Drawn entirely from the Museum’s Collection, Today Tomorrow Yesterday considers the impact of the past and the influence of history on artistic practice today. From contemporary interpretations of ancestral stories to the continuing effects of early to mid-twentieth-century avant-garde ideas, each room presents a different perspective on the history of the present.
The title, Today Tomorrow Yesterday, is an adaptation drawn from The Prophet, a book of 26 prose poetry essays by the Lebanese artist, philosopher and writer Kahlil Gibran. He wrote: “…yesterday is but to-day’s memory, and to-morrow is to-day’s dream”. As well as reflecting on the passing of time, the title refers metaphorically to the museum’s challenging role in shaping a collection of contemporary Australian art that is simultaneously of its moment and hinged to history. The title and exhibition reference the circular, timeless wonderment of today tomorrow and yesterday celebrating artists deep and ongoing interest in different social, political, cultural and aesthetic histories.
Above all, this exhibition symbolises the guiding principles of the MCA Collection. It is focused on contemporary practices by Australian and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, embraces all media and is motivated by a respect for the creative process and vision of today’s artists. Including work by more than forty artists from the 1960s to the present, recent acquisitions and a number of new commissions, Today Tomorrow Yesterday tells the story of the ever-evolving nature of contemporary art.
Today Tomorrow Yesterday is curated by MCA Senior curator Natasha Bullock
The Prophet, Kahlil Gibran
In the context of Today Tomorrow Yesterday, we also launch the inaugural Artist Room exhibition. This new series highlights the depth of the Museum’s holdings of a single artist’s practice. The first exhibition considers the work of Melbourne artist Linda Marrinon. Along with a new commission, the exhibition includes significant paintings from the 1980s to show the artist’s transition from painting to sculpture.
For the past ten years Marrinon has focussed exclusively on making sculpture, producing beguiling modestly scaled figures and busts modelled in terracotta in the early 1990s and, more recently, in tinted and painted plaster. In the MCA Collection is the enigmatic Edwardian Lady (2008), one of an ongoing series that simultaneously engages with the historical and the contemporary. Edwardian Lady will be joined by a new sculptural work commissioned for the MCA Collection, a trio of captivating figures that expand on Marrinon’s inventive cast of characters and her continuing exploration of the human form.
Artist Room: Linda Marrinon is curated by Manya Sellers, MCA Assistant Curator, Collection
Watch our interview with Julia Gorman on her practice and developing the Inside/Out Commission.
For the first time in 25 years the Museum’s former Maritime Services Boardroom, located within the collection galleries, will be reinvigorated by a new commission. This beautiful, heritage, wood-lined room with maritime iconography will be transformed by Melbourne artist Julia Gorman. Gorman is best known for her site-specific vinyl installations using abstracted geometric shapes and sinuous lines. Twisting, entangled patterns of brightly coloured vinyl ebb and flow over walls and gallery floors.
Entitled ‘Inside/Out’, this new space will unpack a comprehensive selection of MCA resources and behind-the-scenes material to support visitors of all ages. It will provide direct access to online content about the MCA’s Collection, along with artist interviews and past exhibition histories. Also on display will be MCA Articulate and MCA App; a touchscreen iPad app that includes a range of new voices discussing the MCA Collection. This app gives visitors the opportunity to see and hear from a wide variety of people including artists, curators, musicians, critics and scholars, who share their experiences of the art on display.
Tour the exhibition with our volunteer guides and discover art, artists and their hidden stories, free tours of Today Tomorrow Yesterday run daily.