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Primavera 1999:Young Australian Artists

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA)


08 Sep 1999 to 29 Nov 1999


Matthew Bradley, Julia Gorman, Andrew McQualter, Nell, David Noonan, Darren Sylvester

Guest Curator:

Rachel Kent

About the exhibition

Rachel Kent, then curator of the Ian Potter Museum of Art was guest curator of the eighth edition of Primavera: Young Australian Artists. Kent’s premise was 'visions of the future’: what will the future be like and how will we live. The impending new millenium forced these questions into the cultural consciousness as we sought to understand the kind of world which we would be living in.

Works were diverse in medium and ranged from large-scale wall drawing to sculptural installation, digital photography and video. Imagery and references were culled from popular culture, advertising, and contemporary cinema. The referencing of cinematic genres – from sci-fi to horror to B-grade – was evident in Nell’s oversized silver drip which seeped through the gallery ceiling and splattered onto the floor below; and David Noonan’s installation which mimicked a science fiction film set with airlock, hatch door and video monitor depicting the doomed voyage of a lone astronaut in deep space.

Matthew Bradley evoked a future of mythical dimensions with an installation based on the defunct Trans-Australian Airlines and its advertising persona Nola Rose while Darren Sylvester explored the relationship between modern technology and its human interface. Contemporary advertising inspired a brilliantly coloured vinyl wall-drawing by Julia Gorman, and a collaborative installation between Gorman and Andrew McQualter suggested both a return to manual process and a wry response to popular notions of an aesthetically superior, hi-tech future.

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.