Margel Hinder: Modern in Motion

AGNSW-Margel-Ina-Hinder Revolving-construction 1957Showcasing an arresting array of sculptures by Margel Hinder (1905 – 95) produced over five decades of her career, Heide Museum of Modern Art will present Margel Hinder: Modern in Motion – the first retrospective of one of Australia’s most important and dynamic modernist sculptors of the 20th century.

Developed in collaboration with the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the exhibition spans Hinder’s five-decade career and showcases approximately 70 sculptures sourced from private and public collections across Australia, as well as Art Gallery of NSW’s rich holdings of both her works and archive.

Exhibition highlights include Hinder’s commanding kinetic works, whose slow rotations encapsulate a sense of the world in perpetual motion, and an immersive installation based on two of Hinder’s major public sculptures.

Created by Dr Andrew Yip, Lecturer in Art & Design at the University of New South Wales, the life-size digital reconstructions are of two of the most significant public sculptures of Hinder’s career: the Civic Park Fountain, Newcastle 1961–66 and the now decommissioned Northpoint Fountain 1975.

This project allows for a presence of this important component of Hinder’s art within the context of her retrospective and demonstrates the sophistication of her ideas, with her inclusion of carefully choreographed moving water amid object formations.

Margel Hinder: Modern in Motion aims to redress Hinder’s profile as one of the most underestimated Australian sculptors of the 20th century and uncovers the expansive nature of her creativity, and her skill in giving sculptural form to universal concepts like time and motion in materials expressive of the era.

From her early carvings in wood and stone carvings in the 1930s and 40s, to the ‘space age’ kinetic and wire works of the 1950s and major public commissions in the 1960s, Margel Hinder: Modern in Motion traces the development of Hinder’s practice and her role in shaping modernist sculpture in Australia.

“Apart from her inclusion in a few surveys of local modernism, Hinder’s vanguard practice and its legacy have largely been overlooked since the 1980s,” said Heide Museum of Modern Art Artistic Director Lesley Harding.

“This exhibition presents her innovative and visually arresting sculpture to new generations and the wide audience it deserves, highlighting her vital role in the making of Australian modernism and asserting the place of sculpture within it.”

Born in Brooklyn, New York, and educated in Buffalo and Boston, Hinder (nee Harris) migrated to Australia in 1934, following her marriage to Australian artist Frank Hinder, where her mature practice flourished.

“After arriving in Sydney Margel quickly found a compatible and supportive milieu among artists similarly educated overseas and brimming with ideas, theories, and methods that set them apart from their locally trained contemporaries,” said Harding. “Over the ensuing years, they made advancements in abstract art that paralleled those elsewhere in the world.”

Art Gallery of NSW Senior Curator of Australian art Denise Mimmocchi said the exhibition is an opportunity to explore the breadth and depth of Hinder’s oeuvre.

Margel Hinder: Modern in Motion brings together major sculptures from public and private collections, immersive representations of public sculptures, drawings and archival photographs to present an insightful portrait of the pioneering sculptor’s life and work,” she said.

“The Art Gallery of NSW has a substantial collection of more than 40 Hinder maquettes recently restored for this exhibition, that reveals incredible details of her creative processes,” said Mimmocchi.

Margel Hinder: Modern in Motion
Heide Museum of Modern Art, 7 Templestowe Road, Bulleen
Exhibition: 5 August – 17 October 2021
Free after museum entry

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Image: Margel Hinder, Revolving Construction, 1957, wire and plastic, 35.5 x 56 x 49.5 cm, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney. Purchased 1959.