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ARTIST INTERVIEW

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Fiona Hall: Force Field

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA)

Duration

06 Mar 2008 to 01 Jun 2008

Co-Curators: Vivienne Webb (MCA), Paula Savage & Gregory O’Brien (City Gallery, Wellington)

Holdfast (Macrocystis angustifolia/giant kelp) 2007
Installation view, Fiona Hall: Force Field, MCA, 2008
Image courtesy of the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney, Australia © the artist

Castles in the Air of the Cave-Dwellers 2008
Installation view, Fiona Hall: Force Field, MCA, 2008
Image courtesy of the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney, Australia © the artist

Scar Tissue 2003–04
Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), Hobart
Installation view, Fiona Hall: Force Field, MCA, 2008
Image courtesy of the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney, Australia © the artist

Fiona Hall: Force Field
Installation view, MCA, 2008
Image courtesy of the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney, Australia © the artist

left to right
The real thing (from the series The price is right) 1994
The price is right 1994
Museum of Contemporary Art, purchased 1995
Installation view, Fiona Hall: Force Field, MCA, 2008
Image courtesy of the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney, Australia © the artist

left to right
The Social Fabric 1996; Give a dog a bone 1996, Museum of Contemporary Art, purchased with funds donated by Michael Darling, 1997; Medicine bundle for the non-born child 1994, Queensland Art Gallery, purchased 2000, Queensland Art Gallery Foundation Grant, installation view, Fiona Hall: Force Field, MCA, 2008, image courtesy of the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney, Australia © the artist

Tender 2003–05
Queensland Art Gallery, purchased 2006. The Queensland Government’s Gallery of Modern Art Acquisitions Fund
Installation view, Fiona Hall: Force Field, MCA, 2008
Image courtesy of the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney, Australia © the artist

Mourning Chorus 2007–08
Installation view, Fiona Hall: Force Field, MCA, 2008
Image courtesy of the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney, Australia © the artist

rear to front
When my boat comes in 2002–
Understorey 1999–2004
Installation view, Fiona Hall: Force Field, MCA, 2008
Image courtesy of the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney, Australia © the artist

Amnesiac’s Cartography (Narrow Road, Deep Chasm) 2007
Installation view, Fiona Hall: Force Field, MCA, 2008
Image courtesy of the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney, Australia © the artist

Dead in the water 1999
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 1999
Installation view, Fiona Hall: Force Field, MCA, 2008
Image courtesy of the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney, Australia © the artist

Morality dolls-the seven deadly sins 1984
Installation view, Fiona Hall: Force Field, MCA, 2008
Image courtesy of the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney, Australia © the artist

Paradisus terrestris 1990–2005
Installation view, Fiona Hall: Force Field, MCA, 2008
Image courtesy of the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney, Australia © the artist

Fiona Hall: Force Field
Installation view, MCA, 2008
Image courtesy of the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney, Australia © the artist

about the exhibtion

Fiona Hall: Force Field presented an in-depth survey of works by the Australian artist encompassing the last four decades of her practice. The exhibition included key works from the 1970s to the present and included new work made especially for the exhibition.

Born in Sydney in 1953 and based in Adelaide, Hall began her career in photography and extended into diverse media including sculpture, installation and garden design. Her work is characterised by its use of ordinary items and materials, which are transformed into complex and allusive objects.

Rather than reflect a chronological progression, the exhibition was divided into a number of chapters where works from different phases of the artist’s career were brought together. Presenting Hall’s art in this way revealed the diversity yet consistency between her earlier and recent practice, allowing a kind of archaeological layering of her formal and conceptual concerns.

The show opened with a suite of works that explored ideas of the ‘domestic’. While ‘home is where the heart is’, it is also a zone in which the material, emotional and spiritual aspects of life jostle, clash and sometimes achieve a tentative equilibrium. The second suite of works pivoted around notions of the ‘Body’. Both early and recent works reflected Hall’s alertness to the body not only as something sexual, vulnerable and a part of Nature, but also as a political, contestable and complex entity.

A group of works exploring humanity’s relationship to the natural world and concepts of Paradise formed the centre of the exhibition and the meditation on natural history continued through a suite of works investigating life-forms such as birds and insects. Works which explored the connections between diverse life forms in symbiotic or competitive relationships highlighted how we are not external to, but enmeshed within the complex and delicate web of the natural world.

Other works looked at the overlapping territories of power, politics and the environment, reflecting the artist’s interest in camouflage and the instinct for survival and defence mechanisms. The exhibition concluded with works that suggested narratives of exchange and colonialism, of enlightenment and exploitation.

Produced in association with City Gallery Wellington, New Zealand, Fiona Hall: Force Field toured to the following venues:

• City Gallery Wellington, New Zealand: 11 Jul – 19 Oct 2008
• Christchurch Art Gallery: 4 Dec 2008 – 1 Mar 2009
• Govett-Brewster Art Gallery (selected works): 4 Apr – 1 Jun 2009
• Newcastle Regional Gallery (selected works): 1 Aug – 27 Sep 2009

Featuring Works from the MCA Collection

Fiona Hall

In the Shop