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Tracing the Shadow: Hossein Valamanesh

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA)


15 Feb 2002 to 28 Apr 2002

Curator: Rachel Kent

About the exhibition

Tracing the Shadow was a selection of artworks by Hossein Valamanesh from the 1990s to 2002. Valamanesh was born in Iran in 1949 and emigrated to Australia in 1973, spending several months in Aboriginal communities at Warburton and Papunya before settling permanently in Adelaide in 1975. His art is characterised by the use of natural materials – branches, flames, leaves, sand, mud, seeds and earth – and an active engagement with the landscape surrounding him. Drawing upon the culture of his Persian heritage and his experience of a new country, it explores the complexities of identity and place with a profound depth and beauty.

As part of this exhibition, the artist recreated his 1981 installation Earth Work on the exterior Circular Quay forecourt of the MCA. This 18 metre work was substantially reconfigured and expanded for the MCA, depicting the artist’s fingerprint etched into the grass of the MCA’s front lawn. The 30 works exhibited inside the galleries emphasised Valamanesh’s sculptural practice, accompanied by documentation images of four public artworks made in Australia and Japan. One of the major thematic concerns was with journeys – physical, metaphoric and spiritual. Other themes included the nature of love and human experience.

This project was made possible through the generous support of MCA Ambassadors with thanks to the Art Gallery of South Australia.

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