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HITCHCOCK: Art, Cinema and…Suspense

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA)


18 Dec 1999 to 24 Apr 2000


Sean Bacon, John Baldessari, Judith Barry, Cindy Bernard, Victor Burgin, Jane Burton, Stan Douglas, Atom Egoyan, Dale Frank, Christoph Girardet, Douglas Gordon, Louise Hearman, Bill Henson, Andrew Hurle, Pierre Huyghe, Rosemary Laing, Christian Marclay, Chris Marker, Matthias Müller, Sandy Nicholson, David Reed, Cindy Sherman, Robyn Stacey, Anne Wallace, Matt Warren

Guest Curators:

Ihor Holubizky & Edward Colless

About the exhibition

To mark the centenary of his birth, the MCA devoted its Level 3 galleries to Alfred Hitchcock. The exhibition, collectively titled Hitchock: Art, Cinema and…Suspense was comprised of three sections: an international group exhibition of contemporary artists whose work responded to Hitchcock’s classic films; a smaller exhibition of Australian artists whose work shared similarities with the themes of Hitchcock’s films; and a room of rare, behind-the-scenes archival material from Hitchcock’s life and work.

Notorious: Alfred Hitchcock and Contemporary Art featured 14 international artists whose works responded to Hitchcock’s classic films. The exhibition was organised and toured by the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford. Through photography, film, video, sound works and mixed media installations, the exhibition examined how imagery, themes and techniques employed in Hitchcock’s films have been transformed, appropriated or copied by contemporary artists, a process in which the film-maker himself becomes the unwitting collaborator. Hitchock’s interest in themes such as voyeurism, obsession, the double, the relationship of landscape to narrative were mirrored in the works in this exhibition.

The Australian component of this exhibition was subtitled Moral Hallucination: Channelling Hitchcock. Curated by Edward Colless, it brought together the work of 11 Australian artists. Colless asked the viewer to ‘think of this exhibition as the setting for a séance with, or a dream about, this force that I call Hitchcock’, creating three rooms that acted as ‘channels’ for Hitchcock to ‘appear’. The works shared a seductive, duplicitous quality that called to mind the criminal underworld, the profoundly evil undercurrents that permeate Hitchcock’s films.

The third component of this homage to Hitchcock was Rich and Strange: The Hitchcock Room, a space which presented an insight into the life and times of the iconic film-maker through period photographs and documentary clips, storyboards from some of his best known films, and posters that reflected his interest in graphic innovation and the art of selling films. Also included were photographs from Hitchcock’s visit to Sydney in May 1960 for the premiere of Psycho.

This exhibition was coordinated in association with the Sydney Festival 2000.