The Art Gallery of South Australia’s first year under new director Rhana Devenport will see the institution reappraise some of its most iconic works and spaces, while inviting a few new local and international perspectives to the table.
Open from December 8, the 118-year old Elder Wing is the subject of a substantial rehanging of the Gallery’s Australian art collection following the conclusion of this year’s record-breaking Colours of Impressionism exhibition in the space. Always a highly scrutinised undertaking, the Elder Wing’s latest revamp weaves together both beloved and lesser-known works; grouped into seven ‘anthologies’, the rehang blurs cultural and disciplinary boundaries to explore themes of identity and belonging in a fresh new light.
In addition to celebrating its existing collection, the Gallery will start 2019 by showcasing its latest crop of acquisitions. Key works featured in Ways Of Seeing are Helen Frankenthaler’s colourful 2000 woodcut print Madame Butterfly, photographs by Bill Henson, Tracey Moffat and Andreas Gursky, and prints by Fred Williams.
Lee Mingwei, Taiwan, born 1964, Sonic Blossom, 2013/2016, Auckland, New Zealand, performance; installation view, Lee Mingwei and His Relations: The Art of Participation, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, 2016, Courtesy the artist
One addition that bears Devenport’s immediate influence is Sonic Blossom, a work by Taiwanese-American artist Lee Mingwei previously mounted at MOMA in New York, Tokyo’s Mori Art Museum, Centre Pompidou in Paris and Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki during Devenport’s directorship. The work will see singers paired with visitors to the Gallery, who will receive the ‘gift of song’ in a one-on-one performance.
Fresh from an acclaimed season at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, William Kentridge: That Which We Do Not Remember brings together a wide range of work from the South African artist in July. Other 2019 exhibitions include No god but God: Art of Islam in August, Export Empire: Japan and the modern world from January and Ghost Objects, an exhibition from Adelaide ceramic artist Honor Freeman mounted as part of SALA Festival 2019.
TARNANTHI will also return from October to January with a celebration of Indigenous art and culture across the entire city of Adelaide, along with the biannual $100, 000 Ramsay Art Prize (entries close on December 14).
Already announced as part of the Adelaide Festival, March will see the Gallery take stock of Ben Quilty’s celebrated career with the painter’s first ever major survey exhibition Quilty. As one of Australia’s best-known contemporary artists, Quilty’s work has seen him interrogate Australian masculinity, war and justice in a body of work that has often mirrored wider debates in contemporary Australia.
Read the entire Art Gallery of South Australia 2019 program here
Installation view: Elder Wing of Australian Art, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide (Photo: Saul Steed)