Light: Works from Tate’s Collection

TATE-James-Turrell-Raemar-Blue-1969-photo-by-Chen-HaoFeaturing 70+ exceptional works harnessing the phenomenon of light across 200 years of art history, Light: Works from Tate’s Collection, the Australian-exclusive exhibition curated by Tate (UK), has opened at ACMI.

Presented as part of the Melbourne Winter Masterpieces series, presented by Visit Victoria, Light: Works from Tate’s Collection features paintings, photography, sculpture, drawing, installation and the moving image, from world-renowned artists including Joseph Mallord William Turner, John Constable, Bridget Riley and Claude Monet juxtaposed against more contemporary works by Olafur Eliasson, Yayoi Kusama, Tacita Dean and James Turrell.

“After much anticipation, the time has arrived for ACMI audiences to experience an unforgettable collection from Tate,” said ACMI’s Acting Director & CEO Graham Jephcott.”With Turner’s monumental painting The Deluge on display in Australia for the first time, alongside 70+ works dedicated to exploring an elemental force so vital to moving image creation, ACMI is overjoyed to be presenting a dazzling exhibition that encourages us all to see art in a new light.”

Connected by their fascination with light as both material and subject, more than 70 works feature in this exclusive blockbuster exhibition, including must-see historical paintings by iconic artists like the great Romantic painter J. M. W. Turner, John Constable, Wassily Kandinsky and Josef Albers, as well as the atmospheric beauty and transient light effects captured by Impressionist painters Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro and Alfred Sisley.

These extraordinary paintings are juxtaposed against equally groundbreaking works from modern and contemporary artists: Olafur Eliasson’s crystalline sculpture Stardust Particle (2014), Yayoi Kusama’s kaleidoscopic The Passing Winter (2005), James Turrell’s immersive Raemar, Blue (1969), Tacita Dean’s 16mm film Disappearance at Sea (1996) and Liliane Lijn’s moving sculpture Liquid Reflections (1968).

Viewed collectively, these radiant works draw fascinating links across time, medium and style, projecting light onto the viewer’s body and absorbing them into visions of infinite lustre and luminosity.

The exhibition’s opening coincides with the announcement of several new additions to the Light events program, each designed to enhance the visitor experience and audiences’ understanding of light through the lens of art.

Leading the events line-up is the Light Cinematographer Program – which will feature an in-conversation event with Kaytetye-born (Alice Springs) multi-award-winning director and cinematographer Warwick Thornton (Samson and Delilah, Sweet Country) on 15 July in Warwick Thornton x LIGHT.

Thornton will discuss his craft and career, before two double bills are screened over the weekend, featuring a film from his back catalogue and a film that inspired him. Audiences can catch Warwick Thornton’s Sweet Country (2017) and Jim Jarmusch’s Down by Law (1986) on 16 July, plus Wim Wenders’ Paris, Texas (1984) and Warwick Thornton’s Samson and Delilah (2009) on 17 July.

A second edition of the Light Cinematographer Program will feature an in-conversation event with Oscar nominee Ari Wegner (The Power of the Dog, Zola) on 4 November in Ari Wegner x LIGHT. Wegner will also discuss her craft and career before two double bills screenings over the weekend – each featuring a film from her back catalogue and a film that inspired her.

Audiences can experience Robert Bresson’s A Man Escaped (1956) with Dustin Feneley’s Stray (2018) on 5 November. The 6 November double bill screening will feature Peter Strickland’s In Fabric (2018) and Mario Bava’s Blood and Black Lace.

The previously announced Liquid Architecture x Light program – an evening of experimental sound and cinema inspired by Lis Rhodes’ 1975 film installation Light Music, now moves to 15 October.

Visitors to ACMI are also invited to discover stories, techniques and the history of key exhibition works through a special in-gallery talk by ACMI Curator Laura Castagnini as part of a monthly Light: ACMI Curator Tour.

These tours, offering audiences a deeper dive into the themes and historical context of Light, take place from August to November and will be followed by an opportunity to wander through the exhibition in an exclusive after-hours viewing session. Light is also flanked by two major free exhibits:

A major new commission by contemporary Australian artist Mikala Dwyer is also on display in ACMI’s largest foyer. Weights of Light (2022) features a cluster of four monumental transparent forms suspended high above visitors’ heads. Exploring materiality and open-ended narratives, the work hovers between being visible and invisible through the play of light.

ACMI’s Gallery 3 features Light Music (1975) by Lis Rhodes, a work that is part of Light: Works from Tate’s Collection and now on display until 23 October. A major figure in the history of artists’ filmmaking in Britain, Rhodes is one of the early proponents of expanded cinema. Light Music positions audiences as both participants and spectators in a work revealing the experimental interrelationship of light and the moving image.

“Melbourne is coming alive this winter with a host of amazing creative experiences,” said Minister for Creative Industries Danny Pearson. “Spanning 200 years of art and packed with light-fuelled masterpieces, this exhibition is the perfect reason to visit the new ACMI and enjoy Melbourne at its creative best.”

LightWorks from Tate’s Collection
ACMI, Fed Square, Melbourne
Exhibition continues to 13 November 2022
Entry fees apply

For more information including the extensive line-up of talks, film screenings, performances, workshops, late-night exhibition access, visit: for details.

Image: James Turrell, Raemar Blue, 1969  Tate: Presented by the Tate Americas Foundation, partial purchase and partial gift of Doris J.Lockhart 2013. © James Turrell – photo by Chen Hao