offshore financing and the activities of a fictional company called ‘Headless’.
Wednesday 26 October 6 - 7pm
Wednesday 16 November 6 – 7pm
Venue Regus Boardroom, Rialto Tower South, Level 27/525 Collins Street, Melbourne.
Places are limited. Bookings close Monday 3 October. Free

To book info@accaonline.org.au or 9697 9999


Lucas Ihlein and Ian Milliss
Join artists, Lucas Ihlein and Ian Milliss, for a bus trip to see the art of lateral thinking in the wilds of Woodend. Their work, Yeomans Project, investigates the influence of P. A. Yeomans the Australian farmer whose sustainable agriculture systems can be seen as a model for the radical re-interpretation of the role of the artist.
Meet ACCA foyer 10.30am Saturday 8 October. Return ACCA 4pm
Cost FREE. BYO own picnic, blanket and thermos


Olaf Nicolai illustrated artist talk 
ACCA, in partnership with the Goethe Institut, presents a free talk with Olaf Nicolai. Join the Berlin-based conceptual artist for a rare insight into his multi-disciplinary practice.
Date Friday 7 October 6pm
Venue Goethe Institut, 448 St Kilda Road, Melbourne

Silent partners
Angus Cameron, emissary of Swedish artists Goldin+Senneby and coauthor of The Imagined Economies of Globalization, will give two talks that outline aspects of the project Looking for Headless. Cameron will speak about his involvement with the artists and the significance of collaborative representation (visual, textual, institutional, performative) to the ‘realities’ of capitalism.
Date Wednesday 12 October 6pm
Venue ACCA foyer

Date Saturday 15 October 3pm
Venue Regus Boardroom, Rialto Tower South, Level 27/525 Collins Street, Melbourne

Peter Friedl in coversation
Join exhibiting artist, Peter Friedl, in conversation with New Zealand curator, David Cross, as they discuss wearing animal costumes and conceptually-based art projects.
Date Wednesday 19 October 6pm
Venue ACCA foyer

All talks are free. Bookings essential.

To book info@accaonline.org.au or 9697 9999



  • Peter Friedl
  • Dora García
  • Mario Garcia Torres
  • Goldin+Senneby
  • Agatha Gothe-Snape
  • Lucas Ihlein & Ian Milliss
  • Natasha Johns-Messenger
  • Fiona Macdonald
  • Ján Mančuška
  • Jonathan Monk
  • Olaf Nicolai
  • Roman Ondák
  • Kirsten Pieroth
  • Seth Price
  • Stuart Ringholt
  • Matthew Shannon
  • Derek Sullivan and the Post project