Art Gallery of South Australia announces highlights of 2021 program

AGSA-Ramsay-Art-Prize-2019-Tricksters-by-Tarryn-Gill-Installation-photo-by-Saul-SteedThe Art Gallery of South Australia has announced highlights of its 2021 program that promises to be both explorative and contemplative.

“In 2021, the Art Gallery of South Australia promises fresh new horizons through a spirited exhibition program that highlights modern and contemporary Australian art,” said AGSA Director Rhana Devenport ONZM.

“The voyage is at the forefront of this year’s artistic program from journeys with surrealists at sea, to the Antarctic circle, from sunrise vistas to the emergence of the next generation of Australian artists. We invite audiences to engage with AGSA as a destination for meaningful and memorable encounters with art,” said Ms Devenport.

In late February, AGSA presents the most comprehensive retrospective ever staged of Clarice Beckett, one of Australia’s most admired modernist artists. Clarice Beckett: The present moment will see 130 works by the artist on display as part of the 2021 Adelaide Festival. Arranged to chronicle a single day, the exhibition mirrors Beckett’s artistic practice and ability to capture moments in time with captivating sensory depth and mindful expansion.

2021 marks the third iteration of the Ramsay Art Prize, that will see a new generation of artists present their most ambitious works in the $100,000 acquisitive visual arts prize. The finalists of the Ramsay Art Prize 2021 will be displayed in this major exhibition and the winning artist, aged under forty, will be announced on Friday 21 May.

June will showcase Dušan and Voitre Marek: Surrealists at sea, the first major survey of art by Czech-Australian brothers Dušan and Voitre Marek. Upon their arrival in Adelaide in 1948, Dušan and Voitre set into motion a surge of new ideas and controversies that challenged the conventions of and shaped new pathways in Australian art.

Set against the sound of ticking clocks and a music box, this exhibition will present the breadth of their investigations. Highlights include the artists’ voyage paintings created during their long sea journey from Europe to Australia and Dušan’s pioneering surrealist films.

October will signal the return of Tarnanthi – the Gallery’s foremost platform of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art. 2021 welcomes the biennial state-wide festival that will see Tarnanthi celebrated with a major exhibition at the Art Gallery of South Australia as well as multiple venues across South Australia.

As with each iteration, AGSA will present an extensive array of talks, tours, performances, workshops and student programs, as well as the much anticipated three-day Tarnanthi Art Fair.

In May, A Vast Emporium: Artistic exchange and innovation in a global age will explore voyages to Asia during the first age of global trade, when exports in Indian textiles, Chinese porcelain and Japanese lacquerware enabled cultural encounters and artistic exchanges.

One of the most extreme landscapes on the planet will be the subject of a new exhibition at AGSA opening in early December and on display through 2021. Antarctica: Five responses is an exhibition of artists’ visual and aural responses to a century of Antarctic exploration.

20th century photographer and filmmaker Frank Hurley’s photographs will sit alongside Australian-born artist Sidney Nolan, painter and printmaker Bea Maddock, Adelaide-based contemporary artist Ian North, and sound artist Philip Samartzis.

Exploring the mechanics of vision, concepts of infinity and the outer edges of perception, Dark Matter, Bright Light features major new acquisitions, along with rarely seen works and selected loans by foremost contemporary international artists including, Olafur Eliasson, Yayoi Kusama, Alicja Kwade and Hiroshi Sugimoto. Opening in late December 2020, the works will be on display through 2021.

For more information on the Art Gallery of South Australia’s 2021 program, visit: for details.

Image: Ramsay Art Prize 2019, featuring Tricksters by Tarryn Gill, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide (installation view) – photo by Saul Steed