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Primavera 2011: Young Australian Artists

MCA Offsite


08 Sep to 13 Nov 2011


Rebecca Baumann, Eric Bridgeman, Brown Council (Kelly Doley, Frances Barrett, Diana Smith, Kate Blackmore), Tom O’Hern, Jess Olivieri and Hayley Forward with the Parachutes for Ladies, Keg de Souza, Hiromi Tango, and Tessa Zettel & Karl Khoe

Curator: Anna Davis

about the exhibition

Primavera 2011 took the temporary closure of the Museum of Contemporary Art’s public galleries, due to a major extension and redevelopment project, as an opportunity to curate a different kind of Primavera. For the first time, this annual exhibition was presented outside of the Museum in The Rocks, the historic precinct surrounding the MCA. It included a selection of artists whose practices stretch beyond the white cube, provoking and mobilising different levels of participation and social engagement.

Primavera 2011 explored how artworks presented in public space can augment and enliven our everyday experiences. It was inspired by the site-orientated, situational and performance-based practices of a growing number of young Australian contemporary artists and the unconventional exhibition models that bring these expansive forms of artistic production to life.

The exhibition introduced five individual artists and three artist groups: Rebecca Baumann, Eric Bridgeman, Brown Council (Kelly Doley, Frances Barrett, Diana Smith, Kate Blackmore), Tom O’Hern, Jess Olivieri and Hayley Forward with the Parachutes for Ladies, Keg de Souza, Hiromi Tango, and Tessa Zettel & Karl Khoe – whose diverse practices can be linked by a critical approach to making work in and for the public realm. They work collaboratively, across disciplines and in a wide array of media including drawing, painting, sculpture, video, performance, sound, photography, printmaking, live art and installation. They also embrace a shifting and multi-dimensional approach to making art that emerges from their experiences of living in a complex and constantly changing world.

Participating artists were invited to respond to the circumstances of Primavera 2011 through the creation of a new project, along with the opportunity to present existing works in a variety of unusual locations. In moving the institution’s activities outside of the gallery, the exhibition was shaped by the varied strategies and processes the artists employ when creating work for the public domain. The exhibited works aimed to provoke a range of responses by reframing people’s daily activities, disrupting our habitual relationships with time, place and space, and re-imagining histories, stories and myths connected to particular sites and contexts.

Primavera is the Museum’s annual exhibition of Australian artists aged 35 years and under. Since 1992, the series has showcased the works of artists in the early stages of their career, many of whom have gone on to exhibit nationally and internationally.

Primavera was initiated in 1992 by Dr Edward Jackson AM and Mrs Cynthia Jackson AM and their family in memory of their daughter and sister Belinda, a talented jeweller who died at the age of 29.

The exhibition was accompanied by a dedicated blog, a mobile website formatted for smartphones which guided visitors through the Rocks, and a catalogue which included installation photography of the works and performances.

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