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Personal Effects / The Collective Unconscious

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA)


11 Jul 1998 to 06 Sep 1998

Artists & participants:

Robyn Archer & Erika Addis, Louise Bourgeois, David Campese, Christo & Jeanne-Claude, Pip Culbert, Collette Dinnigan, Kim Donaldson, Christopher Doyle, Jacqueline Fraser, Linda Gregoriou, Gary Hill, Mary Indyk, Narelle Jubelin, Frank Mandersloot, Doreen Mellor, Lucy Orta, Anders Ousback, Charles Perkins, Rosângela Renno, Reg Richardson, Harry Seidler, Roberta Sykes, Richard Tognetti, Ben Vautier, John Yu

Guest curator:

Ewen McDonald

about the exhibition

This exhibition comprised a collection of personal objects donated or lent by invited guests from the worlds of art, film, design, fashion and architecture. Each object was displayed with a text written by the donor, describing the object’s significance to them. The result was an exhibition of intimate memories made tangible, the objects grounded in memory, representing stories of survival and loss, or significant times and places.

To accompany this exhibition of symbolic objects, two artists were invited to conduct workshops that related to the problem of homelessness in Australia. Lucy Orta, an internationally renowned Paris-based artist, engaged in dialogue with homeless young people from the Salvation Army OASIS Youth Support Network, enabling them to express themselves through creativitiy. Orta’s Refuge Wear used clothing as a way of communicating and making physical contact with others.

Clothing and shelter – two fundamental needs – were aspects explored in a series of installations by the Amsterdam-based artist Frank Mandersloot. Works by Mandersloot such as Tent, Time and Tide, Symmetry/Cemetery, Door and Chair were the result of observed social interactions, but with specific reference to the built environment.