Guest curated by Emily Cormack, with each artist is creating new work for the exhibition, the artists featured in the 25th edition of Primavera are: Steven Cybulka (SA), Pia van Gelder (NSW), Biljana Jancic (NSW), Ruth McConchie (QLD), Adelle Mills (VIC), Mira Oosterweghel (VIC), Emily Parsons-Lord (NSW) and Danae Valenza (VIC).
In 1992, Primavera was initiated by Dr Edward Jackson AM and Mrs Cynthia Jackson AM and their family in memory of their daughter and sister Belinda. Since then, it has showcased the works of artists and curators, many of whom have gone on to exhibit nationally and internationally.
“Primavera, an exhibition devoted to promoting artists in the early stages of their career has been a continuous feature of the MCA’s program since it opened 25 years ago,” said MCA Director, Elizabeth Ann Macgregor OBE. “We are delighted that it continues to be such an important exhibition for artists, giving them a platform to share their voice, their art, and to introduce new ideas to our ever-increasing audience.’
Opening to the public on 29 September, Primavera 2016 explores ideas of transmission, highlighting the ways that art can physically connect with the viewer and how an artwork’s meaning can be generated by this encounter. The exhibition draws on recent theories about embodied cognition – which posits that the creation of knowledge might first begin in the body, rather than in the brain.
Visitors to Primavera 2016 will be encouraged to experience the works through the senses. Upon entering the gallery the viewer will be invited to breathe an air compound created byEmily Parsons-Lord, that estimates the quality of air from the greatest extinction event in earth’s history 250 million years ago when carbon dioxide levels were at their peak.
Steven Cybulka will create a vast architectural intervention, serving as the ‘skeleton’ for the exhibition and confounding the visitor with subtle yet disorientating shifts in angle and gradient. Mira Oosterweghel’s sculptural forms will traverse the upper reaches of the gallery space, signifiers of human activity, threatening and fearful, within the tamed space of the gallery space.
The viewer’s movement will be tracked by Danae Valenza’s neon and sound work, swelling to greet them and diminishing as they pass. Biljana Jancic’s installation will function similarly, flooding a hidden corner of Cybulka’s wall work with silver plains of vinyl tape, reflecting the blue of a vacant projection screen as well as viewers’ movements through the space.
Adelle Mills’ work will feature on four large screens embedded within Cybulka’s walls, creating unconscious connections between the body of the viewer and that of the performer on screen. Pia van Gelder harnesses the innate capacity of the human body to conduct energy through contact. Van Gelder’s sculptural instrument integrates our own radiant energy into an electronic circuit which generates sound.
Ruth McConchie is creating a new world to be encountered through a virtual reality headset. This work will begin in the real: situating the visitor in the gallery space, and then pull the viewer down through the watery subterranean spaces beneath the MCA, opening to reveal a vignette of the real and imagined social histories of The Rocks.
“It is an honour to reveal the depth of curiosity and creative intelligence in Australia’s younger generation of artists through presenting these innovative works in Primavera 2016,” said Curator, Emily Cormack. “This exhibition imagines that the ‘brain’ is distributed throughout the body, spreading across its various system, dispersed and alive throughout.”
“Each of the works will affect the viewer’s body in different ways, through the lungs, the muscles or the nervous system, meaning that the viewer will be unable to view the exhibition without some part of their body feeling it.”
Primavera 2016: Young Australian Artists
Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, 140 George Street, The Rocks (Sydney)
Exhibition: 29 September – 4 December 2016
For more information, visit: www.mca.com.au for details.
Image: Pia van Gelder, Steven Cybulka, Danae Valenza, Mira Oosterwheghel, Ruth McConchie, MCA Director Elizabeth Ann Macgregor OBE, Biljana Jancic, Adelle Mills, Curator Emily Cormack and Emily Parsons-Lord – photo by Anna Kucera