Art Gallery of SA launches the 2022 program


The exhibition program, launched today, will open in March with the previously announced 2022 Adelaide Australian Art Biennale: Free state – curated by Sebastian Goldspink and showcasing works by 24 contemporary artists from across the country.

The following month, gallery 16 of the Melrose wing will be transformed by the arrival of Yayoi Kusama. PUMPKIN SPIRITS DESCEND TO THE SKY, who arrives in Adelaide from the National Gallery of Australia and will be at AGSA for a full year.

Described as an infinite mirror room, the installation is a bright yellow room overgrown with black polka dots in the center of which is a mirrored box containing illuminated pumpkin carvings. The result is a rich optical illusion which, according to gallery director Rhana Devenport, creates a feeling of infinite space and color.

“Yayoi Kusama is one of the most loved and admired artists living in the world today,” said Devenport. Review.

“From a young age she experienced hallucinations… she carried her own hallucinations and visual challenges into her works and became an explosive member of the art world in New York.”

After living in the United States for many years, Kusama – now 90 – returned to Japan in 1973 and is renowned for her extraordinary installations, abstract paintings, and other works.

“Her father was a seed merchant, so pumpkins and flowers have always been a recurring motif for her,” says Devenport.

THE SPIRITS OF PUMPKINS DESCEND TO THE SKY, by Yayoi Kusama, 2017, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Nusantara (MACAN Museum); © Yayoi Kusama, courtesy of Ota Fine Arts, Tokyo / Singapore / Shanghai.

Japanese art will also be featured in Pure form, an exhibition of sculptural ceramics created in Japan from the 1950s to the present day which will take place from May 21 to November 6. Pure form will present around 70 works by 45 artists from the post-war period, which saw the emergence of an avant-garde group called the Sōdeisha (“Crawling Through Mud Association”).

“It was from this point on, in the late 1940s and 1950s, that we saw objects emerge instead of used goods – massive and spectacular art goods, freed from the potter’s wheel, freed conventions and taste hierarchies that have existed for hundreds of years in Japan, ”says Russell Kelty, AGSA’s associate curator, Asian Art.

Throughout the winter, the gallery will present two paying exhibitions: Robert Wilson: moving portraits and Archie 100: A Century of the Archibald Prize.

Archie 100, developed by the Art Gallery of New South Wales and curated by Natalie Wilson, celebrates the centenary of the annual portrait award through a diverse collection of 100 portraits selected over the past 100 years. It includes works by artists such as Adelaide-born Nora Heysen (who in 1938 became the first woman to win the award) and Vincent Namatjira (the first Indigenous artist to win the award, in 2020, with her portrayal of the footballer. Adam Goodes), as well as William Dobell, Wendy Sharpe and Ben Quilty.

“Natalie really wanted,” she said, “to revise art history through this process,” Elle Freak, AGSA’s associate curator, Australian Paintings and Sculptures, said at this morning’s launch, acknowledging that the Archibald had sparked a lot of controversy over the years.

“In particular, she wanted to showcase the work of female artists, who actually represent a third of all the works of Archibald’s finalists, even if only 10 women have not won the prize during its history.

Portrait of Isabella Rossellini by Robert Wilson, 2005, HD video; music by Henri René and his orchestra; Courtesy of RW Work Ltd.

Portraits of a different kind will be featured in the Robert Wilson exhibition, which features a collection of video portraits of the American director and visual artist of subjects ranging from celebrities – such as Lady Gaga, Brad Pitt, Isabella Rossellini, Robert Downey Jr and Winona Ryder – to lesser known people, including poets, singers and dancers, as well as animals and birds.

Devenport says Wilson created the video portrait medium in the 1970s, when he was commissioned to work with a public broadcasting station in the United States. His portraits, made using high definition video, each last three or four minutes and are played in a perpetual loop.

The result, says Devenport Review, is “strange and beautiful and captivating”: “He brings all aspects of the theater – stage, light, costumes – in these portraits. They are really quite extraordinary.

Presenting Archie 100 Along with Wilson’s video portraits (one ticket will give access to both exhibitions), the gallery will give visitors the opportunity to reflect on the evolution of the portrait over time.

“We have this incredible juxtaposition of the power of paint with this very sophisticated use of video… there’s this beautiful interplay between the two. “

One of the last exhibitions inaugurated at AGSA in 2022 will be Nalini Malani: Game Pieces, the first major Australian survey of the work of one of India’s foremost contemporary artists. It will be anchored by Game pieces – a four-channel video, a shadow play installation with rotating painted cylinders, owned by the gallery – and includes other works dating back to 1970.

Details of all 2022 exhibitions are available on the SA Art Gallery website.

Installation view: Game pieces by Nalini Malani, 2015, MoMA, New York.

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