THE REVENGE OF GENRES – Contemporary Australian Art

“Le revanche des genres”

Indigenous art emerged in Australia around sixty thousand yearsago and has evolved since then through time and history. Twocenturies of colonial oppression and assimilation policy havedeeply modified the structure of indigenous groups; their rights,their languages; their customs; and hence their freedom.However their culture and identity have been maintained throughgreat capacities of adaptation and innovation. Today indigenousart is now considered as one of the most important artisticmovements in the twentieth century.In the 1970’s, Contemporary Aboriginal art emerged in CentralAustralia. At this time Elders wished to preserve and perpetuateaesthetic, cultural, political and social traditions. They usednew technologies, acrylic, sand, rock and their own bodies totransfer their ancestral knowledge. This cleardecompartimentalisation of genres has thus modified the originalfunction of aboriginal art; which was originally more focused ontransmission than exhibition…These new artistic forms encourage indigenous and non-indigenouspeople to engage in an inter-cultural dialogue. Indigenous artshave always been at the centre of cultural exchanges in the Asia-Pacific zone. This exhibition shows these links between artists ofdifferent origins, born or working on the Australian territory.The exhibition questions the notions of border; of nationality;cultural heritage and the pertinence of categories and genres suchas Australian art, Aboriginal art or so-called “first art”…The curatorial rationale seeks to subvert the notion of ‘genre’ asdefinition of a general idea; class of beings, or objects thatshare commonalities. The exhibition will reveal the discoursesused by artists from the Pacific region, to resist; struggle;play; control or distinguish themselves from these categories.‘The Revenge of Genres’ exhibition will explore the multipleidentities of Australia: religious, artistic and philosophical.Selected artworks include those that relate to different humanontology’s and their representations, and works that encouragediscussion about the dichotomies between nature, culture and theconstruction of reality. Landscape will be a key connectorthroughout this exhibition, and audiences will be presented withimagery that celebrates dreams and forgotten myths.A large component of the exhibition will be devoted to new mediaincluding video and sound, and the remainder of works include across-section of contemporary painting, sculpture andinstallation. Each exhibition will be accompanied by lectures,performances and videos by the selected artists, as well asworkshops that aim to both stimulate the debate regarding thedefinition of international contemporary art and culturalpractice.*List of artists:Twenty four artists have been selected :Tracey MoffattRosella NamokJenny FraserVernon Ah KeeTony AlbertArchie MooreChantal FraserKeren RukiPrinsDacchi DangSimone EislerTania MasonGeorge Milaypuma GaykamanguMichael MungulaBarbara Gibson NakamarraTopsie Sampson NapurrulaBeryl Barnes NakamaraMona Napaltjarri RockmanJudy Napaltjarri WalkerBiddy NungarrayiAlice Kelly NapaltjarriRosie Tasman NapurrulaLily Hargraves NungurrayiMargaret Martin Nungurrayi.*Educational activitiesRound-table : the question of genres in Art.Sunday 14 October, 1-3pmAt Les BrasseursIn presence of :-B. Glowczewski, director of research at the National Center ofScientific Research, EHESS and Collège de France, author ofnumerous books and CD-roms on Australian Indigenous.-Géraldine Le Roux, curator of the exhibition and PhD student atEHESS and University of Queensland.-Lucienne Strivay, co-curator of the exhibition, senior lecturerat University of Liège-and 4 artists : Dacchi Dang, Simone Eisler, Chantal Fraser andArchie MooreConferences of European specialists, with projection.Salle académique place du XX aoûtFriday 12 October – 8pmBarbara Glowczewski, « Soulever la poussière en dansant c’estcomme peindre en chantant »Tuesday 23 October – 8pmJessika De Largy-Healy (EHESS-Paris, University of Melbourne),« Des pistes ancestrales aux voies du futur : la quête ancestralede Joe Neparrnga Gumbula »Friday 26 October – 8pmFranca Tamisari (Adjunct professor, University ofQueensland/Université de Venise) « L’art de la rencontre : audace,drame et subterfuge des tactiques performatives »Thursday 8 November – 8pmGéraldine Le Roux, « La parole des ancêtres dans les communautésurbaines du Pacifique ; esthétique de la politique et politiquedes arts »Projections of movies :Salle GothotPresented by Lucienne Strivay and Jérémy HamersWednesday 17 October at 8.15pm : David McDougall, Good-Bye Old ManFriday 19 October at 8.15pm : Ian Dunlop, Madarrpa Funeral atGurkawuyMonday 29 October at 8.15pm : Wayne Jowandi Barker et BarbaraGlowczewski, L’esprit de l’ancreLe ParcMonday 22 October at 8.15pm : Ten Canoes, Rold De HeerLe ChurchillWednesday 7 November at 8.15pm : Beneath Clouds, Ivan Sen*Animations and visits on requestappropriate cultural activities will be given to disabled peopleon Friday 26 October.Reservation :*The curatorial teamGéraldine Le Roux, Chairwoman of the association Diff’Art Pacific,is currently finishing a PhD in anthropology at the Ecole desHautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris and at QueenslandUniversity, Brisbane, Australia.This free-lance curator has organized the exhibitions « Every Manis an Island », Brisbane, 2007; « Perpetual movement. ContemporaryAustralian art », Saint-Tropez ; « Stories from the Earth and theSea. Aboriginal paintings from Lockhart River, Australia »Lorient, France, 2006 ; « Urban Art from Pacific », St-Auvent & StTropez, France, 2005 and « Dreamed landscapes : Aboriginalcontemporary Artists from Balgo Hills », Marseille, France, 2003.She regularly writes articles and gives lectures, both in Franceand overseas. geraldine2.leroux@wanadoo.frCo-curator of the exhibition, anthropologist Lucienne Strivay,focuses her research on relationships between humans and non-humans. She lectures anthropology of nature and interculturalmediation at University of Liège.*Artspaces :13 October – 10 November 2007Les Brasseurs, Liège (Belgium)Open from Wednesday to Saturday from 3 to 6 pm and on appointment.Closed on the 1st of November.Located in a massive industrial warehouse in the heart of Liège,les Brasseurs has carried on a policy based on production,promotion and diffusion of artworks made by visual artists since1993. In 10 years, more than 100 artists were given the chance toexhibit their work in a total freedom and to show the results of aresearch, a step in their career.Rather laboratory of ideas than glass-windows, les Brasseurs isalso a place to exchange, a space for talk and conviviality, opento all the faces of contemporary artistic creation.Musicians, singers, actors and dancers have followed each other.Writers, historians of art and critics have hosted round tables,lectures and symposiums, in order to inform the visitors and toimprove the understanding in contemporary art.Neither gallery, nor academy, l’Espace Brasseurs is the result ofpeople who want to give another approach of art reviving withdialogue, exchange and freedom of thought.Les Brasseurs – ASBL – 6 rue des brasseurs, B-4000 Liège, BelgiumTel : +32/042214191 Fax : +32/042370791Email : Website: www.brasseurs.beFrom 10 January to 3 February 2008Cité internationale des Arts, ParisLocated in the heart of Paris, la Cité internationale des Arts hasexpressed for more than 40 years a promotion of cultural andinterdisciplinary exchange. It provides a residential platform forartists from all around the world.18, rue de l’Hôtel de Ville, 75180, Paris Cedex 04 . Tel : (33)1 42 78 71*Co-production / PartnersThis exhibition is co-produced by Diff’Art Pacific association andAinu company.Diff’Art Pacific is a non-profit organization (ruled by the Frenchlaw of 1901) based in Paris, France. Its aims is to promote theartistic creation of the Pacific area, focusing on itscontemporaneousness and its recent entry into the world artmarket. Diff’Art operates actively with an international networkof specialists, gallery owners and artists (Australia, New-Zealand, Belgium, Italy and France).ïnu is a private company specialised in conservation-restoration,in storage and installation of exhibitions. Its experiencesstretches from different museums in France (Musée du Quai Branly,Musée du Louvre, Musée historique de Strasbourg, Musée Guimet,Vuitton,…)to international projects(Japan, USA, Chili, SouthAfrica…)Les Brasseurs, the University of Liège, la province de Liège(Affaires culturelles), le cinéma Le Parc-Le Churchill and theFERuig have been deeply involved in this project, helping for thelogistics and the editing of the bilingual catalogue.The exhibition is supported by Queensland Indigenous ArtsMarketing and Export Agency.*The artists and their artworksVernon Ah-KeeVernon Ah Kee was born in 1967, from Waanji and Yidindji people,North Queensland. His work denounces the racial exclusionmechanisms that corrupt the social, economic, cultural and politicsystems of modern societies. Through questioning and directconfrontation, he interrogates the common responsibility and makesthe visitor asking himself about his own feelings and behavior.Vernon Ah Kee often uses « I », « We », « You » in his minimalworks. Through the semiotic of these pronouns, his words gainweight and gravity until they trouble the visitor and push him toreact. He does not want to establish another Truth but to make thespectator thinking about power of images and words.His drawings are a series of family portraits, inspired byethnographic photographs taken during the 1920s by the Australiananthropologist Tindale. Although they are very similar, hisportraits reveal proud, dignity and strength. We can feel thedisturbing emergence of presence described by Walter Benjamin.This « net of crossed temporalities » (Gunther) allows him to takethe control back and to give back a proudness to all theseIndigenous people who once had been forced to be portrayed. Hereactivates the Word and so the body becomes the vector of aninviolable memory.Vernon Ah Kee, tolerance, 2005, impression digitale surpapier. Collection de l’artisteVernon Ah Kee, Leonard Andy, 2004, impressiondigitale sur mylar d’un dessin au fusain. Collection del’artiste*Dacchi DangDacchi Dang arrived in Australia in the 80’s after the fall ofSaigon when thousands of immigrants ran away from their country.Dacchi Dang has been remarked by its installation The Boat,presented at the Asia Australia Arts Centre’s Gallery 4a in 2001.The Boat reconstructs the boat-people experience with areconstruction of a life-size vessel, and to accentuate theexperience, Dacchi has created a series of photomontages insidethe vessel.The installation showed for the exhibition is entitled Liminal andit is composed of 9 photogravures presented on round surfaces,sitting on a circular axe. The setting invites to contemplationand meditation, whereas the photos explore identity mechanisms andcollective memories.Dacchi Dang, Liminal, 2006, série de 9 photogravures. Collection de l’artiste*Jenny FraserJenny Fraser was born in 1971 from Yuganbeh/Munuljahli background,North Queensland. She is based in Brisbane. Recognized as well inAustralia as abroad, (Biennale of Contemporary Art of Mexico;Ataneo Museum of Contemporary Art, Yucatan), Jenny uses allvariety of media – digital photography, video, installation,Internet – to evoke the contemporaneousness of Aboriginal society.She founds inspiration into advertising communication methods andput shock formulas inside her works.By exploring several movies such as Wind, Zoolander, Like Waterfor Chocolate, Blade and Utu, Jenny Fraser picks up sequences sheconsiders to be revealing of a certain vision of a colonial world:jokes, popular expressions, romantic visions, stereotypes… Thisvideo entitled “Name that movie” explores the representation ofIndigenous people by the mainstream through the 20th century.Jenny Fraser, Faster food, 2005, photographie numériquedans une boîte lumineuse en aluminium. Collection deJenny Fraser, It’s all about Control, 2005, photographiel’artistenumérique. Collection de l’artisteJenny Fraser, Mumsy’nt, 2005, photomontage numérique surJenny Fraser, Refector or Director, 2007, photomontage àpapier photographique. Collection de l’artistepartir d’extraits du DVD Name that Movie. Collection del’artiste*Rosella NamokRosella Namok was born in 1979 in Lockhart River, in CapeYork, a tropical area in North-east Australia.She works thick acrylic paint with a knife or her finger. Herearly works figure in a conceptual or nearly cinetic style thegenealogy of her community, in particular the family tiesthat rule the matriarchal unions.Namok worked recently on the sunset variations on mangrovelandscapes.She was nominated in 1999 for the Young Australian Of the Yearprize in the « art » category ; in 2003 she received theAustralian Centenary Medal for the services she has done toher community and to Aboriginal Art. On this same year, shewon the High Court of Australian Centenary Art Price for thehundred-year old of the Australian High Court of Justice. Shealso has been ranked many times among the 50 more interestingAustralian artists in the art market by the famous magazineAustralian Art Collector.Rosella Namok, Sun Shower, 2005, acrylique sur toile. Ubach, Galerie Brit’s Art & Promotion (Allemagne)*Chantal FraserChantal Fraser was born in New-Zealand and is from a Samoanbackground. She grew up in Queensland, Australia. She is aself-taught artist.Observing her surroundings and more specifically thedecoration of her parents’ house – multicoloured flowers,photos, basketry -Chantal Fraser operates a critical distancetowards identity representations.This repetition of observation, of the tactile connection withthe object and the study of common things took her todismantle those objects. The basketry she shows aredeconstructed then reconstructed. Thus the object gets anotherform and is reduced to itsessence.She has created for the exhibition the installation O LeTaualuga.Chantal Frazer, Headdressed from O Le Taualuga, 2007,matériaux divers (serviettes en papier, tirages numériques).Collection de l’artiste.*Archie MooreBorn in a small town of Queensland in 1970, Archie Moore faceddaily and violently the racism against Aboriginal culture.As an artist, he plays with words and linguistic todeconstruct the ethnocentric conditioning of societies and tothink about the power of words and images.Moore makes sculptures with words and installations thatinterrogates the logical of Indigenous ethnographiccollections as well as the knowledge saved in books andlibraries.For the exhibition, Archie Moore has created two artworks:Tint in Congo et Whitehawks.Archie Moore, Tint in Congo, 2007, sculpture Archie Moore, Whitehawks, 2007, huile sur toile. Collection deen papier. Collection de l’artiste l’artiste*Keren RUKIKeren Ruki shares Maori and English backgrounds. She grew upin Australia where she still lives. Raised next to her fatherwho was a dancer, in a foreign country, the discovering of herculture is symbolic to what numerous Pacific Islanders fromAustralia have experimented like the Samoan artist ChantalFraser or the Maori artist Prins. These children of migrantsshare with their indigenous culture an ambiguous relationship,between attraction and deny, between the knowledge learntduring daily activities (moral values, songs, dances) and anironic vision against some artistic activities or a contestingrelationship towards colonial authorities (church, socialsciences…).Keren Ruki twists the key-symbol of Maori culture – the tiki –by enlarging it and associating it with bright colours andsynthetic materials. Those changes allow her to denounce thekitsch and touristy/commercial exploitation of Indigenouscultures. Reappropriateness of these New-Zealand memoriesimply a critical thought on aesthetics and appropriatenesssystems.Keren Ruki, Tiki, 2002-2006, résine. Collection Keren Ruki, Sans titre, 2002-2007, veste de sécurité,de l’artiste toile, tubes en plastique, fil de coton. Collection del’artiste*PrinsPrins has exhibited many times with Keren Ruki. Their originalreinterpretations of their Maori traditions brought themtogether. They consider themselves as the opposite of thecontradictions man / woman ; basketry / sculpture ;inside/outside ; their work mix together to offer a criticalvision about classification systems ruled by social sciencesfrom the early 20th century carrying a lack of understandingwith the complex principles of reciprocity and swaps used byso-called primitive societies.The term graffiti comes from Italian word graffiare that meansto scratch. In Europe, we can find these drawings or writingson stones, wood or other tender supports. We can easilyrecognize Haro’s sophisticated tags, whose artist name isPrins, by their oval shape, an endless format, curved lettersand a « scratchy » shine. Like Lee Quinones, Futura 2000 orFab Five Freddy, who started to graff on canvas at the end ofthe 1970s in the USA, and exhibited in art galleries, Prinsquit this illegal practice in 1990s and has started paintingand sculpting. He reproduces curves patterns, like those ofarchitectural Maori vocabulary.Prins, Sans titre, 2005, bois sculpté.Collection de l’artiste*Tania MasonAustralian artist, with an Anglo-Saxon background hasexhibited since 1999. Her last corpus of works is a series ofcharcoal drawings and an installation of paper feathers and adigital video.Tania Mason associates classical drawings and new technologiesto create a poetic experience into the fall down of a birdshoot. Desperate movement, absurd repetition, metaphor of asick world.Tania Mason, Wall of Feathers: The Verge Of Vale, 2005-2006, 12 panneaux, plumes en papier sur toilede coton. Collection de l’artiste.Tania Mason, The Verge Of the Vale, 2005-2006, DVD, 60 min. Collection de l’artiste.Tania MasonFallen, dessin au fusain sur papierFuzzy Feathers, dessin au fusain sur papierOstrich Feather, dessin au fusain sur papierBirds Nest, dessin au fusain sur papierBleeding Feather, dessin au fusain sur papierFalling, dessin au fusain sur papierCollection de l’artiste*Barbara Gibson Nakamarra (v. 1940-2000)She was born in the Australian Central Desert (circa 19402000),from Warlpiri and Mudpurra languages. She’s representedby Lajamanu Artistic Cooperative, Occidental Desert.« Barbara Gibson Nakamarra, called Nakakut, draw the linkbetween her Yawakiyi Plum Dreaming and Opposum janganpa – E-shape tracks – with a Dreaming brother ngurlu Seed and WallabyWampana whose tracks are shown by a line of hooks. Circles andbig semi-circles show sacred sites, among themYarturluyarturlu, where the bodies of Opposums fighters haveturned into granite, and the Rirrinjarra waterhole, made withtide of Plums where the artist’s child spirit chose her motherto rebirth. »(in Pistes de Rêves, voyages enterres aborigènes, eds du Chêne, 2005)Barbara Gibson Nakamarra, Four Dreamings aroundYarturluyarturlu (Granites),1987, acrylique sur toile. Paris,coll. privéeBarbara Gibson Nakamarra, Le rêve de la prune,1996, acrylique sur toile. Paris, collection Jean-Pierre Denys*George Milaypuma Gaykamangu & Michael MungulaThe painting Midawarr, 2003, painted by George MilaypumaGaykamangu and Michael Mungula represents the hunting season,Midawarr, at the end of the rain season when the food isgrowing back. Yonlgu people observe lianas and dig around tofind food. The two painters have painted the Djambarrpuyngulianas from their mother’s clan.The designs of rarrks is characteristic of Arnhem Land art.Each clan and each person has its own design determined byits size, colour and angle. The artists judge of the qualityof the paintings in function of radiance and the brilliance.The painting Djalumbu Funeral Cycle represents a Gupapuyngufuneral cycle which depicts the local animals : long-neckturtles, wild duck, cat-fish, …George Milaypuma Gaykamangu et Michael Mungula, George Milaypuma Gaykamangu, Cycle funéraireMidawarr, lianes et papillons, 2003, peinture sur Djalumbu, 2002-2003, peinture sur écorce. Paris,écorce. Paris, collection privée collection privée*Simone EISLERAnima Requiem is an installation by Simone Eisler; AustralianArtist from European background (mother Dutch and mixedEuropean, and father Romanian and Eastern Europeanbackground). This work explores the garden as a site fortransformation, and as a place to reengage people with thecreative forces of Nature and the cyclic processes of livingthings. This imaginary garden reminds viewers of theenchanting visions of fairy tales that have disappeared, inthe artist’s opinion, and been replaced by consumerist formsand apathical attitudes.Anima Requiem is a garden of death and birth. It celebratesdeath as renewal and a transformative process. All thematerials used belong to living organisms. Shells, leavesfallen from the trees and animal hooves are used to createhybrid forms and new entities; symbolic of metamorphosis andnew life. The birds become spiritual guides that lead ustowards new levels of consciousness.Simone Eisler, Anima Requiem, 2004, installation avec matériaux divers (sabots et cornes de vache, de buffle et taureau),coquilles d’huîtres, cire végétale, colle, sable noir, sel marin, terreau, feuilles séchées (ou en matière synthétique), machineà fumigation. Collection de l’artiste*Tony AlbertBorn in 1981 in Brisbane, Tony Albert’s traditional territoryis around Cardwell, a tropical forest area on the East coastof Cape York. He uses painting, video and photography andbears an accurate and original eye on alienation andmanipulation phenomenon, and also on the definition ofIndigenous identity in an urban environment.Tony Albert Série Ghetto Supastars : 50perCENT, NOTORIOUS B.E.L.L., SISSY, 2006, photographiesargentiques. Collection de l’artisteTony Albert, AustrALIEN, 2007, photographie sur vinyl.Collection de l’artiste*Tracey MoffattTracey Moffatt, born in 1961 in Brisbane, is the most famousAborignal photographer in the world. She has exhibited inParis (National Centre of Photography), London, Japan, andNew-York, where she lives. She builds her images withreferences from Trash TV soaps, pop music or her memories asan adopted Aboriginal child. She works on the themes ofviolence, domination and erotic fantasies.Moffatt constructs her photographs and movies like surrealpictures coming out of a dream. The delay of the scene is madeby using dazzling lights that make frame and details blur. Thestory, often quite simple, is twisted by a time and spacedistortion. The order of the images is not clear then we can’tfigure out what is the beginning, the middle and the end. Anylinear analyse would be odd then. This delay and the confusionof the genres give the impression that « something has justhappened, or is about to happen » (Durant) and allows thevisitor to identify with the scene and to project in it hisown fantasies.Tracy Moffatt, tirages de la série Laudanum, 1998, 10 photogravures sur papier. Paris, coll. du FNAC**Topsie Sampson Napurrula, Beryl Barnes Nakamara, MonaNapaltjarri Rockman, Judy Napaltjarri Walker, Biddy Nungarrayi, Alice Kelly Napaltjarri, Rosie Tasman Napurrula, Lily Hargraves Nungurrayi et MargaretMartin Nungurrayi*These paintings reproduce ancestral “dreamings”, the epictales of the mythical ancestors. The ancestors shaped theworld and still continue to interact with it, influencing thecycle of seasons, the vegetation growth, the abundance ofwater and food, the well-being of people.The iconographic vocabulary of the paintings from Lajamanu islimited to a few patterns with concentric and oblong shapes,straight and undulate lines, several figurative patterns anddots. These patterns are not abstract but are ideograms whichrepresent the artist’s dreaming. Their meaning comes fromtheir context and is generated by specific codes. Thecompositions are usually made with an horizontal plan and thepaintings must be read as a map. This aesthetic comes from theold semi-nomad hunter-gatherers way of life. In each painting,the artist expresses his or her own vision of the country andits daily life.Judy Napaltjarri Walker, Mala (Wallaby Rosie Tasman Napurrula, Ngurlu (Seed dreaming), 2007,Dreaming), 2007, acrylique sur toile. Paris, acrylique sur toile. Paris, collection particulièrecollection particulière

THE REVENGE OF GENRES – Contemporary Australian Art


Fortitude Valley, Australia

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