July 26, 2016 - Institute of Modern Art - Winter 2016 exhibitions and commissions
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July 26, 2016

Institute of Modern Art

Luke Willis Thompson, Cemetery of Uniforms and Liveries (Graeme), 2016. Commissioned by the IMA. Courtesy of the artist and Hopkinson Mossman and Galerie Nagel Draxler.

Winter 2016 exhibitions and commissions

Opening: July 30, 4–7pm, with a panel discussion featuring Luke Willis Thompson, Dr Danny Butt, Dr Diana Young, Aileen Burns and Johan Lundh at 4pm

Institute of Modern Art
420 Brunswick Street
Fortitude Valley
Brisbane Queensland 4006
Australia

T +61 7 3252 5750
ima@ima.org.au

www.ima.org.au

Winter 2016 exhibitions and commissions

Opening: July 30, 4–7pm, with a panel discussion featuring Luke Willis Thompson, Dr Danny Butt, Dr Diana Young, Aileen Burns and Johan Lundh at 4pm

Institute of Modern Art
420 Brunswick Street
Fortitude Valley
Brisbane Queensland 4006
Australia

T +61 7 3252 5750
ima@ima.org.au

www.ima.org.au

Four major projects transform the Institute of Modern Art (IMA) in the coming months: we stage the first solo exhibitions in Australia by Luke Willis Thompson and Maryam Jafri; while Vernon Ah Kee creates a dynamic outdoor artwork to inaugurate our series of Courtyard Commissions. Finally, Richard Bell’s Embassy takes up residence at the IMA after a suite of national and international showings. While varied in their approaches, all four artists address unequal power relationships, the politics of representation, and the legacies of colonisation within the Asia Pacific region.

Shown across three galleries at the IMA, Luke Willis Thompson’s exhibition of conceptual sculpture and film binds together three projects that mark the first five years of the artist’s work.

Misadventure includes Thompson's first-ever film work, commissioned by the IMA, which precisely appropriates the technical specifications of Andy Warhol’s screen tests. This new work is at once a remake and a reconfiguration, introducing the politics of race largely absent from Warhol’s films; of the 472 individual Screen Tests Warhol produced, less than five featured people of colour. Thompson’s screen test focuses on the descendants of victims of police brutality in London prior to the subsequent riots of 2011.

The exhibition also presents two major bodies of work featuring ready-made objects that confront social and racial traumas connected to colonisation in the Asia Pacific region. 

Untitled (2012) comprises three garage doors, custom metal stands, and an active security light and sensor. These industrial objects bear visible traces of a graffiti act performed in 2008 by a Maori teenager, Pihema Cameron, which resulted in the pursuit and killing of Cameron by the owner of the property.

Sucu Mate/Born Dead (2016) presents nine headstones that are on loan from the Old Balawa Estate cemetery in Lautoka, Fiji. This cemetery contains the graves of migrant labourers from India, China, and elsewhere in Asia. Thompson worked with officials and historians to obtain permission to excavate the cemetery. Sucu Mate/Born Dead (2016) underscores historical interrelationships between cultures in the Pacific region, and highlights broader histories of exploitation central to colonisation.

Maryam Jafri’s project Independence Day 1934–1975 (2009–ongoing) documents the first independence day ceremonies in former European colonies across Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, between 1934 and 1975.

Sourced by the artist from 29 archives the photographs are arranged into a grid according to the characteristics of the ceremony, creating a sense of a repetitious ritual. Taken as a whole Independence Day 1934–1975 reveals a political model exported from Europe and in the process of being cloned throughout the world. Although a great deal of research has been done on both the colonial and the post-colonial eras, this project aims to introduce a third, surprisingly neglected element into the debate: that 24-hour twilight period in-between, when a territory transforms into a nation-state.

The IMA Courtyard Commission is an ongoing commissioning platform engaging with Australian and international artists to produce dynamic new public artwork. The first commission is a monumental text-based work conceived by Vernon Ah Kee, which builds on the artist’s powerful use of language. Born in North Queensland, Ah Kee’s work is a constant and provocative investigation of race, ideology, and politics. For this work Ah Kee has created a text that addresses the cityscape on a scale that is unprecedented in the artist’s practice.

The courtyard will also be the site for Richard Bell’s Embassy (2013–), a work that creates a public space for imagining and articulating alternate futures and reflecting on or retelling stories of oppression and displacement. Inspired by the Aboriginal Tent Embassy established in 1972 on the parliamentary lawns in Canberra to challenge the status, treatment, and rights of Aboriginal people in Australia, Bell’s Embassy is a direct quotation of this activist strategy.

Acknowledgements
The IMA is supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland, and from the Visual Arts Board of the Australia Council for the Arts, and through the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian Federal, State, and Territory Governments. The IMA is a member of Contemporary Art Organisations Australia (CAOs).

Luke Willis Thompson’s exhibition is generously supported by Creative New Zealand.

Vernon Ah Kee’s Inaugural Courtyard Commission is supported through the Brisbane City Council’s Creative Sparks program, as part of the IMA’s Brisbane Currents initiative.

Richard Bell’s Embassy has received financial assistance from the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland's Projects and Programs fund, and is supported by the Australian Government Department of Communications and the Arts through the Indigenous Languages and Arts program.

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