JEFF WALL Photographs
1 May – 28 July 2013
Curator: Gary Dufour (Art Gallery of Western Australia)
MCA Curatorial Liaison: Judith Blackall
Jeff Wall is one of the most renowned photographers working today. His innovative practice has played a key role in establishing photography at the forefront of contemporary art.
The two strands that interweave throughout Wall’s career are represented in the 27 photographs selected for this major exhibition curated for Australia. One aspect is small-scale, thoughtful observations of things such as a clipped branch or washcloth that show Wall’s attentiveness to what he calls the ‘obscure, unswept corners of everyday life’. The second aspect is the more technically complex and constructed images. These pictures, usually enlarged to life scale, are inspired by scenes of modern life, cinematic conventions, artistic genres in painting as well as photography, and literature. Wall’s photographs have a detail and clarity that seem to promise revelation and yet, as the artist notes, his images of the everyday touch on a ‘something undisclosed’ – that is not easy to define.
Jeff Wall was born in Vancouver, Canada in 1946. He studied Fine Art at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver from 1964 to 1970, majoring in painting, sculpture, photography and conceptual art. He moved to London in 1970 to attend the Courtauld Institute of Art, and returned to Vancouver in 1973. He did not complete any art works between 1971 and 1977. Travelling in Europe in 1977, Wall encountered again the paintings by Manet, Goya, Velázquez, and others that had always fascinated him and recognised a connection between that work and possibilities he had sensed in photography. He began to make his ‘cinematographic’ photographs as transparencies displayed in light boxes in 1977, and completed his first successful picture, The Destroyed Room, in 1978. Since that time Wall’s work has been the subject of many major exhibitions and publications. He began making traditional black & white prints in 1996, and inkjet prints in 2000.
JEFF WALL Photographs was organised by the Art Gallery of Western Australia in association with the MCA. It was on display at AGWA 26 May – 10 September 2012, then travelled to the National Gallery of Victoria for exhibition 30 December 2012 – 17 March 2013.
South of no North: Laurence Aberhart, William Eggleston, Noel McKenna
8 March – 5 May 2013
Curator: Glenn Barkley
South of no North: Laurence Aberhart, William Eggleston, Noel McKenna presents three artists whose works are connected by an interest in the vernacular, a regional sense of place and a similar visual sensibility.
It is part of an ongoing series of exhibitions at the MCA placing the work of an Australian artist alongside that of an international peer. The exhibitions provide opportunities for Australian artists to be positioned in a broader global dialogue.
Australian artist Noel McKenna has lived and worked in Sydney since moving from Brisbane in 1981. He has chronicled the city and its people whilst travelling extensively, particularly in New Zealand and Europe.
McKenna has chosen to be shown alongside two photographers. The enormously influential American photographer William Eggleston lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee, deep in the American south, and works exclusively with colour photography. New Zealander Laurence Aberhart resides in Russell on the North Island of New Zealand, works predominantly with black and white photography and has photographed environments in NZ and Australia, Hong Kong, France, Antarctica and the USA.
All three artists have a common literary sensibility that captures details of the built environment and human interactions that have their own particular pathos. They tend to work on a small scale and their works provide a window onto the world where you really have to look. You are drawn in rather than overwhelmed, peering into places and moments now past.
Their artworks are akin to short stories where emotions and narratives are condensed into rich and provocative sensations reflecting the everyday world and making manifest the power of art to alert us to the wonder and poetry that is all around us.
- Glenn Barkley, Curator
Volume One: MCA Collection
Opens 29 March 2012
Curator: Glenn Barkley
Volume One: MCA Collection features over 280 works by more than 170 Australian artists acquired since the founding of the MCA in May 1989. Volume One reflects the diversity of Australian contemporary art over more than 20 years, including works by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists which are integrated into the different themes, the consolidation of film and video practice from a marginal to central position, the emergence of diverse cultural voices and the impact of feminism as well as ephemeral and performative practices.
The selection encompasses the range of media used by artists today: from wall painting and artists’ books to photography, painting, sculpture, weaving and installation. Video is presented both as installation and curated single-screen programs in the dedicated Screen Space. Works are included by artists across generations – those at the beginning of their careers alongside artists who continue to produce important artwork over careers spanning 50 years or more.
Decisions about what to acquire are made by the MCA Curatorial team and are much debated. A diversity of opinion about what to collect is essential in a contemporary museum. Selected by MCA curator Glenn Barkley, Volume One is his particular reflection on the MCA’s Collection.
Volume One: MCA Collection also reflects the MCA’s history of solo and group exhibitions by Australian artists such as Primavera and Focus, and with related publications, acknowledges and celebrates the MCA‘s commitment to supporting Australian artists.
Volume One: MCA Collection images all installation views, Museum of Contemporary Art, 2012. Images courtesy and © the artists.