We begin with a hallucination, follow with a series of artistic daydreams and reveries, zigzag through time, stop along the way for a dose of everyday surrealism, and find ourselves, at story's end, jolted back in the here and now.
A seamless interweave of dream and reality forms the basis of this Winter 2012 issue of Art & Australia. But whether exploring the kaleidoscopic dreams of artists past and present, as Sebastian Moody recounts in his essay 'Psychedelia now', or the future hopes of a new generation of artists such as Ai Weiwei, as Gregory Burke writes in his propositional text 'Pre-dictions: Art and the future', the binding artistic impulse, it would seem, is the desire for freedom.
We can follow this impulse through the 1960s participatory work of Brazilian artists Lygia Clark and Helio Oiticica, as Susan Best expertly documents, to the mesmeric videos of Gabriella Mangano and Silvana Mangano (the subjects of Geraldine Barlow's monographic essay), to the more frenzied performative gestures of Justene Williams which, as Mark Feary writes, collapse time and artistic convention.
The slippage between desire and reality, meanwhile, is the stuff of Anne Wallace's painted dreamworks, as Morgan Thomas poetically suggests: the 'stardust' of our collective unconscious. And lastly, the large-scale photographic tableaux of Jeff Wall seek and achieve freedom from time, place and a fixity of meaning, capturing a sublime and suspended state of open-endedness. As with the other artists in this issue, Wallace's work achieves its own liberating autonomy, offering us a moment perchance to dream.
Vol 49 No 4 Winter 2012
Catherine de Zegher and the 18th Biennale of Sydney
Established in 1973, the Biennale of Sydney is a significant and critically respected event in the contemporary art world within and beyond Australia. The 18th Biennale of Sydney, running until September 2012, unfolds across four key venues – the Art Gallery...
The place where thought and action meet: documenta (13)
Held every five years and now in its 13th iteration, documenta has been at the forefront of curatorial experimentation since 1955. This year’s artistic director, Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, following on from directing the 16th Biennale of Sydney in 2008, has...
Mission Impossible: The poetic narratives of Michael Cook
In Martin Scorsese's 2010 film adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s novel Shutter Island (2003), we are taken to a treacherous island outpost off the coast of the United States. It is 1954 and the island houses a hospital for the country’s most violent, mentally...
In May 2011 I curated an exhibition entitled 'New Psychedelia' at The University of Queensland Art Museum, Brisbane. The exhibition surveyed the noticeable return of psychedelic ideas and aesthetics in contemporary Australian art, featuring work from...
Brazilian participatory art of the 1960s
"Hélio was like the outside of the glove, linked to the exterior world. I am the inside, and the two of us exist from the moment there is a hand which puts on the glove."Lygia Clark The work of the Brazilian artist Lygia Clark (1920–1988) is regularly invoked...
Setting all levels at maximum: the work of Justene Williams
Some artists create a distinct separation between their personal selves and the work they create, affecting a division of the private and public – as much as that is possible within a cultural field which traffics so frequently in the individual position and...
The Mesmerists: Gabriella Mangano and Silvana Mangano
Against a backdrop of black we see a young woman lift one hand and then another as a tangle of grey tape is stretched into the near void. And then from behind another hand appears, invisibly black-sleeved as well, helping to lift and further extend the tape...
Anne Wallace's Dreamwork
'Reverie', 'Star dust', 'Dreaming of a song', 'Revenan't, 'Wolf Dream'. Already, titles like these suggest a line of inquiry, a field of play, even the path of an obsession, running through Anne Wallace’s art. Dreams, such titles seem to say, are the stuff...
Unsettled method: The cinematic pictures of Jeff Wall
For Jeff Wall the content of the work of art is to be found in the aesthetic experience of its forms. In this interview which took place in Vancouver on the occasion of the first major survey of his work in Australia, Wall discusses ways of seeing in the...
Predictions: Art and the future
'The future will only contain what we will put into it now'. So read Situationist graffiti in Paris, May 1968, when students of the Sorbonne and Nanterre came close to overthrowing the state. This event was one example of international social unrest and...
Gertrude Contemporary and Art &Australia Emerging Writers Program
The NGV International's new space for contemporary art opened with the elliptical sculpture of Ranjani Shettar. The Bangalore-born artist’s exhibition, 'Dewdrops and Sunshine’, was an evocative venture – for the viewer, artist and gallery. The show’s...
Art &Australia / Credit Suisse Private Banking Contemporary Art Award: Tom Polo
Tom Polo could be the next big thing. At 27 years of age he has been granted an Australia Council for the Arts studio residency in London, where he held his first international solo exhibition at Acme Project Space in July 2011; been named as a person ‘to...
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