LIBRARY GALLERY, MONA
7 DECEMBER 2013 - 21 APRIL 2014
Roger Ballen is what you'd call a 'wound opener'. Working with black and white film, Ballen's photography sheds light on the darker side of the human self - a scab that most of us would perhaps rather leave untouched. He describes his work as fundamentally psychological and existential; for him, making art is an exercise in defining himself. His photography also incorporates drawings, sculptures, and a photographic drawing technique developed by Ballen himself.
Ballen is at MONA to exhibit work from his Asylum and Apparitions series.
Curated by Olivier Varenne and Nicole Durling.
Archival pigment print
Image courtesy of the artist
B1 GALLERIES, MONA
7 DECEMBER 2013 - 21 APRIL 2014
Meet Hubert Duprat. This French artist is an enigma of the best possible variety. He conducts experiments - not necessarily to solve problems or to test hypotheses - that poetically investigate the border between art and science. Fundamental questions for Duprat include 'what is art?' and 'what is an artist?' and his interests extend to geology and archaeology, as well as the natural sciences.
Here at MONA - in his first solo exhibition in Australia - Duprat's intriguing approach will be on full display. This exhibition will see him use natural magnets, crystals sculpted by microscopic atomic arrangement, Neolithic flint-knapping techniques and synthetic substances invented by modern industry. He's also continuing his iconic decades-long work with the caddisfly. He'll enlist live endemic caddisfly larvae (a freshwater aquatic insect) to decorate their silk body-cases with gold spangles and jewels instead of the usual pebbles, twigs and sand. Which begs the question: who's the artist here - human or insect?
Curated by Olivier Varenne, Jane Clarke and Nicole Durling.
Sans titre (Untitled), 2013
Polished axe, fresh clay
Image courtesy of the artist.
By ADAGP photo F.Gousset, courtesy Art:Concept Paris
THE RED QUEEN
18 JUNE 2013 - 21 APRIL 2014
The Red Queen is a character from Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass. She's a sinister mixture of power and futility: even as she doles out orders willy-nilly, she seems to lock herself in a weird and lonely prison of words:
'What's the French
'Fiddle-de-dee's not English,' Alice replied gravely.
'Who ever said it was?' said the Red Queen.
Alice thought she saw a way out of the difficulty this time. 'If you'll tell me what language "fiddle-de-dee" is, I'll tell you the French for it!' she exclaimed triumphantly.
But the Red Queen drew herself up rather stiffly, and said 'Queens never make bargains.'
More curiously, the Queen is driven, by abstract forces, to run in order to keep pace with the world around her. However fast she goes, she never seems 'to pass anything', and 'the trees and the other things around' her don't change their place at all. '"[Do] all the things move along with us?" wonders Alice.
We're co-opting the Queen for our own purposes in this exhibition at Mona. But she's been corrupted already of course, by scientists working in the field of evolutionary biology. That notion - that one might run and run, with neither goal nor end - is one key to twenty-first century thinking about how species evolve, in brutal harmony, with their environment. We're not used to thinking of it like that. We like to imagine we are struggling ever-forward to some end-point - personal, collective, universal - that will atone for our suffering and make our joys mean something. Evolution has no such agenda, nothing in mind for us, as it molds us to the shape of our environment. When you look at it like this, and surrender the assumption of progress, all of a sudden our words and deeds - like the Red Queen's - mean nothing and everything at once; rich and strange nonsense indeed.
How does art fit into this? It is a behaviour, a practice, that congeals humanity like the fat in a fry-pan; it clarifies and distills, evaporates the excess, until we can see (just for a moment) into the base of ourselves. And perhaps -- let us phrase it as a question. Is human-ness nothing but a set of such behaviours?
The answer, we hope and aim, will remain elusive; there will be no lessons learnt or taught, only contagious inquiry into the messy machinery of human nature.
Alice looked round her in great surprise. 'Why, I do believe we've been under this tree the whole time! Everything's just as it was!'
'Of course it is,' said the Queen, 'what would you have it?'
AN EVOLVING EXHIBITION, 21.01.2011
Highlights of the collection.
And lowlights. Evolving.
'A RAT'S NEST' BY PIP STAFFORD
MONA LIBRARY GALLERY
27 SEPTEMBER - 25 NOVEMBER 2013
'A Rat's Nest' is an experiment in sound and form, chaos and
control, warp and weft. Over the course of the exhibition, the
installation will continue to unfold before us, illuminating the
volatile ecology that we inhabit. It consists of radios,
amplifiers, antennae and crystals grown in response to the gallery
space, and also features performance - the artist will use crystal
radios to generate delicate sounds and explore the frequencies of
Mona Scholarship 2012 recipient Pip Stafford is a media artist based in Hobart, Tasmania. Her work explores the materiality of networks, systems, communication and ritual, and can be seen in the form of installation, sound, performance, video and more.
THEATRE OF THE WORLD
LA MAISON ROUGE, PARIS (FRANCE)
19 OCTOBER 2013 - 12 JANUARY 2014
Theatre of the World engages, and rejects, the widely held notion that ancient and contemporary works of art are inherently different, and that we must burden the past with the weight of history. Following its world premiere at Mona in June 2012, the exhibition takes up residence at La Maison Rouge in Paris (France).
The exhibition has, as its backbone, the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery collection of Pacific barkcloths and Mona's collection of everything. Other sources are tapped when required to enhance the perceptual interplay, or on whim.
Theatre of the World is a kaleidoscope: here the viewer sees the object, and that is enough. This notion harkens back to the Renaissance view that art and knowledge are inextricably intertwined. This art is visual poetry, a conveyor of dreams, a mobilizer of imagination, and a conduit for emotion. When we find beauty sometimes we need look no further.
Curated by Jean-Hubert Martin
A MONA & Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery collaboration.
I LOOK TO YOU AND I SEE NOTHING
FORMERLY BEAM IN THINE OWN EYE
SHARJAH ART MUSEUM
16 NOVEMBER 2013 - 16 FEBRUARY 2014
Premiering during our very first Dark Mofo, Beam In Thine Own Eye took up a mind-bending residence in the icy confines of MAC1 on the Hobart waterfront. The exhibition now travels to Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.
Of the exhibition, David Walsh writes,
'Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed', is Jesus' absurdist counterpoint to Thomas' philosophy, which is usually distilled to 'Seeing is believing'. Here we construct reality by guessing, or by building a series of portraits.
In fact, we manufacture our view of reality by verifying, and perhaps refuting, hypotheses through the process of testing them against our observations. We decide what we believe by reference to our experiences, construct theories that make forecasts and test them against what actually happens. I suspect that a cup of tea will cool more slowly if I add milk sooner than later, but I could be wrong. Something like believing until we see otherwise, which is what Thomas actually did. That's why he was Thomas the Doubter. And that's why I am David the Doubter.
And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? -Matthew 7:3
Here, the 'beam that is in thine own eye' is meant to refer to
the faults in ourselves, but it beautifully conjures the notion of
our reality shining from within. The conversation we have with art
is a conversation with ourselves. And in this exhibition, Beam
In Thine Own Eye, we let the mind's eye shine.
Curated by Olivier Varenne and Nicole Durling