Sydney’s premier cultural institutions have announced the 49 artists to present work in the inaugural edition of The National: New Australian Art – opening on 30 March 2017 and running simultaneously as a unified exhibition at the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), Carriageworks and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA).
The National 2017: New Australian Art is the first edition of a six-year initiative, (to be presented in 2017, 2019 and 2021) exploring the latest ideas and forms in contemporary Australian art, while connecting three of Sydney’s key cultural precincts – The Domain, Redfern and Circular Quay.
Representing the only large-scale, multi-venue exhibition in the city to be focused solely on contemporary Australian art, the AGNSW, Carriageworks and MCA have collaboratively selected emerging, mid-career and established Australian contemporary artists – living across the country and abroad – to present work as part of a single curated program at the three institutions.
The artists on display at The National 2017: New Australian Art include: Khadim Ali, Zanny Begg, Richard Bell, Gordon Bennett, Chris Bond & Wes Thorne, Matthew Bradley, Gary Carsley, Erin Coates, Megan Cope, Karla Dickens, Atlanta Eke, Emily Floyd, Heath Franco, Marco Fusinato, Gunybi Ganambarr, Alex Gawronski, Ghenoa Gela, Agatha Gothe-Snape, Julie Gough, Alan Griffiths, Dale Harding, Taloi Havini, Gordon Hookey, Ronnie van Hout, Helen Johnson, Jess Johnson, Richard Lewer, Peter Maloney, Nicholas Mangan, Karen Mills, Archie Moore, Claudia Nicholson, Tom Nicholson, Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran, Nell, Rose Nolan, Raquel Ormella, Alex Martinis Roe, Stieg Persson, Elizabeth Pulie, Khaled Sabsabi, Yhonnie Scarce, Keg de Souza, Simon Ward, Justene Williams, Jemima Wyman, and Tiger Yaltangki.
Curators for the 2017 edition of The National: New Australian Art are Anneke Jaspers, Curator Contemporary Art and Wayne Tunnicliffe, Head Curator Australian Art, AGNSW; Lisa Havilah, Director and Nina Miall, Curator, Carriageworks; and Blair French, Director, Curatorial & Digital, MCA.
“This unique collaboration enables us to explore the themes and concerns of artists making work today in a way that a single organisation couldn’t undertake,” says Blair French, Director Curatorial & Digital at the MCA. “The works reflect the diversity of subjects preoccupying artists and all Australians from a cultural, political and social perspective.”
“Taking the form of sculpture, painting, installation, video, drawing and performance, this exhibition provides a snapshot of Australian art at this particular moment in time.”
At the AGNSW, The National 2017 presents contemporary artists who are engaging with marginal narratives and contested histories, including how these are shaped by uneven power relations and conflicting value systems.
“The works at the Art Gallery of NSW have mostly developed from archival or field research, and are underpinned by social engagement,” said Anneke Jaspers, Curator of Contemporary Art at AGNSW. “These artists navigate and reinterpret various histories – aesthetic, social, economic, environmental – to offer new readings of the present and the future. Many of the works offer an Indigenous perspective, or draw out connections to other geographic locations and cultures.”
At Carriageworks, the curatorial approach focuses on the current fluidity of identity – individual and collective, real and imagined. Works presented in The National 2017 at Carriageworks address the fractures and contingencies of Australian identity, with a strong cross-generational and cross-disciplinary focus.
“Artists at Carriageworks examine the self in the context of history, exploring questions of individualism, shared experience and relationally,” said Lisa Havilah, Carriageworks Director. “Many of the artists will be making works that are created collaboratively and works across disciplines including contemporary performance.”
At the MCA, The National 2017 includes artists working with key concerns through time, pulling history through and beyond the present; in particular artists working with repeated gestures and processes, or returning to actions, images or motifs consistently through time in their practice.
The National 2017: New Australian Art opens on 30 March 2017 at Art Gallery of New South Wales and Carriageworks, and 31 March 2017 at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. Entry to the exhibition is free at the three institutions.
Image: Atlanta Eke, Body of Work, 2014 Keir Choreographic Award – photo by Gregory Lorenzutti